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Structural Justice

by Michael Ibrahem 

With many low-income Chicagoland residents being affected by a housing crunch, a number of government officials, housing developers, bankers, clergy and community activists put forth proposals and strategies for protecting already available affordable housing and to develop new housing at the “Valuing Affordability” conference at the Palmer House June 27-29.

The conference was sponsored by the Chicago Rehab Network. All the participants were not on the same level in terms of what they already knew and what they had yet to learn. Therefore, the first days’ workshops centered around training and focused on a variety of subjects.
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Seniors Quality of Life On The Rise

by Jacqueline Thompson 

Living conditions in Chicago Housing Authority homes for senior citizens may have just taken a turn for the better. Just in case you have not heard about it, the authority is in the process of renovating four aged senior citizen high-rise buildings.

They are located in different parts of the city and scheduled to be renovated by Dec. 15. Each building is home to many seniors as well as those who are not senior age but are there due to some type of disability. The addresses are 116 W. Elm St. on the north, 3030 W. 21st St. on the west, and two buildings at 730 East 43rd St. on the south.

The plan is to devote three years to renovate the 50 CHA senior buildings. Read more »

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CHA Seniors Protest Electric Bills

by Lorenzia Shelby 

“How many dead elders and infants does it take before President George Bush, Gov. George Ryan and Mayor Richard Daley stop blocking the summer cooling program?”

That’s a question being asked in a petition by presidents and vice presidents of the Chicago Housing Authority’s North Side senior buildings, and Curly Cohen, from Affordable Power to the People. Together, they are working to maintain the CEDA summer cooling assistance program. On July 13, they protested at Gov. Ryan’s office at the James R. Thompson Building in the Loop. They had another march on July 30. Read more »

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In Search Of Scattered Site Housing

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Inquiring minds want to know: When will Chicago public housing residents relocating from Chicago Housing Authority developments be able to move into the scattered site units that are currently available for occupancy?

Under a decades-old federal court decree known as the Gautreaux case, a judge ruled that new public housing should be scattered throughout the city, creating several thousand scattered site units. The units are low-rise town house-style structures in generally better condition than the high-rises. Twenty-five percent of CHA’s scattered site units are four bedrooms or larger, and 75 percent of the units are three bedrooms or larger. Read more »

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Squatters in CHA

by Bobby Watkins 

Residents of CHA hear a lot about being lease compliant and so many people are afraid. It seems that lease compliance will keep us from receiving a Housing Choice Voucher or coming back to our own development after relocation. Whether it’s in a big or small way, almost everybody is in some way non-lease compliant.

What made me bring this up is a recent phone call to the Residents’ Journal office from a resident. She was furious about squatters in her development. The squatters were people who just took over a vacant unit and moved in. The squatters acted like they had a lease agreement, putting in curtains, furniture and the whole nine yards. They had a rent-free home. The resident’s management company was notified and the lock on the unit was changed. But the squatters found another unit in the development. Read more »

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ABLA News

by Karen Owens 

Many times when a person thinks of residents of public housing communities, they think of them as down trodden, hopeless and uneducated, people who have no plans, opinions, or ideals as to how they want to live as individuals or families. The stereotypes are that residents are isolated from society.

The ABLA Local Advisory Council (LAC), along with its president, Deverra Beverly, other concerned residents of ABLA and various city agencies are working hard to erase these negative stereotypes.

Various meetings have been held to keep the residents informed. At these meetings, residents have been allowed to make major input and educated choices as to things that will make the future of the ABLA community a viable one. These things are needed as the transformation of public housing takes place in the years to come. Read more »

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Don’t Rock The Boat

by Wateka Kleinpeter 

Is it a coincidence or do Chicago Housing Authority residents experience a lot of hassles when they challenge their landlord?

Many residents believe that if you speak out against some of the actions of CHA, your living status may be threatened. As a resident of CHA, it is hard to be outspoken. Many residents, especially the community activists who fight for residents’ rights, have found that out.

Lakefront Community Organization (LCO) Executive Director Izora Davis (also a board member of We The People Media) has now joined that illustrious group. Read more »

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CHA Family Service Connectors

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Chicago public housing residents in need of a job, child care, GED classes, after-school programs or help with substance abuse problems and domestic violence situations now have a new place to turn. In July, five agencies were chosen as “Service Connectors” to link CHA residents from 27 family developments with city agencies.

The Service Connectors are clustered in six geographic areas throughout the city:

The North Cluster

In August, Employment and Employee Services, the Service Connector for CHA’s North Cluster, began working with residents from Cabrini Green and Lathrop Homes.

Marvin Garth, the North Cluster Manager and a former Cabrini Green resident, said each site will have resident service advocates. Garth said his agency would be working with the Resident Management Corporation at Cabrini Green, the Local Advisory Councils (LACs) and the private management firm for the two CHA developments. Read more »

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Harold Ickes Homes News

by Jacqueline Thompson 

The Good The Bad The Ugly

Our hopes and dreams will always have a place in our children’s faces as they make their first achievement of success – from their first graduation from their earliest formal educational experience.

Picture this, a beautiful balmy sun shiny day, powder blue sky, soft white clouds, hundreds of blue and white balloons dancing on strings grasped in the tiny hands of some 70 pre-school graduates. Parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and friends gathered in groups for pictures. The graduates were excited, shouting, pointing, running, grinning, and hugging gifts of teddy bears, flowers, boxes of candy, etc. Read more »

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SPECIAL FEATURE: City Gets CHA Funds Update

by Mary C. Piemonte 

With the clock ticking for many Chicago Housing Authority residents receiving government assistance, CHA officials failed to implement a much-needed welfare to work program for over one year, a continuing Residents’ Journal investigation has found.

In 1999, CHA won a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to service residents receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a federal assistance program.

But in recent interviews, CHA officials admitted the program had been held up for one year after city officials took over the agency in spring 1999.
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