Federal COVID money may help renovate YMCA residences

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The McGaw YMCA at 1000 Grove St. Credit: Evan Girard

An Evanston City Council committee voted Tuesday night to recommend using $3 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money – Evanston’s largest allocation of those funds to date – to renovate the McGaw YMCA’s Men’s Residence in Evanston. 

The unanimous vote by the Housing and Community Development Committee paves the way for a City Council vote on funding the project.

Previously, the Council approved $2 million in federal COVID-19 recovery funds for the Northlight Theatre’s return to Evanston and $1 million for The Aux, a Black business hub and wellness center. 

The Men’s Residence, which is on the third, fourth and fifth floors of the McGaw YMCA building, 1000 Grove St., has 156 single-room occupancy units that provide affordable temporary housing for men.

Officials say the apartments have not been updated or renovated in 92 years, since the YMCA moved to its current location.

The facility needs upgrading to improve ventilation, heating, cooling and accessibility, city staff members said during the May 17 committee meeting.

The ARPA funds received by the city would cover almost a quarter of the total $12.6 million renovation costs.

The YMCA has already received a $1.6 million grant for the project from the Thomas F. and Susan P. Moran Family Foundation for pre-development costs like a new entrance and lobby. 

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