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CHA’s Safe Harbor Gets Bigger

by Mary C. Piemonte 

In January and February, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Board approved important changes to its work rules for tenants and to the Plan for Transformation.

The Work Requirement Policy Changes
At a special CHA Board meeting at the agency’s downtown headquarters on Jan. 14, directors approved changes to the work requirement policy for its residents. CHA clarified which residents can take advantage of ‘Safe Harbor,’ the policy which allows residents under certain circumstances to be exempt from the rules which state they have work or be in an educational program. First, CHA decided that a person does not have to meet the work rules if they are caring for “a victim of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking.” CHA also lengthened the amount of time that volunteer or community service hours can count towards 50 percent of the requirement for hours they must work or be in an educational program. In the past, these volunteer activities could count for two years. Now they count for three years. The CHA also removed the work requirement for “the primary caretaker of a child(ren) under age 13 in households with two or more adults; One adult working exempts one other adult from work to care for a child(ren) under age 13.”
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