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Press Release

Evanston Selected as AARP Community Challenge Grantee

Evanston, IL – On Thursday, August 20, 2020, AARP announced that the City of Evanston, in partnership with the Evanston Development Cooperative (EDC), was selected to receive an AARP Community Challenge grant.

This “quick-action” grant will enable the team to produce a public guide on accessory dwelling units (ADU) and host a series of informational, virtual workshops on ADUs for Evanston residents. By supporting the creation of smaller, affordable homes, this project can help Evanston’s growing aging population find new solutions to stay in our community at a livable cost.

As written in the 2019 report “Housing America’s Older Adults” by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University, “the growing population in the oldest age groups will lift the share of all US households age 65-and-over from 26 percent in 2018 to 34 percent in 2038.” Given that 65-and-over households are more likely than other demographics to live alone and on a single income, the need for accessible, affordable housing will grow substantially in decades ahead. To address this need, JCHS writes that “age-friendly policies often call for a broader array of housing options for older adults, including accessory dwelling units.”

Further, based on a 2018 AARP survey, 77% of Americans age 50 and older said that that they would like to live in their community as long as possible. Only 59% of respondents said that they will be able to stay in their community. AARP has published numerous articles and booklets on how ADUs are one way to help people age in-place with a stable, affordable, and healthy home.

“In tandem with the reform of local zoning laws, this project can help put healthy housing within reach for a majority of Evanston residents, rather than just a few,” said EDC Worker-Owner and Vice President Robinson Markus. “This partnership between AARP, the City of Evanston, and EDC takes one of many necessary steps towards ensuring that aging, middle and lower-income residents can call Evanston home for years and decades to come.”

On August 12, 2020, the City of Evanston Plan Commission unanimously voted to approve an ordinance to the Zoning Code which would reduce barriers to ADU development across Evanston. This ordinance will be voted on by City Council this fall.

Given that AARP is a nationwide leader on making neighborhoods, towns, and cities more livable for all residents, EDC is excited to engage them in our pursuit of a more affordable, accessible, and equitable Evanston.

For more information, please email press@evanston.coop or call (847) 497-0167.