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EVANSTON, Ill. – More than a dozen Evanston families have started to receive reparation payments.

The $300 payments, from the national non-profit organization Family Independence Initiative (FII), will be issued in 10 installments. The non-profit established the fund to provide financial assistance to Black families with an ancestral connection to Evanston.

The $300 payments is in addition to Evanston’s Housing Reparations program.

Evanston becomes 1st US city to offer Black residents reparations

Evanston 5th Ward Alderperson Robin Rue Simmons says, ‘It is satisfying to see the nation is looking at our commitment here, considering us as inspiration.’
The Family Independence Initiative heard about Evanston’s reparations program and wanted to help, donating 75,000 in grants. As a result,  more than two dozen families will receive $3,000 in ten $300 monthly payments. Sixteen recipients have been chosen so far. 

To qualify, Black residents must have had an ancestor living in Evanston between 1919-1969. 
These are the same requirements for Evanston’s Home Improvement Reparations program, which will kick off in June. In total, $25,000 payments will be awarded as part of a $10 million program. The money will be used for down payments or home repairs. Funding will come from tax revenue off of recreational marijuana sales. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The push for reparations: How Evanston is trying to get it done

Unlike the housing program, Family Independence Initiative will not limit how residents can use the grants.

“Preparing for homeownership, through paying down debt and building up their savings, to a woman that contacted me and said because of this cash benefit she able to get a new eyeglass prescription she hadn’t been able to receive in several years,” Simmons said.

Funds will be distributed through FII’s UpTogether technology platform, which also provides tools that families can use to support each other in achieving their goals.

Click here to apply. The link will go live on Wednesday, April 28.