WILMETTE, Ill. (CBS) — The Wilmette village board has appointed a seven member committee to find ways to privately finance housing mortgage and property tax assistance for low income residents. But as WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports there is organized opposition that wants to continue the public assistance that is to be phased out next year.

The board is acting as a community group forms to press for continuation of the program.
The program has been around for 32 years and is budgeted at $45,000 a year, but Wilmette village officials say they are watching pennies and intend to phase out the core of the program July 1, although it will continue to fund $3,000 a year for emergency relocations. Currently the Housing Assistance Program serves 21 people and families, most of them long-time residents.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Black Ice, Frostbite Risk As Wind Chills Drop Below Zero Tuesday

Village President Bob Bielinski suggests a privately-funded program similar to that in nearby Glencoe. But speaking for the newly-formed group Wilmette Cares, which supports the existing program, Gail Schechter says it won’t work.

READ MORE: Pfizer Starting Study Of Vaccine Geared Toward Omicron Variant

“Glencoe’s a much smaller community. The village of Glencoe provides $2,000 or $3,000 and then a private group raises about $13,000 or $14,000,” she said. “Their program only helps the elderly, whereas Wilmette’s is broader.”

Wilmette Cares will have a voice on the ad-hoc panel, its convenor, Lorelei McClure. Other members of the committee are expected to include several former village trustees, a former village president, and a former chair of Wilmette’s housing commission.

MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Best Way To Melt All That Ice

Schechter said that Wilmette Cares plans to circulate petitions in the new year to drive home its point and educate the public.