CHA Family Service Connectors

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Chicago public housing residents in need of a job, child care, GED classes, after-school programs or help with substance abuse problems and domestic violence situations now have a new place to turn. In July, five agencies were chosen as “Service Connectors” to link CHA residents from 27 family developments with city agencies.

The Service Connectors are clustered in six geographic areas throughout the city:

The North Cluster

In August, Employment and Employee Services, the Service Connector for CHA’s North Cluster, began working with residents from Cabrini Green and Lathrop Homes.

Marvin Garth, the North Cluster Manager and a former Cabrini Green resident, said each site will have resident service advocates. Garth said his agency would be working with the Resident Management Corporation at Cabrini Green, the Local Advisory Councils (LACs) and the private management firm for the two CHA developments.

Lee Diffey, vice president of the Service Connector Program for Employment and Employee Services said his agency was initially contracted for 7 months to service the residents.

“We’re contracted from June 1 to December 2001. The maximum contract amount is $465,496.00,” Diffey said. Diffey said as many as 20 residents had already become employed.

The Service Connector on-site offices are located at 911 N. Hudson for Cabrini Green residents and at 200 W. Adams for Lathrop residents.

Madden Park/Wells/Lake Park Place Cluster
The Abraham Lincoln Centre is the lead agency for the Service Connector Interim Program for the Madden Park and Ida B. Wells developments on the South Side.

The agency will provide referral assistance to residents of the two CHA communities in the following areas: lease compliance, education, employment, substance abuse, child care, counseling and domestic violence.

UJIMA, a not-for-profit organization located at 710 E. 38th St., will also provide services to residents. UJIMA is operated by CHA Commissioner, Wells LAC President and We The People Media Board member Sandra Young and Madden Park LAC President Eunice Crosby along with Wells resident Leroy Square

UJIMA was the former pilot Service Connector Program for Madden Park and Ida B. Wells developments.

UJIMA will work, free of charge, in partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Centre with resident outreach and will monitor the centers service performance.

The Lake Park Resident Management Corporation (RMC) will service residents of Lake Park Place.

The Abraham Lincoln Centre’s Service Connector office is located at 631 E. 37th St. The office number is (312) 674-3968.

The West Cluster
Marcy Newberry Association is the Service Connector for the CHA West cluster that will service residents of the Henry Horner, ABLA, Rockwell Gardens, Lawndale Gardens, Ogden Courts, LeClaire Courts, Harrison Courts, Loomis Courts and Maplewood Courts.

Ray Bentley, Marcy Newberry Association’s director of the Service Connector program, said the agency was contracted for $522,000 to service residents from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2001.

The agency began servicing residents on Sept. 1.

Bentley said the agency would do more than case management. He said they would also help residents put a plan together to quickly move them towards permanent housing and achieve full-time, permanent employment.

Of the 23 jobs they will fill, Bentley said each site would have a resident service advocate and a service coordinator. Larger sites like ABLA will have 2 resident service advocates and 2 service coordinators.

Bentley said it would be the service coordinators’ responsibility to make sure that residents have been provided the services needed.

“Their job is to follow up with their families to make sure that they go to their appointments and get registered with the service providers,” he explained. “And then make sure that the service providers provide those services in a timely fashion.

“And if that service provider is not responsive, then it’s our job to make sure that we find a service provider that is,” said Bentley.

Bentley said the private property managers, the LACs and community service providers would help notify residents about the service connector program.

Bentley also said the agency would have to submit weekly reports of their progress to the Chicago Department of Human Services, the city agency overseeing the Service Connector program.

“At this point, the Department of Human Services is expecting to hear from us on a weekly basis. That is the initial design. I think that they are re-looking at that because that may be to frequent, he said.

South and Far South Cluster
The Woodlawn Organization is the Service Connector for the CHA’s South and Far South cluster. TWO will service residents of the Lowden Homes, Trumbull Park Homes, Altgeld Gardens, Bridgeport Homes, Archer Courts, Hilliard Homes, Harold Ickes, Prairie Courts, and the Dearborn Homes.

The Greater Grand Boulevard Cluster
William Moorehead and Associates will be servicing CHA residents of the Greater Grand Boulevard cluster, which are Wentworth Gardens, Stateway Gardens, Robert Taylor Homes A and B, Randolph Towers, and the Washington Park Homes in the Oakland and Kenwood communities.

CHA Section 8 and Scattered Sites
CHA families living in scattered site units and those participating in the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program will have to call a toll-free referral number that will operated by the national organization United Way for linkage to city agencies for social services.

Mattie Hunter, director of the Service Connector Program, said CHA would be working with United Way to reach out to scattered site and Section 8 families.

“What they (United Way) want to do is a mass mailing to all scattered site families making them aware of who they are, where they are and how they can access services.”

Hunter said the 800 number would not be a recorded referral message for city services.

“You have to do an assessment so you can’t have a recording on an assessment,” Hunter said. “United Way will also have a follow up service.”

Director of the Service Connector Program
Mattie Hunter is director of the CHA Service Connector Program.

Hunter, a former resident of Robert Taylor Homes, said she was hired because of her familiarity with CHA and resident issues.

“Since I was a former resident of Taylor, I had a very clear understanding of not only about CHA but what the needs of the residents are. I’m one of the founders of the CHA Alumni Association and I’ve been involved in a number of CHA activities in the past.”

Hunter said she worked for a not-for-profit organization that operated programs about CHA issues and that she also ran several programs at CHA sites, including a shelter for battered women, an outpatient alcohol and drug clinic at Taylor Homes, a homeless shelter in ABLA, and an outpatient alcoholism program in Altgeld Gardens.

Hunter said her responsibility as director is to ensure that CHA residents’ needs are linked up to the appropriate services that will provide program evaluations, identify any kind of training needs and identify any gaps in services that are not being provided to residents.

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One Response to “CHA Family Service Connectors”

  1. lavelma chestnut Says:

    i was a victum of misplacement i use to live in rockwell gardens when it was managed by william moorehead & associate i as i was told by the C.H.A police that the apartment or unit i was living in was not my apartment, was not being leased to me,was not in my name an was verbally threatened an forced to move out i was thinking about getting a lawyer to pursue this matter since then ive been homeless ive never recieved ANY type of help after i was askek to move ouy the apartment i feel as tho i was kicked out unlawfully an just forgotten about if u can help me in any type of way please e mail me thanks

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