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Residents Look to the Hills

by Jacqueline Thompson 

The residents of the Harold L. Ickes Homes are seeking stability with nowhere to find it. The list of imbalances is lengthening daily. It seems like it would be a simple matter to dry up the ever-present body of water that floats like a moat in front of all the ‘double-T’ buildings and never goes away. At 23rd Street along the fire lane, the moat is deep enough and permanent enough to actually grow a microscopic form of seaweed. Seagulls wake you every morning and wade in search of bugs.

This past July and August, the moat made a great bed for hatching mosquito eggs, perhaps even the dreaded West Nile virus-carrying mosquito. How can we tell? The risk of the children getting hit by the insect is high. But apparently, nobody cares.
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A Savory Survey

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

Susan Popkin and Mary K. Cunningham from the Urban Institute released a study this summer on 190 residents of public housing who were supposed to be relocated. The study’s results should be important for understanding the CHA Transformation Plan.

Public housing in Chicago, like in many other cities, is currently undergoing a lot of redevelopment.

In 1998, nearly 19,000 CHA units failed inspection and were set up for demolition. As a result, the city put forth their “Plan for Transformation.”

The Plan for Transformation calls for demolition of 51 gallery high-rises as well as several thousand mid-rise and low-rise units. As CHA demolishes its units and builds new, mixed-income neighborhoods, there will be a net loss of 14,000 units. Read more »

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RMCs Aim to Please?

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

Resident Management Corporations – Do they aim to please?

That is the question I asked residents leaders, residents and others who view their actions on a daily basic. Resident Management Corporations are known to the residents in public housing as RMCs. They are corporations which are fully staffed and run by residents who manage the developments they reside in. I asked everyone the question, “Does resident management work?” Read more »

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A Smooth Transition For Section 8?

by Michael Ibrahem 

When a number of Chicago buildings began opting out of the project-based Section 8 program earlier this year, many people worried it would cause another homelessness crisis like that of the ‘80s, when low-income families witnessed friends, neighbors and even relatives wandering the streets without shelter. But tenants, their advocates and government agencies are reporting that everything is going well so far with respect to the change from project-based Section 8 subsidies to enhanced vouchers.

Holidays are fast approaching and, as a veteran activist since the 1960s, I have been stressed out about this new threat and not just because I am personally affected. I am currently living in the Del Prado in Hyde Park, one of the buildings that chose to opt out of the project-based Section 8 program. These buildings were built or rehabbed with government support and, in return, the government demanded that the building owners keep at least a part of the building as low-income housing. Once the building owners pay off their loan from the government, they can decide whether or not they want to stay in the program. The owner of my building chose to get out of the program. Read more »

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Homelessness: A Constant American Tragedy

by Mary C. Piemonte 

When it comes to homelessness, the City of Chicago is going the way of Dr. Frankenstein. In the books and movies, Dr. Frankenstein did not foresee the havoc, chaos and destruction wrought by his monster. By making the monster, Frankenstein thought somehow the world would benefit by his creation. He sought to control his creation. But in the end, his monster was uncontrollable.

In the current scenario playing out in this city, the Chicago Housing Authority and the City of Chicago appear to be playing the part of Dr. Frankenstein. The monster is the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. Read more »

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