Chicago suburb of Evanston approves America’s first reparations program for black residents whose descendants lived in city between 1919 and 1969 and experienced housing discrimination: $10m will be paid out using marijuana taxes

  • Evanston, Illinois, on Monday night approved reparations for its black residents
  • The city established its reparations program – the first of its kind – in 2019
  • The city committed $10million over a decade to the reparation effort
  • It will be funded by a three percent tax on recreational marijuana sales
  • The city council approved the program with $400,000 focused on housing
  • The first phase will provide $25,000 to up to 16 eligible black residents
  • The cash must be used for home repairs, down payments or mortgage payments
  • Black residents are eligible if they or their ancestors lived in the city 1919-69 
  • They are also eligible if they can show they suffered housing discrimination 
  • The recipients will be randomly selected if there are more than 16 applicants
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A Chicago suburb has become the first in the nation to approve reparations to black residents whose families suffered lasting damage from decades of discriminatory practices.

Evanston established its reparations program – the first of its kind in the US – in 2019, committing $10 million over a decade using funding from the city’s three per cent tax on recreational marijuana sales.

On Monday the city council launched the program with a first phase, consisting of a $400,000 round of payments focused on addressing housing inequities.

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The first phase will provide $25,000 to up to 16 eligible black residents for home repairs, down payments or mortgage payments, in a nod toward historically racist housing policies.

Black residents are eligible for the housing program if they, or their ancestors, lived in the city between 1919 and 1969 or if they can show they suffered housing discrimination due to the city’s policies.

The recipients will be randomly selected if there are more applicants than available funds in the housing program.

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