Ickes’ Homes New Managers

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The Woodlawn Organization (TWO), the new managers of the Harold Ickes Homes, is struggling to do a good job of managing the regular management-resident connections. Take, for instance, the monthly rent statements. I have regularly received mine five to ten days past the first of the month. I wait and hold on to my money order but it doesn’t come. I pay my rent and get a receipt without the rent statement to attach to my money order. I think, “Oh well. Maybe next month.”

In March, I got a statement with two months unpaid rent showing. Well, I know I paid February’s rent but I got nervous because if they made such a glaring mistake, how safe are your funds? By April 11, 2002 no rent statement yet. However, when I paid on the sixth of the month, TWO issued me a 14-day notice. Why? I wasn’t behind in paying rent. “Don’t worry,” the clerk said. “You’ve paid your rent. “It’s in your lease that after five days, without paying, you’re due a 14 day notice.”
Service Connectors
The Service Connector program gave the residents some shaky moments last month when they were informing residents that every lease holder and adult living in Ickes would have to register with them, giving them all their personal information, including social security numbers.

Well, it just didn’t figure. If I did not need to be connected to a service through their office, why should I have to release all of my vital information to them?

I called the Department of Human Services and spoke to Mattie Hunter, director of the Service Connector program. She assured me that “every resident doesn’t have to give of their personal information automatically. Only those persons who go to the office to ask for assistance to be connected to a specific service.”

I was relieved and eager to inform the residents of this fact. Despite the initial misgivings, the Service Connector program is designed to respect a community of nearly forgotten people by bringing to them a permanent office. The Service Connector program also sponsored a day of fulfillment by bringing representatives from some of the city’s major service providers together in a welcoming concert and open house.

Harold Ickes Homes’ Henry Booth House Community Center, also a service providing agency headed by Bill Goss, graciously opened its doors to accommodate the first “integration activity.”

Angela Bailey of TWO met and greeted the residents as they explored the opportunities on hand. This reporter was pleasantly surprised at the variety of public services present that are commonly known to other communities and residents.

I spoke to Bob Taylor of “Affordable Access,” a financial management company.

    RJ: Tell me about Affordable Access. What do you tell a person?
    BT: I tell them about how not to make mistakes with (spending) their money.
    RJ: Suppose people don’t get a lot of money. What then?
    BT: We show you how to get whatever you make and make it work for you.
    RJ: In what ways?
    BT: We show you how not to let the government take too much from your check and how not to buy too much insurance.
    RJ: What if they already have an insurance agent and too much insurance?
    BT: I can point out that an insurance agent is not necessarily interested in money management.
    RJ: Is there any more you do to educate individuals?
    BT: I sit down with the people and talk about money, time, value&how to get your money to work for you.
    RJ: In what ways?
    BT: How not to spend money when they don’t want to, need to, or can’t afford to.

Taylor said his service may be the key to dispelling many financial woes and planning for the future of the whole family.

Other service providers were just as eager to welcome the residents and to assure them of the integrity of their services.

LaRabida Children’s Hospital passed out vital information about children’s asthma, a sometimes fatal disease. Staff members spoke at length with concerned parents and invited them to seek the assistance of the hospital’s medical staff and to visit the lakefront facility.

The newly developed South Side YMCA brought information on programming opportunities for all ages. Summer day camping for children, introduction to computer lessons for seniors, swimming and exercise for all adults. All these offerings are family oriented and can be utilized for nominal fees. Besides theses good qualities, the site of the South Side YMCA, is localized and easy to get to.

The University of Chicago joined the bandwagon with their Pediatric Immunization Program (PIP). They offered information and invited to enroll small children.

A company call Strive presented an invitation to young fathers who did not live with their children to join a program called Successful Fathers.

The description of the four-week job readiness workshop could encourage many young men who are floundering outside of their families to seek a way to turn their lives around and make a difference in the lives of their children. I spoke to Shawn Slatton at one Strive location, 4910 S. King Drive. She was able to report a successful track record with 70 percent of clients who have gone through the steps to improve their life styles successfully per month. The parenting classes and support groups for fathers to talk about what it takes to be a responsible parent could be a real breakthrough for one of our community’s now serious social issues.

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