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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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Wipe Out

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The families living in the remaining buildings at Madden Park Homes on the South Side were wiped out of the Tenant Council Election this November. They received no official notice of the change that the Chicago Housing Authority made just prior to the resident elections.

Residents allege that, without the residents’ knowledge, CHA replaced their leadership. Eunice Crosby, the Local Advisory Council president for Madden Park and a resident of the community for the past 12 years, was dumped for Mary Wiggins, the LAC president for Washington Park Scattered Sites and president of the Central Advisory Council, the body of public housing residents to which the city negotiates directly. This unexpected move on the part of the CHA denied the residents – and the LAC president – the opportunity to vote or run in the elections. It also means that the relocated residents of Madden Park have no official, elected representation in returning to their mixed-income community. But Crosby is challenging that notion.
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Positive People

by Crystal Medina Editorial Assistant

Carlos Estes

Carlos Estes was a resident of Ida B. Wells from the time that he was a toddler up until he was 18 years old. He attended Doolittle East and Doolittle West grammar schools and Wendell Philips High School. After high school, he studied at Olive Harvey Community College. He also took courses at the National Institute of Real Estate and the National Center for Housing Management.

Former Ida B. Wells resident Carlos Estes. Photo by Crystal Medina

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Deadly Moves: In Too Deep

by Beauty Turner 

Ulysses “U.S.” Floyd was 14 years old when he decided to run with one of Chicago’s most infamous street gangs. It was 1965. “My mother died when I was 11 years old, and my father was a workaholic. I’d barely ever see him,” Floyd said. “I did it for the camaraderie, friendship, family. And, besides, all of my friends were in a gang already.”

Like Floyd, many men and women who join street gangs at an early age find themselves feeling like small fish swimming in deep, shark-infested waters. Once they take the bait—usually the money, fancy clothes and flashy cars that gang leaders have—they are hooked and stuck for years.
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Positive People

by Crystal Medina Editorial Assistant

Deidre Brewster

You can sense warmth and happiness from former Cabrini-Green resident Deidre Brewster, a wife and mother of three, when you first meet her. This lends her an air of straightforwardness that probably makes it easier her to be such a helpful person in her former community.

Former Cabrini resident Deidre Brewster. Photo by Crystal Medina

Deidre Brewster is a relocated resident of Cabrini Green waiting for more low income housing to be built. She is also an activist. What motivated her to fight for the residents in the first place was that she was concerned that Chicago was turning into a city for the rich.
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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. Read more »

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Positive Residents of the CHA

by Bobby Watkins 

A 28-year resident of Stateway Gardens, Francine is long overdue to get her flowers because she is always there when help is needed. She wears many hats, be it with her job as senior program adviser for the resident initiatives department of the Chicago Housing Authority or as Local Advisory Council president, Tenant Patrol member, her involvement in the summer food program and with various boards (including We The People Media), she is truly your super woman. And so much more because she is a wife and mother as well.

But when does she sleep? One thing can be said of Francine – she is one of those people who likes helping others and truly does it from her heart. Many people meet her for the first time, notice that she is quick to voice her opinion, and say, “Ooh, she is mean.” But after getting to know her, you’ll find out that’s what she has to do to keep you straight on the job. Read more »

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Who Speaks for Public Housing Residents?

by Bobby Watkins 

The Coalition to Protect Public Housing has been around for years. When it was first started in 1996, residents at Lathrop Homes, where I live, and other developments didn’t hear about it that much, except for maybe when there was a particularly interesting monthly meeting at First Congregational Church on Ashland Avenue and Washington Boulevard.

We also heard about the Coalition when it was around the Juneteenth Day rally. For their Juneteenth Day rallies, the Coalition would distribute fliers to the Local Advisory Councils and the management offices. Read more »

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Productive Men of the CHA

by Bobby Watkins 

Robert is the newly elected Local Advisory Council vice president in Lathrop Homes. Robert has been involved in the community for the past 5 years and has been a member of the tenant patrol in the 26th Ward. He also serves as the area president where he lives and is involved with the 19th District Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) as well as the summer food program.

Presently, he is assisting residents who have to move. He feels very strongly about the work he does in the community and hopes to be of service to relocating residents with his own moving business. Davidson feels he is part of the team to make things better in his development and says his cause is to fight to make things better and help to make this relocation go smoothly. Read more »
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CAC Prepares for Battle

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Chicago Housing Authority resident council is preparing for the many challenges that public housing residents under redevelopment will face.

The first thing on the resident council’s agenda will be to get the federal government to recognize resident leadership after relocation. The next thing on their agenda will be to come to an understanding with the aldermen in public housing areas to secure public housing sites for relocatees from CHA property redevelopment.
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