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The Mighty Residents of Bromley-Heath

by Izora Davis 

Here I am in Boston, anticipating to see low-income residents of public housing that have fought for safe, decent, sanitary, affordable housing as well as managing their own dwellings. My thoughts are: what a sight to see!!

As the cab drives along the streets, I see beautiful housing and businesses flourishing everywhere. I wonder: where is this public housing? As we slowly approach the area, I see high rises but they do not look like public housing to me.

As usual, my mind starts to think back on Chicago and the flight toward new mixed income communities. I wonder if I’ll see housing that compares to the idea of mixed-income communities in Chicago – the beautiful architecturally-designed housing with spacious rooms that will serve families with children. This vision is very much different from the housing as we now know it and live in it. A smile instantly comes upon my face – “Ahhh” – just the thought of safe, decent, sanitary housing, as well as quality. “My, oh my.”

But soon, the thoughts and the ideas that were set in my mind would be exploded. In Boston, Mass., I found a reality where quality housing is being carried out and managed by the most delightful residents of the Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation, which is the nation’s oldest tenant management organization.

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Washington Park: The Dying Hope

by Izora Davis 

With redevelopments ongoing in several communities, we thought it would be important to review the history of the four empty Lakefront buildings, which have been waiting for redevelopment for a decade. Using history books and her personal recollections, writer Izora Davis explores the past, present and future of the buildings’ residents.

The history of public housing, as we all have come to know it, has touched each and every one of us in such a way it feels as though we built the buildings ourselves!

I refer to this story as the dying hope because it was a dream for many people to live in subsidized housing. When the buildings were first built, it made the government look as though it really cared about poor people. People felt as if they were a part of a nation that cared. Oh! What a joy. So much happiness thrilled people’s hearts: these were nice houses, not rat infested, and with spacious rooms. But slowly the doom has come. What did we do wrong? Through the years, piece by piece, all that we thought we had was taken away. Even today, when big changes are coming, the hope is dying for residents of Washington Park. Read more »

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