Remembering Ms. Amey


CHA Board Commissioner and tenant Hallie Amey (center) with former Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd Ward, from left), Cook County Commissioner John Daley and former CHA CEO Terry Peterson during a street naming ceremony in her honor on January 23, 2004. Residents' Journal archive photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Longtime public housing advocate Hallie Amey, 89, died Tuesday, July 19, 2011 from a long illness. Amey was first appointed a commissioner to the Chicago Housing Authority on July 7, 1999, by former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

She was reappointed by Daley on July 22, 2009. Amey, who was the president of the CHA Wentworth Gardens Resident Management Corporation, was also the secretary of the tenants’ Local Advisory Council at the South Side public housing development near U.S. Cellular Field.

Amey successfully preserved her public housing complex, first by battling it out with city and White Sox officials in the late 1980s when they announced their proposal to re-build the major league baseball stadium now known as U.S. Cellular Field, and later by convincing CHA officials to rehab rather than demolish Wentworth Gardens under their Plan for Transformation.

Very early in her involvement in the community, Amey was instrumental in obtaining much needed services that were lacking for Wentworth Gardens tenants such as “the development of a community store, a pre-school program and teen and citizens’ council in the Wentworth community,” according to information posted in her bio on the CHA website.

In addition, she was able to obtain the services of the Chicago Park District for programs at the field house in her community. Amey received an honorary bachelor’s degree in social justice from Roosevelt University. Also at Roosevelt, a $25,000 scholarship endowment was instituted in her name.

Amey served as a volunteer board member of the Beatrice Caffrey Youth Services Center, Chicago Area Project and Friends of the Park.

In January 2004, the City of Chicago renamed two blocks of South Wentworth Avenue honorary “Mrs. Hallie Amey Avenue” from West 37th Street to West 39th Street.

More can be found on Amey’s activism to save Wentworth Gardens in a book titled “The Dignity of Resistance: Women Residents’ Activism in Chicago Public Housing,” written by Roberta M. Feldman and Susan Stall.

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