Chicago suburb began reparations with housing grants. Now national nonprofit wants to give cash payments to targeted residents

CHICAGO — A national nonprofit is launching a cash payment pilot program for a small group of Evanston residents in an effort to show city leaders how a similar reparations program could work.

The move comes as Evanston continues to develop plans for its $10 million local reparations fund following the funding of a $400,000 housing assistance program earlier this week.

The Family Independence Initiative, headquartered in Oakland, California, has programs across the country providing direct cash payments to targeted residents. Now, the group’s leaders say they were inspired by Evanston’s reparations effort and are taking on a similar project in the northern suburb.

“The connection for Evanston came in because of the reparations work that they are doing,” said Ebony Scott, Family Independence Initiative’s partnership director in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain region. “We believe that direct cash transfers should be part of those reparations conversations, and should be one of the primary ways in which reparations are given to communities.”

As such, “Why don’t we go ahead and start deploying cash in Evanston just to show how easy and efficient it is? And, to respond to the community who said, ‘we also want cash to be a part of this,’” Scott said.

Evanston aldermen on March 22 approved a housing grant program to help with mortgages, down payments and home repairs for qualified residents. It was the first expenditure in the city’s landmark municipal reparations program designed to compensate Black residents for codified discrimination.

Evanston officials say the initiative is designed to address the discriminatory housing policies and practices faced by Black residents. The reparations program will be funded through marijuana sales tax revenue along with some donations.

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Source: Herald Mail Media