Evanston Exterior Home Improvement Program Begins May 15

April 23, 2008

Beginning May 15, homeowners in each of five regions of the Evanston community will have the chance to apply for a $5,000 forgivable loan to beautify their homes’ exteriors. The purpose is to protect Evanston from the blighting effect of properties that do not meet local building maintenance codes by providing funding to homeowners for exterior home repairs. Homes with code violations are considered first.


Using City of Cincinnati funding, the Evanston Community Council, the Home Ownership Center, the Cincinnati Empowerment Corporation and the Community Building Institute partnered to create a housing strategy for the neighborhood. Evanston has been divided into five districts: Jonathan Avenue, East Evanston (nearest Hyde Park), Five Points, Idlewild-Xavier, and Owl’s Nest/ O’Bryonville. Funding can be used for external renovations such as lighting, porch, roof/gutters, exterior doors/windows, steps, etc.


As long as the homeowner stays in the home for five years, the loan is forgiven. If the homeowner moves before the five-year limit, the loan must be repaid in full.


"Home ownership and home maintenance is a critical aspect of the health and vitality of all neighborhoods,” says Pickett Slater Harrington of the Community Building Institute. “The community of Evanston, through the leadership of their community council, has created a housing strategy and an exterior home improvement program that addresses both of these aspects. The creation and launch of the Evanston exterior home improvement program shows the commitment that the neighborhood has to maintaining its long term health and vitality."


The Home Ownership Center will manage this project for the Evanston Community Council. They will do the intake, process the applications, inspect the properties, and provide a list of approved contractors. The City of Cincinnati started a registration process for contractors wishing to do business in Cincinnati. This protects the homeowners and reputable contractors from unqualified or “fly-by-night” operators. To be registered, contractors must show proof of insurance and be bonded. Evanston is encouraging neighborhood contractors to register. Work will be contracted through the Home Ownership Center to be of most help to homeowners.


Applications will be accepted starting May 15 on a rolling basis. To request an application, call the Home Ownership Center at 961-2800 or visit www.hometoday.com.


The Community Building Institute is a partnership between Xavier University and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati that advances the asset-based community development model of community building and neighborhood revitalization.