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Lathrop Homes News

by Bobby Watkins 

On Wednesday, April 9, residents of Lathrop Homes experienced a major power outage which shut down electricity throughout the whole development and shut down most offices. Residents had lights out for days. U.S. Dwellings, the management company for Lathrop, put an emergency plan into effect. Lending a hand were Commonwealth Edison along with CHA representatives from headquarters.

They walked around the development to determine what had caused the problem. Management’s janitorial staff worked late into the night to be of whatever assistance they to could to residents. They were knocking on doors and checking on those known to have oxygen tanks or any illness that might require immediate attention as a result of the blackout. Read more »

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Representing Residents

by Bobby Watkins 

There have been a lot of complaints from public housing residents recently about the leadership in their developments. Some residents feel they are not being properly represented by their elected representatives. Others feel that there is always favoritism in the distribution of donated items, jobs and other things. Some residents also feel monies are being mismanaged. Read more »

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Positive Residents of the CHA

by Bobby Watkins 

A 28-year resident of Stateway Gardens, Francine is long overdue to get her flowers because she is always there when help is needed. She wears many hats, be it with her job as senior program adviser for the resident initiatives department of the Chicago Housing Authority or as Local Advisory Council president, Tenant Patrol member, her involvement in the summer food program and with various boards (including We The People Media), she is truly your super woman. And so much more because she is a wife and mother as well.

But when does she sleep? One thing can be said of Francine – she is one of those people who likes helping others and truly does it from her heart. Many people meet her for the first time, notice that she is quick to voice her opinion, and say, “Ooh, she is mean.” But after getting to know her, you’ll find out that’s what she has to do to keep you straight on the job. Read more »

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HIV/AIDs Crisis

by Bobby Watkins 

HIV/AIDS is a very serious issue in the Black community as the number of African Americans infected is steadily rising, especially in low-income areas. So I went and got information from various agencies in these areas that deal with people with HIV. What I found out was shocking. I felt it needed to be shared with residents that live not only in these areas but in the Chicago Housing Authority overall because we hear so little about this and a lot of us don’t want to hear about it.
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Choosing Between Food and Medicine

by Bobby Watkins 

This is something that has been on my mind for some time. I am one of the millions of Americans that has to deal with the problem of not being able to afford some of my medicines.

I’ve spoken with several other people who are struggling with this also. But what really made me want to write this article was a young woman I spoke with. She is a single parent receiving Supplemental Security Income with a kidney problem. She just started to take dialysis and needs this particular medicine before she starts her dialysis treatment. The medicine is needed to make her numb before treatment. She has Medicaid but it does not cover this medicine, or so she was told. Read more »
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The High Cost of Medicine

by Bobby Watkins 

As regular readers know, I have been writing lately about the high cost of medicine and how it is affecting not just our seniors and Medicaid recipients but also the working poor who are struggling to stay off the welfare rolls.

I know a young mother who makes minimum wage, has three children and no health insurance? Yeah, they can always go to Cook County Hospital. But not the way people used to. Now, even the folks at Cook County Hospital want to know how they are going to be paid. This situation is scary for a lot of people and I mean those with and without the Medicaid card. Read more »

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Who Speaks for Public Housing Residents?

by Bobby Watkins 

The Coalition to Protect Public Housing has been around for years. When it was first started in 1996, residents at Lathrop Homes, where I live, and other developments didn’t hear about it that much, except for maybe when there was a particularly interesting monthly meeting at First Congregational Church on Ashland Avenue and Washington Boulevard.

We also heard about the Coalition when it was around the Juneteenth Day rally. For their Juneteenth Day rallies, the Coalition would distribute fliers to the Local Advisory Councils and the management offices. Read more »

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Lathrop News

by Bobby Watkins 

On April 17, there was a march to stop the violence in Lathrop Homes. The march took off from the Cotter Boys and Girls Club.

In attendance were members of the Cotter Club as well as staff along with Local Advisory Council members as well as the CHA Service Connectors, members of the Tenant Patrol and staff of the DePaul University Urban Systems of Care, members of Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy and officers of the 19th District.

There could and should have been more residents of the community involved, especially since a young man was killed in the community a couple of weeks before the march. There have been reports of gunfire being heard in the development and the summer hasn’t even started yet. Let’s hope this march is the beginning of many such events to help the residents and, most of all, our children to have a safe and violent-free summer in all developments, not just Lathrop Homes. Our children deserve to be in a safe environment. Read more »

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Lathrop Homes Private Management

by Bobby Watkins 

It’s been two years almost since private management began to run family and senior housing. So, as it is time for these companies to bid on their contracts again, I thought, ‘Why not talk with the residents as well as the managers and see what grades they give them.’

I also wanted to see how management rates themselves. So I went into the developments and spoke with both. They got some reports of praise as well as some criticism. I also felt management did a good job the way they answered the questions that were put to them that came from residents as well as myself – speaking on how they operate in the development and how they would like to continue to operate. Let’s hear what everyone had to say.
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Productive Men of the CHA

by Bobby Watkins 

Robert is the newly elected Local Advisory Council vice president in Lathrop Homes. Robert has been involved in the community for the past 5 years and has been a member of the tenant patrol in the 26th Ward. He also serves as the area president where he lives and is involved with the 19th District Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) as well as the summer food program.

Presently, he is assisting residents who have to move. He feels very strongly about the work he does in the community and hopes to be of service to relocating residents with his own moving business. Davidson feels he is part of the team to make things better in his development and says his cause is to fight to make things better and help to make this relocation go smoothly. Read more »
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