‘I Didn’t Think I Had a Chance’: Meet One of Evanston’s First 16 Reparations Beneficiaries


Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH), a non-profit organization that develops affordable housing, was chosen by the city to help publicize the first 16 local repair restorative housing grants. It turns out that one of the 16 beneficiaries, Louis Weathers, has been on the CPAH advisory board for 20 years.

Louis Weathers, 87, a longtime Evanstonian and one of 16 inaugural recipients of local reparations outside his home. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

“Reparations came in Evanston in 2012 by [former] City councilor [Lionel Jean-] Baptiste,” Weathers, 87, told RoundTable when asked where he first heard about the local remediation effort. “But the blacks paid no attention. so it kinda went [away] until my girl walks in, Robin [Rue Simmons]. She was my councilor… She’s nice.

He said he went to the first meetings about the restorative housing program to find out what the “ground rules” were, and overall he says the program is great, although like many others he has reservations about what those rules were.

“You had to own a house, you made us use the funds in a certain way. I wasn’t very happy about it. But that didn’t stop me from supporting him,” he said.

Weathers said he is not a political person, but he has some political knowledge.

“When anything is done politically… both sides have to win something.”

He found he was chosen in the first round of housing beneficiaries just days after the January 13 draw, as the city published the official list on its website. Weathers couldn’t believe it. He felt like he was winning the lottery, although, he said, the City Council explained that it was not a lottery draw.

“I don’t think I had a chance,” he said. His wife, who is from Jamaica, was happy for him because she knew Weathers was involved in growing the community. “She’s not from Evanston. It didn’t affect her like I did.”

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