The tour, sponsored by the Evanston-Norwood-Xavier Community Partnership, is a continuation of conversations about ways the community and Xavier can partner to support long-time Evanston residents.
In July, 11 people, including eight senior Evanston residents, took the "tour" to Milwaukee and Chicago. Pickett Slater Harrington from the Community Building Institute, Georganna Miller from Xavier’s department of occupational therapy and William Herper from Cincinnati’s Home Ownership Center, also made the trip.
“Many Evanston seniors are worried about losing their homes or having to leave the community because they can no longer live independently,” says Harrington. “On this trip they were able to talk with other seniors in other parts of the country and find out how they are dealing with similar issues.”
While home ownership in Evanston is higher than the city average, there has been a decline in the number of people owning homes in the neighborhood.
“The decline can be contributed in part to seniors moving out of the community,” says Elizabeth Blume, associate director for the Community Building Institute. “Those homes are then being bought by people who convert them into rental space.”
In Milwaukee, the seniors toured the Milwaukee Idea Home, a prototype urban house that combines energy efficiency and universal accessibility features with a sustainable design.
“The group got a lot of good ideas from the Idea Home,” says Harrington.
In Chicago the group met with seniors at the Westside Health Authority, which is working to use the capacity of local people to improve the health and well-being of residents.
The Evanston seniors are now meeting to discuss what they saw and learned to develop strategies, solutions and recommendations that address senior housing in Evanston.
The Evanston-Norwood-Xavier Community Partnership was formed through a Community Outreach Partnering Center grant received by Xavier University last fall.
The Community Building Institute is a partnership between Xavier University and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati advancing asset-based community development strategies for community building and neighborhood revitalization.