Daily file illustration by Emma Ruck
Selected families have received their first payments from the Evanston Equitable Recovery Fund, according to a Wednesday news release.
The first of ten $300 monthly payments has been distributed to the families, who were selected to receive $3,000 each through the fund.
The Evanston Equitable Recovery Fund was funded by the national nonprofit Family Independence Initiative, and provides families the money with no strings attached on how to spend the funds. This is a direct contrast to the city’s Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program, which stipulates that the money can only be used for home purchase, improvement or mortgage assistance.
“I’m just grateful that this came about. It put me in a position where I can meet my responsibilities and still hold on to my dignity and I think that’s important,” a fund recipient said in the news release.
The fund was designed for 25 households — but in the original application period, only 16 households were selected and thus, additional funds are still available, according to the release. The application will now be open until May 7 to fill the remaining spots, which will be chosen by a lottery process. Each household can submit one application.
Black residents who lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969, or have a direct ancestor who lived in the city during that time, are eligible for the direct payments program. The criteria mirror those outlined by the Reparations Restorative Housing program. The housing program includes those who can prove they experienced housing discrimination due to the city’s policies after 1969.
The Family Independence Initiative launched the fund with the support of Economic Security for Illinois, a nonprofit advocacy organization.
“Unrestricted cash works because people know best what they need. We applaud the city of Evanston for partnering with FII to learn from this fund, which places cash and trust directly in residents’ hands,” Harish Patel, director of Economic Security for Illinois, said in the release.
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