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The New Resident Leadership

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

The Central Advisory Council, the elected leadership of the residents of the Chicago Housing Authority, recently announced the result of its recent election. Pictured here are the following: Francine Washington (bottom right corner, identifications are from right), president of the Washington Park Local Advisory Council and chairman of the Central Advisory Council; Perry Casey, president of the Senior North LAC; Mildred Pagan (off camera), president of the Lathrop LAC; Charmeita Witherspoon (off camera), president of the Lawndale Gardens LAC; Shashak Levi (off camera), president at large of the Robert Taylor ‘B’ LAC; Carole Steele, president of the Cabrini-Green LAC and vice chair of the CAC; Natalie Saffold, president at large of the Leclaire Courts LAC; Charnae Harmon, president of the Henry Horner Homes LAC; Rosemary Coleman, president of the Senior Central LAC; Pauline Wesley, president of the Senior South LAC; Myra King, president of the Trumbull-Lowden LAC; and Beatrice Harris, president of the Wentworth Gardens LAC.

Not pictured: Carol Wallace, president of the Dearborn Homes LAC; Bernadette Williams, president of the Altgeld Gardens LAC; Maria Sopena, president of the Northeast Scattered Site LAC; Annie Davis, president of the ABLA LAC; Maner Jean Wiley, president of the Hilliard Homes LAC; Claudice Ware, president at large of the Ida B. Wells LAC; Mary Baldwin, president at large of the Rockwell Gardens LAC; Mildred Dennis, president at large of the Robert Taylor ‘B’ LAC.

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A Protest Success Story

by Alicia Jacobs 

Alicia Jacobs and a fellow resident of the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the South Side pose during a successful protest of a local food store. Photo by Alicia Jacobs.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

This is a story of a protest that helped a community. Could you imagine being outside for more than nine hours a day in dangerously cold temperatures, standing up and fighting for a change? Could you be a part of a boycott, just like your older relatives have done in the civil rights days?

Occupy Altgeld is a group of concerned residents who live in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the far South Side who decided to address problems that many residents saw but couldn’t seem to change on their own. These residents felt the food prices of Rosebud Farm were too high. Rosebud Farm is the only grocery store in the area surrounding Altgeld where residents can purchase food.

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The Altgeld Gardens Farmers Market: A Personal Perspective

by Manquaze Allen 

Step through this door to visit Altgeld Gardens’ new farmers market. Photo by Manquaze Allen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

Marguerite Jacobs is the founder of Altgeld Gardens’ new farmers market located at 939 East 130th Place. Mrs. Jacobs, who happens to be my mother, gets her fresh produce and supplies from Pembroke, Illinois. Vegetables, peanuts and fruit are sold at the market for a low price. The food is freshly grown, so there are no chemicals in her vegetables and fruit. Here are a few items that Mrs. Jacobs sells: potatoes, onions, peppers, oranges, carrots and much more.

“Altgeld is a food dessert community. I feel that the younger kids are exposed to so much fat foods and not enough healthy products. The farmers market will give the kids good choices to eat,” said Mrs. Jacobs. She spent much of the time preparing to open the market at Altgeld in June of 2012. Now she is selling her produce and in 10 months her goal is to start selling meat.

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Resident Survey Ends June 1!!! Click This Link Today!

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

 

Attention Attention

Calling All CHA Residents and Former Residents,

Please follow the link below and fill out the following Survey. This Survey will help Resident Leaders negotiate with city officials to make sure the Plan for Transformation 2.0 truly works for all Chicago families.
http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?9BBFD3CA9ADCCBCE90

Everyone who fills out the survey will qualify to win a laptop computer or a $250 gift card. Feel free to share the link with anyone you know. Anyone who fills out the survey is eligible to win the prizes. ACT SOON, the survey closes June 1.

The Survey is sponsored by We The People Media, the nonprofit publishers of Residents’ Journal, working with the elected leaders of public housing families. You can find out more about We The People Media at wethepeoplemedia.org

Please call the Central Advisory Council at (312) 913-7828 with any questions or concerns!

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New Calendar For Public Housing Tenants

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

There are more than 51,000 families in Chicago’s public housing system, including households in the traditional family style developments like Altgeld Gardens, Lowden Homes and Bridgeport Homes, as well as senior buildings and tens of thousands of families who rent in the private market using Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly known as Section 8 vouchers). All of these residents are represented by the Central Advisory Council, an elected body of tenant leaders who negotiate on tenants’ behalf with the Chicago Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other government agencies. Recently, the CAC put out its annual calendar, which contains a huge quantity of useful information for tenants, and we are providing the 2012 Tenant Calendar in PDF format, free of charge, for either download or on-line viewing.

The calendar will be essential reading for current tenants as well as for the nearly 100,000 more families who are on waiting lists for CHA units and the Housing Choice Vouchers programs, and the tens of thousands of low-income families who need housing subsidies. The calendar contains answers to questions such as:

How is my Rent Calculated?

How do I save money on Electricity and Gas?

Can I have a Pet?

In a sign of the times, the calendar also has a special section for Housing Choice Voucher holders whose building is in foreclosure, and the names and addresses of every alderman in Chicago.

You can click above or on the following link to get the 2012 Tenant Calendar.

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Altgeld Tenants: Police, Cameras Not Improving Security

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Bernadette Williams, the tenants Local Advisory Council president, complaining to CHA Board members, on October 18, 2011, about increased shootings at the far south side public housing site. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


Tenants of public housing have said throughout the Plan for Transformation that they see very little police activity in their areas, except during drug raids.

In decades past, police officers used to walk the beat, but they are little seen these days, and the public housing tenants living in CHA developments and in areas where they relocated wonder where “Officer Friendly” is, especially in light of the fact that the Chicago Housing Authority has been paying the Chicago Police Department millions of dollars annually to provide foot and car patrols.
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Parents Protest CPS Turn-Arounds

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Walter H Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which is slated to be closed under a new plan announced by the Chicago Public Schools. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

A South Side community group “fed up” with the Chicago Public Schools closing and turn-around process in low-income areas of color brought their protest to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office this week.

“CPS’ top-down school actions in North Kenwood and the Greater Bronzeville community have caused spikes in violence and destabilized schools, and not improved student outcomes,” reads a statement from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, also known as KOCO.

KOCO members, along with parents from North Kenwood, Oakland and Bronzeville neighborhoods, rallied outside Emanuel’s office on December 1, and called on him to partner with them to implement “The Bronzeville Global Achievers Village,” an alternative school transformation plan they’ve developed over the past 18 months.

KOCO member Shannon Bennett told Residents’ Journal shortly after the protest that members from his organization and several community parents, along with representatives from the Centers for New Horizons and the Grand Boulevard Federation, first met with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard at their office on November 21 regarding KOCO’s plan to counteract CPS policies concerning school closings, phase-outs and turnarounds. Brizard said he would get back to them but did not, according to Bennett. “So that’s why we have gone around him, and go to his boss,” Bennett explained.

Bennett said members from KOCO delivered a letter to Emanuel through one of his staff members, and added that members of his organization are particularly upset about the phasing out of Walter H. Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which KOCO noted in their press release is the only neighborhood high school in Kenwood-Oakland. Sending students to Wendell Phillips Academy High School, 244 E. Pershing Road in the Bronzeville community, will result in increased violence, he argued. In 2005, Bennett said he personally experienced a spike in crime in Kenwood-Oakland after the closing of two schools, the Jackie Robinson and Price elementary schools.

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Ex-Offenders Strive For Better

by Mary C. Piemonte 

William Harper (second from left), vice president of Meyer’s Corporation, poses with ex-offenders he hired, along with CHA Altgeld Gardens Local Advisory Council President Bernadette Williams (third from left), Altgeld Gardens tenant Cheryl Johnson (fourth from right), president of People for Community Recovery, and CHA Senior Central Local Advisory President Martha Marshall (third from right), one of the first CHA tenants who established her own business, after the CHA Board of Commissioners meeting on October 18, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

There is a decades old myth that Black men just don’t want to work. But William Harper, a tenant of the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the far South Side of the city, has many examples that dispel that myth.
Harper is founder and vice president of Meyer’s Corporation, which provides general contracting services such as dry walling, painting, sub-frame, roofing, landscaping and snow removal.

Harper has been in business since January 2008 in the Altgeld public housing community, he told Residents’ Journal after the Oct. 18 CHA Board of Commissioners meeting at the Vivian Gordon Senior Apartments, 4227 S. Oakenwald St. Within that last year alone, Harper said he has hired over 59 African American men ex-offenders but added that he is having a difficult time in getting paid by the CHA’s private Management Company HJ Russell for some completed work, and had to lay off some of his employees.

“I was unable to keep all employed because of the lack of work I am receiving,” he said.
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Altgeld’s New Library

by Alisha Jacobs 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.

After fighting for 10 months, Altgeld Gardens finally got a library. There is a door separating Carver Elementary School and the Altgeld Library. It is the first public library to share a Chicago Public Schools building. The library is located right across the street from the Larry Hawkins Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and Carver Primary Elementary school. The library opened April 8, 2011; at this time, it is under-going renovation to install a central air system.

Residents’ Journal interviewed Shante Jackson, the children’s library associate, and Jackson said the library had to close on

The interior of the new library in the Altgeld Gardens community. Photo by Alisha Jacobs.

several of the hottest days of the summer. “We close based on the temperature outside. If it’s too hot, we use a fan or we shut the library down,” Jackson said. “The library is very important to the community. Altgeld needs it more now because there are more residents and schools in the community.”

The library has free wireless internet and 30 computer stations, 20 for children and 10 for adults. There were 25 residents in the library at the time of the RJ interview. Residents were at the computers, searching for books and checking out books. The library is a heavily utilized place in Altgeld.

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How to Deal with the Next Heat Wave

by Alisha Jacobs 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.

This July, Chicago battled extreme heat. But what exactly is a heat wave? A heat wave is caused when a large mass of hot air stays over an area. Chicago hasn’t had a heat wave advisory since 1996, when there were about 750 heat-related deaths over a period of 5 days. There are heat warnings in over 36 states, so we’re not alone. Most places have reached triple digits repeatedly, according to ABC news. The extreme heat left over 150 million people around the country trying to find relief in any place possible.

Most people don’t know that elevated temperatures are a public health threat that leads to a considerable number of deaths. Every year a lot of people are hospitalized or die due to exposure to high temperatures. An average of 400 deaths are annually counted as heat-related in people who are 65 years and older. Elderly people should make sure their temperature doesn’t rise above 102 degrees, because the condition can quickly lead to heat stroke, according to USA Today. We have to make sure we keep an eye on elderly family members and friends. Seniors are more vulnerable to the heat because their body does not contain as much water as young people.

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