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Quarterly Updates

Efficiency Homes Ordinance Approved

On Monday, 3/22, Evanston passed an ordinance to legalize “efficiency homes” citywide. These small units can be built on properties that do not conform to minimum lot size requirements.

Based on their size and anticipated price point, EDC spoke before City Council about how these “Missing Middle” units could be a way for people to find affordable housing options in higher-cost Evanston neighborhoods. We’re excited to see our City continue to implement zoning changes that work towards a socio-economically and racially diverse community.

ETHS Senior Design Project

Our cooperative is currently working with two teams of Evanston Township High School (ETHS) seniors in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math) class.

These student teams are building community engagement strategies around issues of affordable homeownership and worker-owned cooperative businesses in Evanston. We love collaborating with the next generation of leaders at ETHS! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like us to present to your classroom, student group, or youth program.

EDC ADU Made From Organic Waste

After years of patient composting, we are excited to announce a successful prototype of an all-electric ADU made of organic waste! The project came about through intensive research with innovators in the plant-based technology industry (e.g. biofuels and plant-based meat), and our cooperative is optimistic that this patented technology (which utilizes coffee grounds as its primary ingredient) can meaningfully affect carbon emissions in the built environment in decades ahead. 

To learn more about our vision to live inside our own waste, you can read our press release here. 

Upcoming Events

Understanding Evanston's ADU Options

TUESDAY, APRIL 27  |  6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Virtual Event


Get ready for the release of the Evanston Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Guide!

Supported by AARP, the guide and webinar will explore what you can build in your backyard or within your existing home under Evanston’s new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulations.

Sign up for this free webinar in partnership with the City of Evanston through the link listed here.

The 20-page PDF guide will be accessible in late April on EDC and the City of Evanston’s websites.

Building an All-Electric Home

FRIDAY, APRIL 30  |  1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Virtual Event


As part of Earth Month, come learn about the construction methods & technologies that lead to an energy-efficient, all-electric house!

Dr. Dick Co of EDC will discuss how homeowners can help Evanston better meet its Climate Action & Resiliency Plan (CARP) goals by reducing carbon emissions in the built environment.

You can register on Eventbrite through the link listed here.

EDC Presentation at Housing Solution Summit

THURSDAY, MAY 13  |  3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Virtual Event


Join EDC at the Housing Solution Summit to learn about practical strategies and new ideas for addressing the housing affordability crisis in the U.S.

At this conference featuring Richard Rothstein (Author, The Color of Law) and Jonathan Reckford (CEO, Habitat for Humanity), our cooperative will present the session “A Worker-Owned Coop for Building ADUs on Resident Properties.”

You can register for the event through the link included here.

Partner Spotlight


This spring, we’re highlighting a fellow cooperator focused on financing solutions for an inclusive, equitable 21st-century economy - the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF). LEAF is one of only three Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in the country with a focus on cooperatives.

LEAF’s mission is to promote human and economic development by providing financing and development assistance to cooperatives and social purpose ventures that create and save jobs for low-income people.

LEAF lends nationally, with a focus on community-owned natural food cooperatives that create high quality jobs and provide access to healthy food in urban and rural communities; low-income cooperative housing developments; and worker-owned firms and other community-based businesses and social enterprises. Since its founding over 30 years ago, LEAF has invested and leveraged over $122 million, resulting in the creation or retention of more than 10,300 jobs.

Through a partnership with LEAF, our worker-owned cooperative was able to access a line of credit to help manage construction expenses during our ADU projects. Thank you for everything you do, LEAF!

The Bigger Picture

Housing & Demographics in Evanston

We recently found new data from Local Housing Solutions to help us better understand Evanston’s housing needs. As a summary, we learned the following about our city:

  • 18,945 households in Evanston (66.8%) are 1-2 person households, while we only have 5,531 studio or 1-bedroom units in Evanston. Therefore, by creating more small units that increase downsizing options for Evanston residents, we might be able to open up Evanston’s larger houses for bigger families. 

  • 65+ households account for 25.7% of all Evanston households, which is above the Illinois average for 65+ households as a percentage of all households. Additionally, the number of 65+ renters has increased by 12.1% since 2014. These metrics speak to the importance of accessible, age-friendly housing types like ADUs!

  • Evanston’s African-American population has decreased by 25.1% since 2000. Meanwhile, property taxes have increased by 93% during that same period, according to Evanston Now. This demonstrates the need for anti-displacement housing initiatives that help our existing low and moderate-income renters and homeowners stay in Evanston. 

  • Households making 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI) in Evanston could afford a home priced at roughly $273,000 without being cost-burdened, while the median home price in Evanston was $391,400 in 2019. This makes the case that it’s even difficult for a household making the median income of $91,000 per year to afford Evanston.  

  • The median rent and the median home value both rose faster than the median family income in Evanston, showing that housing cost increases are outpacing wage gains.  

To access the full dataset and research other municipalities, you can go to the free tool linked here.

What We're Reading


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