Evanston’s new reparations fund has received 146 applications and $ 26,230 in donations, according to assistant city manager Kimberly Richardson.
Richardson released the numbers at a meeting of the city council’s Reparations Committee last week.
Information on who and how many donated is not currently available but will be announced at the next meeting.
Richardson also told the committee that 29 out of 107 applicants were considered “ancestors” or black residents who lived in the city between 1919 and 1969 (the numbers were as of September 30). This sub-group of people has so far been most interested in home improvement and mortgage assistance.
The largest pool of applicants is made up of “direct descendants,” and Richardson expects the trend to continue.
“We’ve found that more people want to provide more records than they need,” said Richardson of her resident application experience.
The Reparations Committee has partnered with the Evanston Public Library to assist residents in locating application documents, and the partnership has been successful. Richardson says that if someone comes into her office during office hours, she can contact the library to find any missing documents so that she and applicants can fill out the form on site. “We have a good rhythm”
After the update, the committee congratulated Ms. Richardson on how successful she was in educating the community about this program during her briefings in early fall.
“This is complicated and you made it seem easy,” said Bonnie Lockhart, member of the committee. “I think you have broken down a lot of barriers and it is not easy.”
Applicant selection process
As stated in the application for restorative housing, ancestors are prioritized as recipients, followed by direct descendants, followed by third-tier applicants (people who can demonstrate housing discrimination by the city after 1969).
The city has allocated $ 400,000 to the first round of applicants, and 16 recipients will be selected. Although funding is currently only available for 16 people, the committee plans to inform the city council of the number of people who have qualified for the program to ensure that funding is available for the next 16 applicants and possibly more stand. Still, the expected $ 10 million is not immediately available.
Since ancestors are prioritized, the committee randomly chooses from this group in the first rounds of funding until the list is exhausted and then moves to level 2, “direct descendants” and level 3.
“We are in the process of distributing funds beyond 16 as they become available,” says Richardson.
Important upcoming dates
The committee is keen to have an “aggressively quick” schedule, said committee chair Peter Braithwaite, so that it can start distributing funds for this first program as soon as possible. The committee meets on November 11 to approve the proposals. The approved proposals will be sent to the Council on November 22nd. The applications will be officially selected on November 30th.
Established on November 9, 2020, the Reparation Committee is tasked with working with city residents and experts to “explore and identify programs and opportunities that the Reparation Fund can support,” as defined on the city’s website.
The committee meets every first Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. and meets again on November 4th. Its members are divided between city councils and citizens.