Archives:

The Spring 2009 Issue of Residents’ Journal is Now Online

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Spring 2009 issue of Residents’ Journal hit the streets with circulation crew distributing 40,000 copies of the paper to 250 locations in Chicago. Throughout the week of March 23, two vans with 6 circulation staff members distributed the latest issue of Residents’ Journal to various community centers, businesses, schools and religious institutions throughout the city. As well as the usual distribution locations of the paper, circulation staff found new drop off points for the paper, so be sure to check your local café, diner or barber shop.
If you were unable to get grab a copy on the streets, the complete issue is now available online. Please click on the image above to view the Spring 2009 issue of Residents’ Journal.

Articles written in the Spring 2009 Issue by the students of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program can be found by: clicking here…

Tags: , ,
Categories: Homepage Uncategorized

The CHA Plan Is Dead

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

Janice Patton gave up on the Plan for Transformation a long time ago. Patton moved out of Robert Taylor Homes in 2000, the same year Mayor Richard M. Daley announced the Plan. The mayor promised that residents who moved out temporarily could return shortly, after the high-rises were demolished and replaced with new, ‘mixed-income’ communities. Patton didn’t go too far from Robert Taylor, settling in the neighborhood just south of where the development stood. Like most of those who moved out, she used a Section 8 certificate – now known as Housing Choice Voucher – to subsidize her rent in a relatively well-managed, new construction development. Unlike many of her former neighbors, Patton never expected to come back.

“I left it and kept on going,” she explained. “I thought, ‘Let me get into a good building so I don’t have to move from place to place.’”
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Homeless Vets Speak Out

by Michael Ibrahem 

This reporter was recently forwarded a press release which focused on the problem of homeless veterans recently discharged from active duty. The Jan. 5, 2009, press release was issued by the Illinois chapter of Volunteers of America indicated that “Nationally, over 200,000 are homeless on any given night in this country and more than 500,000 are homeless at some point during the year.” Erica Foreman, a community relations coordinator for Volunteers of America, said: “The lack of affordable housing – that is a big problem in Chicago and nationally, leaving many veterans in America homeless.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many homeless veterans there are. It is obscene. “There has never been affordable housing or sufficient job opportunities for these veterans. Volunteers of America has come up with its own affordable housing program that should be launched in 2010 on Madison and St. Louis on Chicago’s West Side. I think our communities should really get involved and contact local aldermen and governmental officials.”
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

The White House Agenda for the Poor

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The new administration of President Barack Obama is apparently not very interested in sharing its plans for low-income people. Little has been announced publicly about what the administration will do for the poor in these hard economic times, and Residents’ Journal’s calls to the White House over a three-week period failed to get a comment by press time.

A lot of information is available on the White House web site, however. Here is a partial list: To tackle concentrated poverty, the Obama administration promises to create and establish 20 “Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement in cities across the nation.” The program will be modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which provides an entire neighborhood with services for young people at every age, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities, according to the White House.
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Harold Ickes Homes Update

by Jacqueline Thompson 

The Harold Ickes public housing development is one of the last to go through change under the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, now in its 10th year. All around the city, renovation and rehabilitation has brightened up the city’s neighborhoods. New architecture both outside and inside has replaced decades-old buildings with outdated floor plans and replacement housing for residents of CHA who are eligible for the Right to Return. As a long-time resident of Ickes, the most often question I am asked is, “What are ‘they’ going to do with Ickes?” And further, “Are ‘they’ going to tear down, rehabilitate or redevelop?” My answer is, “I don’t know.” I have inquired of persons in high places, and so far, the latest answer has been, “Nothing has been determined yet.” That was from Matthew Aguilar, CHA spokesperson. Aguilar did promise to inquire further and get back to me. I wait patiently.

I tried to check with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD published that “Harold Ickes was not subject to demolition.” But I was unable to speak directly to anyone. Even after many referrals from one individual to another, I still couldn’t get an answer. I wait patiently. As I continued to wait, I was drawn to CHA document FY2009, Moving to Work Annual Plan for Transformation Year 10. In it, on page 55, I found that Harold Ickes comes under the “Properties to be Redeveloped or Rehabilitated” section:
Read more »

Tags: , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Ickes Leader Challenges CHA CEO

by Mary C. Piemonte 

It is no future at Ickes,” declared Gloria Williams, the resident leader at the Harold Ickes Homes, to Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) CEO Lewis Jordan at the Tenant Services meeting on March 11.

Williams was upset because CHA has been rapidly closing down buildings and emptying out the 738-unit public housing complex without having a formal federal plan to redevelop or rehabilitate the site. “You can steadily put people out,” Williams said. “I just want my people and the people here to know that I did everything I could. But when housing decides to tear your land down…it’s no stopping. I cannot stop them. “It’s not a ‘we’ thing. It’s a CHA thing. I used to be a part of it. Now it’s just a CHA thing,” she added.
Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

CHA’s Safe Harbor Gets Bigger

by Mary C. Piemonte 

In January and February, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Board approved important changes to its work rules for tenants and to the Plan for Transformation.

The Work Requirement Policy Changes
At a special CHA Board meeting at the agency’s downtown headquarters on Jan. 14, directors approved changes to the work requirement policy for its residents. CHA clarified which residents can take advantage of ‘Safe Harbor,’ the policy which allows residents under certain circumstances to be exempt from the rules which state they have work or be in an educational program. First, CHA decided that a person does not have to meet the work rules if they are caring for “a victim of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking.” CHA also lengthened the amount of time that volunteer or community service hours can count towards 50 percent of the requirement for hours they must work or be in an educational program. In the past, these volunteer activities could count for two years. Now they count for three years. The CHA also removed the work requirement for “the primary caretaker of a child(ren) under age 13 in households with two or more adults; One adult working exempts one other adult from work to care for a child(ren) under age 13.”
Read more »

Tags: , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Residents Blame CHA for School Closures

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Attendance is low in our community because redevelopment is slow,” declared William Fleming, a resident of the Cabrini-Green pubic housing complex, to members of the Chicago Board of Education on Feb. 25. Fleming’s daughter attends Schiller Elementary School, 640 W. Scott St. Next school year, Schiller will be consolidated because of low enrollment. It will cease to exist and students will be re-enrolled into Jenner Elementary, 1119 N. Cleveland Ave.

William Fleming, a resident fo the Cabrini-Green public housing complex, testifying at the Chicago Board of Education hearings on school closures in February 2009. Fleming expressed concerns about the possibility of overcrowding that could result from relocating Schiller Elementary School students into a nearby school.
Photo by Mary C. Johns

Fleming was among many voices addressing school officials over the changes to the school system. He and other public housing residents blamed the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) Plan for Transformation for the closings, turnarounds, consolidations and phase outs of 16 public schools in predominantly African American and Latino low-income neighborhoods. “In Cabrini-Green, we have a right to return, a federal right to return,” Fleming said. “Over 600 [public housing] units will be built within the next 18 months with the minimal bedroom size being three for Chicago school children between K and eighth [grade],” he added.
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Under Fire, Board Closes Schools Anyway

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Under fire from parents, teachers, students and even some state legislators, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close, consolidate, phase out or turn-around 16 schools on Feb. 25. Four schools will close, four will be consolidated into other schools, four will be put into ‘turnaround’ initiatives, and four will be phased out. The difference between a closing and a consolidation is that all of the consolidated school’s students would move to the same receiving school. Staff members usually follow the students, except where there are overlaps, which would then be subject to union rules. The Board designates a school for ‘turnaround’ when it has consistently low academic performance. No students have to move in a turnaround. Instead, the staff have to reapply for their jobs and an outside organization works with the school to change the culture, according to Chicago Public Schools’ web site. “Schools are phased out for low enrollment, and all students currently enrolled in the schools would be allowed to graduate. However, the school would not be able to enroll any kindergarten, or in some cases pre-K, students as of the 2009-10 school year. “The following year, the school would not be able to enroll kindergarten or first-grade students, and each year would enroll one fewer grade.”
Read more »

Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

U. S. Citizens Decry Relatives’ Deportation

by Quintana Woodridge 

You could have heard a pin drop at the town hall meeting at Saint Pius V. Catholic Church on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, when U.S. citizens spoke about family members who were deported. Many people cried as they heard the testimony of families ripped apart and deported back to their original homeland by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE). In the front of the room, where the town hall meeting was held, there stood a shrine dedicated to the families whose loved ones were taken from their homes.

There on display were posters of families with a family member blotted out, representing those who were sent back and remain absent from the family. The meeting was hosted by US Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL). Among these families that were torn apart was Maria Garcia-Lynch. Lynch is a US citizen married to Dominico Papaianni, who was one of the many people that came on a visitor’s visa to America and didn’t leave. Lynch and her son Richard both dressed in black and with tears in their eyes, stood in front of the meeting telling their story.
Read more »

Tags: , ,
Categories: Uncategorized