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Getting to Know Rockwell

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

I recently investigated Rockwell Gardens, a 17-acre public housing development on Chicago’s West Side. In my quest to get to know Rockwell, I learned a lot about this family development.

Built in 1961, Rockwell Gardens housed 1,126 units of public housing before redevelopment began recently and it is just three miles from the Loop. When completed, the redeveloped site will house 823 units, 264 of which will be public housing, according to Chicago Housing Authority representatives.
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Is It “Doomsday” For Public Housing?

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA’s new mixed-income communities could wind up with few–or even no–public housing units, under a “doomsday clause” in federal housing law being inserted into redevelopment plans across the city, according to lawyers for residents.

But, though members of the Central Advisory Council and lawyers for residents alike voice concern, no action is planned in the near future to fight the unit conversion option.

“We’re not crazy about the concept period,” said attorney to the CAC Robert Whitfield after a recent CHA Board of Commissioner’s meeting.
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Residents Turn up the Heat on CHA

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

Residents of the Cabrini-Green development are turning up the heat on the CHA-picked private management company that replaced resident managers and is now leaving them out in the cold–literally.

In the windy city, where winter temperatures can reach rock bottom, in early January Cabrini management company H.J. Russell and the CHA scrambled to explain to residents why they have to heat up pots of hot water and turn the knobs on their gas stoves up a few notches in order to stay warm.

Cabrini-Green Homes resident Ray Wood, 19, points to an open stove and a pot of boiling hot water that his family used in an effort to keep warm while the gas was shut off by CHA in mid-January. Photo by Beauty Turner

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Clock Ticking for HOPE VI Projects

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Public housing agencies nationwide risk losing their federal funding for redevelopment projects if their projects are not on schedule, according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department recently.

Will the CHA lose their HOPE VI money, too?

HUD Takes Back HOPE VI Funds
In August 2003, HUD took back a $6.4 million Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere (HOPE VI) grant for demolition from the Housing Authority of Portland, Oregon for not meeting the deadline for its public housing redevelopment plans.
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Report: Residents Steered to Poor Areas

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

A new report finds that the Chicago Housing Authority is not making promised improvements to its “Plan for Transformation,” the ongoing, massive effort to redevelop virtually all of the city’s public housing stock.

Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociologist at Columbia University and a board member of We The People Media, discovered that the agency has largely failed to stop the flow of residents into other low-income, African American neighborhoods. In a new top-to-bottom review of the third year of the Plan for Transformation, Venkatesh found CHA has not kept its promise to care for those individuals and families who were living off the lease, the so-called squatters.
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