ARCHIVES

Housing Activists Take Action: An Update

by Michael Ibrahem 

This update will provide useful information together with insights into issues that draw the attention of housing activists citywide. I recently took another look at the Chicago Landlords and Tenants Ordinance to see what it was meant to do, exactly.

Really, it is not often possible for those of us lacking specific training to penetrate the sometimes obscure pathways of professional jargon, or language that seems to make more of an effort to conceal information than to reveal it.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage

Budget Woes Nationwide

by Michael Ibrahem 

The budget woes for the state of Illinois have dragged on for many months. The Civic Federation in Chicago recently published a report which called for Illinois state government to reduce pension benefits, cut $2.5 billion from the budget, and increase taxes.

But what do the people think?

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

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

by Michael Ibrahem 

Many grandparents are finding themselves raising their children’s children for a variety of reasons, which include incarceration of the parent, substance abuse and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. Willie Mae Durdon, who lives in Englewood, said she has guardianship of five of her grandchildren. “I needed help with clothing and furniture,” she said.

Durdon turned to Childserv’s Grandfamily Support Program. The program, based in Chicago, offers assistance to grandparents who have become the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. “I have the furniture and the clothes, and I moved into [an apartment] building they were able to get me into.” Durdon said whenever she needs to call on Grandfamily Support, they help her.
Read more »

Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

New Funding for Chicago Rental Subsidies

by Michael Ibrahem 

Approximately 1,500 additional households will be assisted with new funding from the Low Income Housing Trust Fund, according to Ted Dygus, a media liaison for the Chicago Department of Housing.

Suzen Reiley, a disabled resident living in a Forest Park subsidized unit.
Photo by Michael Ibrahem

Dygus told me during a phone interview in March that the new funding, which is to be allotted locally from the State of Illinois’ program, is to provide annual subsidies to reduce rents for a specified number of units in buildings so that the units are affordable to tenants with annual household incomes within 30 percent of area median income.
Read more »

Tags: ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Genetic Testing and Personal Responsibility

by Michael Ibrahem 
People do not easily accept change. In the last 100 years or so, humanity has come to grips with new ideas that for thousands of years were practically unheard of. Among them was the concept of germs, which lead to pasteurization and sterilization of surgical instruments, things everyone now takes for granted but were hotly disputed and debated not so very long ago.

Can you imagine the impact this new knowledge had on scientific minds of the day, to say nothing of the effect on mass populations during that time period?

We have changed over time, and will hopefully continue to adjust and adapt to an ever-changing environment and assimilate new knowledge constantly being made available to us.

Some knowledge I recently gained was about women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. According to a seminar given this past February called “Genetic Testing and Life Decisions: What Would You Do?” women should meet with a genetic counselor to have their risk for cancer assessed, consider genetic testing and take appropriate precautions.

Read more »

Tags:
Categories: Uncategorized

State Passes Support for Renters

by Michael Ibrahem 

In Chicago, even everyday citizens have definite ideas about affordable housing or the lack of it. Throughout Illinois, activists and legislators alike are pleased with the results of the State House vote on May 4 for S.B.75, better known as the Rental Housing Support Program. “We are very excited about the passing of this bill…it is estimated that this bill could help 5,500 homeless applicants per year,” exclaimed Mimi Alschuler from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

The Rental Housing Support Program plans to assist families earning 30 percent or below an area’s median income. In most places in Illinois, supporters say that’s about $19,000 for a family of four. More than 150 organizations statewide supported this bill. The program would be funded with a $10 state surcharge on real estate documents recorded with county recorders. All total, counties statewide could build a fund amounting to between $25 million to $30 million, though estimates vary. Those funds are expected to be sufficient annually to assist over 5,500 applicants. Each county would be allowed to keep $1 of the $10 surcharge paid for the documents recorded in the county recorder’s office, with the remainder going for the Rental Housing Support Program.
Read more »

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

Senior Services 2005 and Beyond

by Michael Ibrahem 

Seniors may be living longer these days, but they still need services. Recently, two seniors asked me for assistance to expedite resolution of problems they confronted.

In the first case, she was confused about her appointments and couldn’t read the forms the clinic gave her. I made about a dozen phone calls to my friend’s health-care provider and two clinic visits. Later, the doctors surmised her medicine was too strong, causing the confusion.

The second neighbor I helped was Carolyn Smith, a senior Section 8 Voucher holder who has heart trouble, crippling arthritis and cannot hear well. She has had multiple problems settling down to adequate living arrangements. Presumably, the CHAC service providers were there to help her.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Update: Zoning and Affordable Housing

by Michael Ibrahem 

Incentives or mandates: which tool will increase affordable housing in Chicago? On the one hand, Mayor Richard M. Daley wants to use density bonuses as incentives for developers to build affordable housing units. On the other side, several alderman are proposing strict mandatory requirements to ensure affordable units and better meet the needs of low-income residents.

At a May 26 press conference, the Mayor announced zoning changes that he says will have an impact on affordable housing in Chicago.
Read more »

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

Presidential Election Notebook

by Michael Ibrahem 

There was more activity and excitement surrounding the recent presidential election than most Americans living today have experienced in a lifetime. Throughout the nineties, the media presented convincing evidence showing continued apathy among registered American voters. Today, due to the excitement already mentioned, I suspect most of the apathy has dissipated, and that everyone has an opinion. More people were more passionate about the election than ever before.
Read more »

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