Dear Resident

by Patricia Johnson-Gordon 

Editor’s Note: Dear Resident is on vacation this month. In honor of Black History Month, the column below reprints the Dear Resident column from February 2000

Despite the mild to moderate to monumental Y2K disaster predictions, here we are, just like the rest of Chicago, safe and sound in the new millennium.

Here we are with the same old new challenge of how to improve the quality of life for public housing residents and the same new old problems.

Old problems affect more of our young people at even earlier age, causing them to fall victim to something that can only be described as a cultural plague. Read more »

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Black History Section: A Celebrated Life

by Jacqueline Thompson 

Longevity has its place was a statement eloquently spoken by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in August 1965.

Mrs. Gertrude Fredd, a widow, aunt, godmother, neighbor and friend who lived at 30 W. Cermak, a Hilliard Homes senior building, found that place, longevity.

In December 2000, Mrs. Fredd died after spending her life in three different centuries: she was born in 1897 and died in 2001 at the age of 103. Not many people ever get the chance to know a 103-year-old person. Read more »

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Child of the Pack Saddle Part III

by John Sampson 

Two hours after I got into the Model T Ford a few miles north of Marksville, five Cajuns and myself pulled into a yellow two-car garage in the rear of a yellow duplex house on Holly Street in Alexandria, Louisiana.

The interior of the garage was much larger than it appeared from the outside: the floor was covered over with wall-to-wall concrete, there was a two-pane window on one side of the garage, and at the far end, there was an iron bed. All in all, the place was neat and well kept for a garage.

After everyone had gotten out of the car and removed the fishing gear, Caroline said to me, “Popcorn, you wait here while I go in the house and get some bed clothing for the bed in the corner there where you’re going to sleep. That will be your bed. You wait here and I’ll be right back.”

I guess I waited out in the garage something like 25 to 30 minutes and was getting a little uneasy when Roland walked in and said to me, “Popcorn. Uncle Johnny told me to tell you to come in the house. Grandmother wants to see you. Come with me.” Read more »

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Rappin’ Tate The Great

by Cenabeth Cross 

There is a new rapper in town and he’s good. He is a positive role model for the children. He is currently making appearances at the schools promoting his CD titled READ.

His first album was released in 1990 on the T.O.M.A. label. It was titled “Ambitious.” He was featured in a “Someone You Should Know short television segment by Harry Porterfield on WLS television.

I caught Tate’s act at the Dodge Elementary School on Dec. 19, 2000. The show was dedicated to Vila Brooks, a teacher at the school who had just passed away. Some one said that she loved to party. Read more »

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Altgeld Gardens’ Environmental Issues

by Wateka Kleinpeter 

An Altgeld Gardens resident and longtime environmental activist says residents of other public housing developments should be concerned about potential health hazards from the demolition and redevelopment of their communities.

“CHA doesn’t hold contractors responsible when they’re doing demolitions,” said Cheryl Johnson, director of People for Community Recovery. “Maybe due to a lack of knowledge of environmental health concerns.”

For many years, Johnson and other Altgeld Gardens residents have been very concerned about potential health hazards because they live in a former industrial area on the far South Side. Read more »

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Stop The Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

There are a number of cases currently in the courts that involve Chicago police officers who are being accused of corrupt involvement with street gang members.

On Feb. 14, I went to court to see the arraignment of William M. Patterson. He was one of the officers caught in the federal sting that centered around the Robert Taylor Homes and the Ida B. Wells housing complexes last week. The court procedure was to determine if the case would go to trial. The judge said that the indictment would stand.

Patterson was charged with several counts of drug offenses, including conspiracy to possess and distribute narcotics. The arraignment of Patterson’s partner, Daryl L. Smith, called “Smitty,” was handled on a different day and time. According to the court testimony, federal investigators caught on videotape two teams of policemen robbing drug dealers. Read more »

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Transforming CHA: Flannery Homes Residents Keep Waiting

by Julio Martinez 

On Oct. 30, 1998, dozens of residents in a Flannery Homes high-rise lost all their belongings in a raging fire.

The operator of a mechanical shovel digging a trench for some market-rate town homes being built around the high-rise was not aware the gas line that supplied this building, belonging to the Chicago Housing Authority, was located on the same path where he was digging.

Now, after three years, residents still have not been able to recover their losses. To find out what was happening, I interviewed Timothy Fox, who is the Claims Manager with the Chicago Housing Authority. Fox tells me that he will soon receive a very large payment from the insurance companies for this building. But that money will be for the building, which was insured for several million dollars. Fox said the residents who suffered losses will have to go through their own suits and their own attorneys. Read more »

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Del Prado Residents Face Uncertainty

by Michael Ibrahem 

Seventy-eight residents of the Del Prado in Hyde Park are facing uncertainty and possible eviction because their landlord has opted out of a government housing program.

Located on the southeast corner of 53rd and Hyde Park Boulevard, the legendary Del Prado building once housed the very elegant Del Prado Hotel and is now home to the prestigious Hyde Park Art School and Gallery and the Del Prado Apartments. The Del Prado was once known as “the” place to eat, meet and greet for the University of Chicago set as well as visitors to the University’s internationally known cultural and academic institutions. Read more »
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Transforming CHA: Federal Housing Voucher Woes

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

Mary Sistruck is a young single mother of 6 who moved out of the Robert Taylor development over 4 years ago and now lives in an apartment at 90th Street and Exchange Avenue with a Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher. Sistruck used to reside in what most of the residents called the “Hole,” a cluster of Chicago Housing Authority buildings in the 5300 block of the State Street corridors that have since been demolished.

Sistruck, who was a resident since the tender age of 16, moved out at age 25. She told RJ she wished she had never moved from Robert Taylor.

“Since I moved out into the private market, it has been one headache after another,” Sistruck said. “It is like riding a mental roller coaster. The constant moving every year has got me going up and down, leave me wondering where will me and my family end up. Read more »

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Transforming CHA: How To Save On Rent

by Mary C. Piemonte 

I am all for redevelopment and I am sure most residents are. I also would like to say that most of the new private managers are really trying to work with residents. But when it comes to the One Strike issue and lease compliance, I and other residents I’ve talked with feel this policy hurts some residents who really want a better life for the residents of CHA and to be rid of drugs and gangs. Many Chicago public housing residents don’t know about CHA’s Income Disregard Policy, which could benefit working residents by keeping their rent low and giving them a chance to save money.

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