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.

I don’t want to be biased as I am a member of the Lathrop Homes Local Advisory Council and have a good relationship with most of the LAC presidents. Yet, I want to be fair to all in this article. So I have chosen to speak with residents about these complaints but also hear the resident leadership’s side. And let’s hope, for the sake of both sides and the benefit of all residents, that these problems can be worked out and everyone can work together for the good of the residents during this time of transformation. Remember that we are going to find good as well as bad in most organizations.

Here are some of the complaints that residents had:

The complaint I was given most was that the same people are always picked for jobs and given the various things that CHA has to give to the residents.

To this complaint, one LAC president said that in most cases, the residents who benefit from these items are the people who volunteer and in most cases attend meetings. This president said that it makes sense to look out for them first. One resident came to tenant services and complained that she served on the advisory council but did not know when the LAC meeting was or was never informed of the meeting and never received flyers to any of the events in the area.

I spoke with this LAC president and was told this person always is informed of the meetings because all board members receive a phone call and in addition receive a flyer or letter. This resident was even given a Christmas present brought by the president but never even showed to pick that up, according to the president. She added that she believes that the attacks from this resident are because she also ran for LAC president and lost.

Then there are a few residents who get help from the LAC landing a job but then fail a drug test and get mad with the LAC. This is for sure not the fault of the LAC.

In the development in which I serve, I try to work for the good of all residents. But of course, you can’t satisfy everyone. And let’s just hope that there can be a better working relationship with all LAC and residents.

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