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Deadly Moves: Troubling Development

by Mary C. Piemonte and Brian J. Rogal

While Mayor Richard M. Daley is touting his plans to remake Chicago Housing Authority developments into mixed-income neighborhoods, a firm that manages one of his showcase communities is charging that the city is not doing enough to stop open drug dealing on its site.

The city has a lot riding on the Near West Side’s Westhaven Park. A failure to attract market-rate renters and buyers could set a bad precedent for other public housing redevelopment efforts.
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Categories: Investigative Reporting Uncategorized

Publishers’ Introduction: Deadly Moves

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher and Alysia Tate, Publisher of The Chicago Reporter

A plan intended to transform the lives of public housing residents has also transformed the city’s illegal drug market — often with deadly results.

The stories in this issue document that connection. They are the products of a year-long partnership between the Residents’ Journal and The Chicago Reporter, a 32-year-old investigative magazine which keeps leaders and concerned citizens informed about the ways race and poverty shape our region’s key issues.
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Is It “Doomsday” For Public Housing?

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA’s new mixed-income communities could wind up with few–or even no–public housing units, under a “doomsday clause” in federal housing law being inserted into redevelopment plans across the city, according to lawyers for residents.

But, though members of the Central Advisory Council and lawyers for residents alike voice concern, no action is planned in the near future to fight the unit conversion option.

“We’re not crazy about the concept period,” said attorney to the CAC Robert Whitfield after a recent CHA Board of Commissioner’s meeting.
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Clock Ticking for HOPE VI Projects

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Public housing agencies nationwide risk losing their federal funding for redevelopment projects if their projects are not on schedule, according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department recently.

Will the CHA lose their HOPE VI money, too?

HUD Takes Back HOPE VI Funds
In August 2003, HUD took back a $6.4 million Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere (HOPE VI) grant for demolition from the Housing Authority of Portland, Oregon for not meeting the deadline for its public housing redevelopment plans.
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Housing Crisis in Highland Park

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

The surest evidence cialis soft tabs of our national housing crisis can be found under the city’s viaducts, or in the city’s emergency shelters, or in the nooks and crannies of the newly rehabbed Lower Wacker Drive, where the encampments of homeless men and women have become semi-permanent. Evidence of the national housing crisis can even be found, however, in well-off suburbs like Highland Park, an upscale community of luxurious, expansive homes and manicured lawns located on Lake Michigan’s North Shore.

The situation in places like Highland Park, moreover, can help explain why the Chicago Housing Authority seems to be having so much trouble relocating its tenants under the agency’s “Plan for Transformation.” Public housing tenants, low- and middle-income families are all being forced to compete over a shrinking supply of affordable housing. Like a game of musical chairs, those who are not quick enough will end up without a home of their own. Read more »

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ABLA News

by Karen Owens 

Many times when a person thinks of residents of public housing communities, they think of them as down trodden, hopeless and uneducated, people who have no plans, opinions, or ideals as to how they want to live as individuals or families. The stereotypes are that residents are isolated from society.

The ABLA Local Advisory Council (LAC), along with its president, Deverra Beverly, other concerned residents of ABLA and various city agencies are working hard to erase these negative stereotypes. Read more »
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A Savory Survey

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

Susan Popkin and Mary K. Cunningham from the Urban Institute released a study this summer on 190 residents of public housing who were supposed to be relocated. The study’s results should be important for understanding the CHA Transformation Plan.

Public housing in Chicago, like in many other cities, is currently undergoing a lot of redevelopment.

In 1998, nearly 19,000 CHA units failed inspection and were set up for demolition. As a result, the city put forth their “Plan for Transformation.”

The Plan for Transformation calls for demolition of 51 gallery high-rises as well as several thousand mid-rise and low-rise units. As CHA demolishes its units and builds new, mixed-income neighborhoods, there will be a net loss of 14,000 units. Read more »

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