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CAC Releases Vision for the Future

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

September 12, 2012 -Elected leaders of Chicago’s public housing families today issued the 2012 Strategies and Recommendations Report, a comprehensive vision for the future that would see the city provide quality housing to many more low-income families who need it in these tough economic times.

Twelve years after the Plan for Transformation for the Chicago Housing Authority was launched by Mayor Richard M. Daley, much work remains to be done. All of the city’s public housing high-rises for families have been demolished and a small number of mixed-finance communities have been built, but large tracts of land across the South and West sides remain vacant, awaiting a new vision that will deal with the realities of the current housing market. CHA remains the landlord, meanwhile, for more than 130,000 people in low-rise family developments, senior citizen high-rises and private apartments rented through the Housing Choice Voucher program.

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Black Pioneers Honored

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Descendants of Civil Rights Activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett pose with Sandra Young, a former president of the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing development. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

 

Remembering Ida B. Wells

Several Chicago public housing tenants representatives, city public officials and a few prominent people around town got together to remember what would have been the 150th birthday of civil rights activist Ida B. Wells on July 16 at the community room of 3750 S. Cottage Grove on the site of the mixed-income Oakwood Shores housing complex, two blocks from where organizers plan a monument in her honor. Oakwood Shores replaced the Ida B. Wells public housing development, the last section of which was demolished in August 2011.

The participants, including some of Wells’ relatives, mingled and ate hors d’oeuvres as they listened to Shirley Newsome from the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee give a brief update on the effort to build the memorial.

A world-renowned African American sculptor, Chicagoan Richard Hunt, was chosen to create a sculpture of Wells and he was on hand to speak about his process as well.

Afterward, some of the participants took a short walk to 37th Street and Langley Avenue, the future site of the monument. Wells lived in the Bronzeville neighborhood “where she lived, worked and raised her family from 1895 until 1931,” according to the Wells Art Committee, a subcommittee of the Oakwood Shores Working Group, which is a committee designated by the Chicago Housing Authority to oversee and provide input on planning, developing and maintaining the mixed-income community.

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CHA Opens Wait List in Lincoln Square

by Mary C. Piemonte 

 

Beginning today, residents of the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the North Side can apply to get into a small number of the Chicago Housing Authority’s two, three and four-bedroom units in the area. CHA will accept applications until July 20.

Those who want to apply should go to CHA’s North East Scattered Sites Satellite Office, the garden unit at 2117 W. Giddings St. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, and Saturday, July 14. Some of the public housing units will be accessible for people with disabilities.

You must be 18 years of age or older at the time the application is submitted and you must reside in Lincoln Square all through the application process. A picture ID is required along with two documents that prove your address, according to the CHA press release today. You must qualify to get a two-, three- or four-bedroom public housing unit under federal guidelines. After the application period ends July 20, the CHA will have an electronic lottery to determine each registrant’s place on the Wait List.

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Enter Survey, Win a Laptop Computer!

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

 

Dear Friends :

We The People Media is asking people to fill out an on-line survey we developed with the Local Advisory Council resident leaders. Anyone that fills it out gets the chance to win a laptop computer or a gift card!

The survey is geared toward current CHA residents as well as former residents, but we’re looking for everybody’s opinion. Feel free to copy the link and send it out to others:

http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?9BBFD3CA9ADCCBCE90

 

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A Message from the Resident President

by Myra King 

Myra King, President of the Central Advisory Council

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest commentary written by Myra King, President of the Central Advisory Council, the elected leadership for all public housing families in the city. You can find out more about the CAC by checking their web site, tellingourstory.org, or calling their office at 773 913 7828.

Hello Everyone,
My name is Myra King. I am the Local Advisory Council (LAC) President of Trumbull Park and Lowden Homes. I am also the Chairperson of the Central Advisory Council (CAC), as well as a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Resident Commissioner.
I send you this message to ensue that you are aware of the following:
People who live in Scattered Sites, public housing, mixed income and those in the Section 8 Program or Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program all have our rents subsidized or with payments by the federal government. We are all tenants receiving help with our rent by the government.
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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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CHA’s New Plan?

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

Click here to listen to We The People Media’s Executive Director Ethan Michaeli on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio’s new hit show “The Afternoon Shift” with Steve Edwards talking about the Chicago Housing Authority’s efforts to revise its Plan for Transformation. Ethan and Steve examine the pitfalls as well as the opportunities of creating a new paradigm for public housing for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago. Ethan speaks during the second hour of the program.

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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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Blackhawks Host CHA Kids

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA youth practicing their moves on the ice, during Chicago Blackhawks “Event to Inspire” Hockey Clinic sponsored by 1 World Sports, at Johnny’s Ice House on January 19, 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


For the second year, the Chicago Blackhawks met and greeted 61 Chicago public housing youth during their “Event to Inspire” Hockey Clinic sponsored by 1 World Sports, at Johnny’s Ice House, 1350 W. Madison Street on January 19, 2012.

During the three-hour sports clinic, the girls and boys, ages 6 to 12 all from CHA family developments, laced up their ice skates and were instructed in the fundamentals of hockey.
Later, they applied the new skills they learned from Kevin Delahny, the Blackhawks skills coach, to score puck-shots on Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery.
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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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