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Harold Ickes News

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Round up at Harold Ickes Homes

Picture this: men and women in black from the gas mask helmets on their head to the heavy boots on their feet, carry artillery rifles and walk two by two through the Harold Ickes Homes. Some train their eyes on upper floors in the buildings, ready to fire. A special helicopter clatters above the scene to ensure no brave runners escape.

This was what the “round up” that took place at Ickes in October 2006 was like. If you never have been in a round up, you have missed a close-up chance to witness real warfare tactics.

These youths of the CHA Harold Ickes public housing development, pose with their National Teachers Academy teacher after their eight-grade graduation Ribbon Pinning Day in May 2007. Photo by Jacqueline Thompson

Over the past three years, families forced from Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens have moved to Ickes, but so have the poorest, the sickest, the homeless and the most downtrodden victims of illegal drug use and trafficking. As the two, now extinct developments mentioned above were torn down, illegal drug traffic grew at Ickes.

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Jackson Visits Ickes

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Earlier this year, Carl Jordan was visiting his mother, Betty Jordan, a senior citizen who lives in the Harold Ickes Homes. Carl Jordan had moved out of Ickes but often returned to see friends and family. As he left his mother’s apartment, Jordan said the police approached him on the floor where she lived, threw him against the wall and went into his pocket, taking his keys. The police then took Jordan back to his mother’s apartment, opened her door with the keys they had just taken from him and barged in, flashing lights, talking loudly and scaring his mother.

The incident was recorded on a questionnaire issued by Ickes residents Aaron Boyd and was one of the incidents that inspired Rev. Jesse Jackson and others to visit Ickes in early October to spotlight reckless police activity taking place at the development.

From left: 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell; Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. TK; and Tamara Holder outside of Ickes. Photo by Jacqueline Thompson

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Ickes and Other CHA News

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Once again, the residents of Harold Ickes Homes have been rewarded with a new manager. Her name is Renell Caint. Once again, we are faced with a new person not familiar with the residents, a person unknown to the residents. The reasons for the successive changes have never been fully revealed.

However, some things remain constant. Late rent statements that sometimes carry new charges or incorrect charges that take months to unravel. But the latest blow touches every lease holder occupying an apartment within CHA properties. I learned of a new $20 “Surprise and Demand Blanket” when I overheard one resident talking to another.
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CHA Development News

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Harold Ickes News

Harold Ickes is an eternally active mosaic of changing conditions. For the past nine months, we longtime residents have shared stairwells, hallways, by-ways and parking (already scarce) with strangers who look at you with surprise as they continue to claim their place in what you thought was your space.

Where the rent paying residents have no say so as to who frequents the common areas, neither do they have the authority to stop the heavy human traffic in the stairwells where our small children and seniors have to go up and down. The elevators in some buildings stop on a floor, the doors opens a peak, slams shut and the elevator continues on its way, leaving one to get off above or below their floor with or without heavy bags or other packages. Where is management?
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Harold Ickes News

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Building Improvements Uneven
Harold Ickes Homes can now boast that one building has the honor of having seven floors with brand new blue tiles in the hallway of each level. It is truly lovely to see. I wonder when our nine story building will be on the receiving end.

Yes, in our building we have iron pipe hand railings, new push plates on the front and back doors, but the doors are beat up and falling apart, so the new plates are not even adhering to them. One side of our double front door fell off of its hinges somehow overnight.

At least the glass blocks that grace the front of the building have been replaced, thank you. So some upkeep work has been done.
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Harold Ickes News

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The Gospel Comes to Ickes

July 10, 2004 was not the first time Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church brought a true gospel program to the residents of Harold Ickes. In the all purpose social arena, we were treated to uplifting, soul stirring singers and gospel happy dancers.

Bishop Larry Trotter (second from right) pictured here with Ickes residents (from left) Rueben Howard, Shamarka Clark, Krystal Rice, Anthony Clinton, Kwanay Evans and Quentin Savado. Photo by Jacqueline Thompson

The program was planned to remind weary souls of the power of the spiritual side of life, the joy of seeking a new way of life and the proof of happiness found as confessed by members of the visiting congregation.
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Election Report: Harold Ickes Homes

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The day opened to a dreary sky, which probably was the cause for the slow early morning attendance at the local polling place for the 2004 Local Advisory Council elections at the Harold Ickes Homes. After opening on time at 9 AM, by 9:45 there were only 9 voters’ ballots registered.

This year’s election was carried out by a new organization, the Black United Fund Institute and the Institute for Government Research. The judges were workers hired from the 71st and Jeffery office and their supervisor, Rexford King, was knowledgeable and welcoming to the residents, which made all transactions go smoothly and quickly. The security company was Houston Associates, and their guard, Officer Shabazz, was considerate to the residents, reflecting a calm demeanor that is so important for the conduct of the election.
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Archer Courts: A Model Rehab

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For hundreds of CHA residents who have been promised better living conditions as a result of onsite renovations, there have been reoccurring disappointments. Time goes by and not much upgrading has taken place in Ickes, Dearborn Homes, the Ida B. Wells extension and many other developments.

On the other hand, Archer Courts, located at Cermak Road and Archer Avenue, has been renovated from A to Z and presents a stunning picture of just what can be done to change poor housing conditions into tip-top, safe, comfortable dwellings. My initial visit had me in awe from the moment I arrived on the grounds.
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Harold Ickes News

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Ickes Rumor Mill

Rumors are common throughout the Harold Ickes Development.

With all the buildings that once were the giants of State Street gone so quickly and completely, it’s no wonder residents of Harold Ickes and Dearborn are feeling insecure, panicky and left out of the loop of knowledge as to when the wrecking balls and other monster razing equipment will roll up on Ickes and the Dearborn Homes.

This is how I suspect the tear-down monster rumor sounds when it rears its ugly head: “Yeah! They’re going to tear down 2222, 2240 and 2250 because the new school can’t be seen from State Street.”
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Harold Ickes News

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There’s one thing for sure you can always count on in Harold Ickes Homes. Common conveniences such as a public laundry room, an elevator that works and work orders being filled in a timely manner are things you will never get.

For years, our Local Advisory Council President, Gloria Williams, has been urging each management group that replaces the last one to simply supply the residents with clean, safe, essential laundry facilities.

To this date, we have no such facility, which causes residents to own and operate their own personal washers that, while in use, spinning away dirty water, flood other residents’ apartments, hallways and stairwells.
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