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Seniors Complain About Renovations

by Lorenzia Shelby 

In mid April 2002, work began on a number of Chicago Housing Authority senior building sites. This was the latest installment of the plan to renovate all of the senior buildings.

In my building, the Las Americas Racine Apartments in the Pilsen community at 1611 S. Racine Ave, they started working on the outside of the building. The first thing they worked on was the roof. They stripped and cleaned the roof of old tar and debris, and did a complete restoration.Their next task was the sides of the building. They started at the top of the building grinding and scraping old concrete from between the bricks until the four sides of the building were done. They washed the sides of the building down with water, preparing them to be tuckpointed and caulked. Read more »
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Harold Ickes News

by Jacqueline Thompson 

A Welcome Gang of Bangers
The banging, scraping and grunts began in earnest midway through August.
A welcome gang of bangers had arrived, wielding hammers, crowbars, screwdrivers and all manners of tools that workers use to get rid of the old and replace it with the new as a long-awaited renovation project for the Harold Ickes Homes went into full swing. Read more »

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Razing the Brooks Extension

by Karen Owens 

“I can just slip on a pair of slippers and walk across the street to the store.”

“Overjoyed is how I feel due to the fact that we have clean and modern laundry facilities. I like that I’m on a lower floor in a cleaner, spacious unit.”

These are just some of the views expressed by former residents of the last two buildings of the Robert Brooks Extensions as the wrecking ball slowly knocks down pieces of many memories. These residents were moved into the relocation building at 1440 W. 13th St.
Read more »

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Lathrop Homes News

by Bobby Watkins 

Lathrop Homes has a new playground due to the construction of the Damen Avenue Bridge. The Chicago Department of Transportation, along with Walsh Construction, hired Lathrop residents to help with the project.

A dedication ceremony will be happening soon. Look for further details on the Lathrop Homes improvement in the next issue of RJ.

Thanks to Avery Patillo for your help with the Jimmy Thomas Nature Trail. Also, special thanks to all of our young people who have been coming out on Saturday. Keep up the good work!

Congratulations Arlando Adamson, a Robert Taylor Homes resident-owned-business owner, for getting the contract to finish the Jimmy Thomas Trail. Read more »

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Section 8 Update

by Julio Martinez 

The Section 8 waiting list re-opened this past July. Applications were made available at all city public libraries as well as in community agencies.

In the two weeks of July in which the waiting list was open, 104,000 applications were received, of which 20,000 were rejected because they were incomplete or duplicates.

In anticipation of an enormously successful campaign, the plan was to select 25,000 applicants for the waiting list using a lottery.

The CHA was so impressed by the response that they decided to increase the original number of applicants for the waiting list by 10,000 to bring the number from 25,000 to 35,000.

Already 2,000 persons have been called for preliminary interviews from this new list.

The program offers applicants the opportunity to choose a community to live where they believe their family would be in a safer environment, where their children would receive a better education and where parents may find improved job opportunities.

In the past the Section 8 program was poorly managed and encountered many problems. Two years ago, the program was turned over to CHAC, Inc., a nationally recognized housing management firm known for its dependability and professionalism and as a result the program was stabilized.

An added benefit is that landlords are now seeking to become part of the program.

Scattered Sites

The Habitat Company has constructed more than 1,300 new scattered site housing units. These units are intended to blend in with the communities in which they are built.

The units are attractive, spacious, similar in height to surrounding buildings and have wrought iron fences to discourage unwanted visitors.

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Horner Annex Reborn

by Stacy Springfield 

“You are in the way!” Those words angered many residents like myself who live at the Henry Horner Homes Annex. We sat and listened to former Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Chairman Vince Lane boast that the residents of the Annex wouldn’t have a choice of where they would live. He intended for the Horner Annex to become a parking lot for the new United Center just across the street. The Annex is swallowed up in parking lots. I am sure that to the owners of the United Center and the yuppies that generally attend games, our building was an eyesore. But fortunately, Lane is no longer here and the Annex is. The Annex is still standing because of the consent decree resulting from a lawsuit against CHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) being won.

The consent decree gave the Annex residents a choice between revitalization or demolition. The residents were shown scattered site plans and a model of what the apartments could look like if the Annex was rebuilt. Read more »

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Last Harvest

by Alan B. Minerbrook 

Like many of the CHA developments, the Flannery Homes senior development, home of Residents’ Journal, is undergoing a significant redevelopment. The mixed-income development of Orchard Park continues and the construction of a new community center is underway. Writer Alan Minerbrook surveyed his neighbors to determine their opinions of these changes.

The tenant garden of the Flannery Homes was taken down August 15 to make room for a new community center as well as a garden that will feature underground sprinklers and private garden spaces. Several tenants, if the project comes off the way the management has planned, say they will be happy about it. Here are the viewpoints of a few tenants and a clerk of the building at 1507 N. Clybourn.
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Washington Park: The Dying Hope

by Izora Davis 

With redevelopments ongoing in several communities, we thought it would be important to review the history of the four empty Lakefront buildings, which have been waiting for redevelopment for a decade. Using history books and her personal recollections, writer Izora Davis explores the past, present and future of the buildings’ residents.

The history of public housing, as we all have come to know it, has touched each and every one of us in such a way it feels as though we built the buildings ourselves!

I refer to this story as the dying hope because it was a dream for many people to live in subsidized housing. When the buildings were first built, it made the government look as though it really cared about poor people. People felt as if they were a part of a nation that cared. Oh! What a joy. So much happiness thrilled people’s hearts: these were nice houses, not rat infested, and with spacious rooms. But slowly the doom has come. What did we do wrong? Through the years, piece by piece, all that we thought we had was taken away. Even today, when big changes are coming, the hope is dying for residents of Washington Park. Read more »

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A History of Cabrini-Green

by Cecelia A. Clark 

Francis Cabrini Homes was constructed in 1941 and 1942. The first family moved in Aug. 1, 1942. The Cabrini Homes, commonly known today as the row houses, are bounded by Chicago Avenue on the south, Oak Street on the north, Cambridge Avenue on the west and Hudson Avenue to the east.

In 1900, the area where Cabrini-Green is located was crowded with frame and brick tenements and industrial buildings with two or even three buildings on a single lot. The area had a large Italian population and was often called “Little Sicily.” By 1940, the Black population in the area had grown to 20 percent, and by 1950 to 79 percent. There was still a 75 percent white population in the surrounding area. Read more »

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