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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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CHA Chiefs Come and Go as Plan Stalls

by Mary C. Piemonte 

 

New CHA CEO Michael Merchant at a Nov. 19 CHA Board meeting in the ABLA Homes public housing development. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Michael Merchant, previously the city’s buildings commissioner, recently became the fifth CHA CEO since the inception of the Plan for Transformation, a multi-billion dollar effort to overhaul and redevelop family and senior public housing stock into mixed-income communities that began in 2000 and is now projected to conclude in 2015.

Merchant told RJ after the Nov. 19 CHA Board meeting at the Fosco Park Field house in the ABLA public housing complex that he was confident he would complete the Plan during his tenure.

“I have every intention of being here to finish out the Plan,” Merchant said. “With respect to the fact that there has been turnover in this position, there’s still consistency within the staff, consistency with what the mission is, and what the goal is. Our goal is to make sure that we have vibrant communities and safe and affordable housing. So, I’m here to push full forward.”

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Another CHA Chief Bows Out

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA CEO Charles Woodyard listening to residents’ comments at a CHA Tenant Services meeting on August 8, 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

For the second time in two years, a Chicago Housing Authority chief announced his resignation even as the agency’s multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop its family and senior public housing remains incomplete.

In June 2011, a month after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was inaugurated into office, Lewis Jordan resigned from his 4-year tenure as CHA chief while city officials investigated his and others’ alleged misuse of CHA credit cards to purchase dinners at expensive restaurants and pay for red light tickets, among other items. 

Now Charles Woodyard, former CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority in North Carolina, who was appointed CHA chief by Emanuel in September 2011 to replace Jordan, is calling it quits as relocated residents continue to wait to return to replacement housing in mixed-income communities.

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Tenants Protest CHA’s Plans for Lathrop

by Mary C. Piemonte 

A protestor in the Lathrop Homes objects to all three redevelopment ideas proposed by the Chicago Housing Authority Nov. 15. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Tenants and their advocates protested the Chicago Housing Authority’s redevelopment plans for the Lathrop Homes public housing site on the North Side, which is slated for demolition and replacement by a mixed-income community consisting of an array of for-sale, affordable rental and public housing apartments.
On Nov. 15, CHA held an open house inside the New Life Community Church, 2958 N. Damen Ave., to present three concepts for the Lathrop redevelopment and pose questions to Lathrop Community Partners, the development team selected to help revitalize the 32-acre public housing site that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
But outside the church, members of the Lathrop Leadership Team – composed of tenants and their advocates – declared that developer’s plans “three dense scenarios, and one destructive idea.” Some of the protestors held signs ridiculing the three concepts; one sign featured a picture of the Three Stooges television characters, to whom the three concepts were compared.

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We The People Media in the News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

On September 27, Executive Director Ethan Michaeli spoke on WBEZ’s “The Afternoon Shift” hosted by Rick Kogan with Republican consultant Chris Roebling and WBEZ political reporter Alex Keefe to discuss the state of the electorate – undecided voters, uninformed voters and turn-out during a presidential campaign. Click here to listen to the report.
The next day, Ethan was the guest of Ken Davis’ “Chicago Newsroom” over the CAN TV network discussing the state of Chicago public housing with WBEZ FM South Side Bureau Chief Natalie Moore.

 

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CHA Opens Public Housing Wait List for South Side Neighborhoods

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Chicago Housing Authority is opening up its public housing wait list only for residents of the Douglas, Oakland, Kenwood, New City and Fuller Park neighborhoods.

This will not be a “first come, first served” opportunity to get your name on the list. Instead, qualified applicants will be placed in an “electronic lottery drawing” to determine each registrant’s place on the Wait List after the closing date, according to the CHA.

The registration period begins on June 4 and runs through June 29, 2012.

Residents of those communities can apply at the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church at 4100 S. King Drive Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, and Saturday, June 23.

The Requirements

Those who reside within the boundaries of those outlined areas at the time of application as well as during the screening and unit offer process, and who are 18 years or older, are required to have a picture ID and two forms of proof of current address. They must also qualify for a one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom unit based on the “Occupancy Guidelines” established in the CHA’s “Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy” (ACOP). Their income must not exceed the maximum income restrictions under federal law and the applicants must meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) requirements in citizenship or eligible immigration status. In addition, the applicants “must provide social security numbers for each member of the family, or certification that they do not have a social security number.”

Accessible units are also available. For more information, those interested can call 773-324-6305.

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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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Cabrini Row House Tenants Prepare to Fight CHA

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Residents and their supporters protest in the Cabrini-Green Row Houses in June 2010. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Tenants of the Cabrini Green Row-Houses are preparing to battle the Chicago Housing Authority for “reneging” on their promise to rehab all remaining units at the North Side public housing complex.

The final high-rise in Cabrini-Green was demolished this past spring, but 534 low-rise units remain in the complex. In 2008, CHA received approval from the federal government to rehab the row houses. However, only 146 units were rehabbed in 2009, leaving 438 units in disrepair, with a great majority left vacant. Only 33 of those are currently occupied, “creating a 92% vacancy rate,” according to the CHA, which announced late last week that it will not continue rehabilitation and will instead boot out the remaining public housing tenants in the non-rehabbed section of the row houses. CHA claimed that “persistent criminal activity” in the area “forces” them to make the tenants relocate elsewhere.

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Residents’ Journal’s Newly Accessible Online Archives

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Click on the image to view the eighth episode of this season’s “RJ TV,” on August 29, 2011.

Watch Residents’ Journal’s reporter Quintana Woodridge discussing We the People Media’s newly accessible online archives of the news publication for low-income people, with intern Hilary Sharp.

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Historical Gallery: Barack Obama

by Quintana Woodridge 

We The People Media/Residents’ Journal takes a look at Barack Obama during his years in Illinois.

President Barack Obama announces the new Department of Health and Human Services director at the Chicago Hilton Hotel after the November 2008 General Election. Residents' Journal Photo by Mary C. Johns.

President Barack Obama and Education Secretary-nominee Arne Duncan in late 2008. Residents' Journal photo by Mary C. Johns.

President-elect Barack Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan in late 2008. Residents' Journal photo by Mary C. Johns.

Barack Obama at a presidential debate sponsored by the AFL-CIO at Soldier Field in August 2007. Residents' Journal photo by Mary C. Johns.

Natasha "Sasha" Obama holding a campaign sign during her father's 2004 bid for the U.S. Senate. Residents' Journal photo by Mary C. Johns.

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