Saluting Men of the CHA

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We always hear the bad more than the good about men in the Chicago Housing Authority. So I have been saluting the good men, as we say, and telling them to keep on with the positive work in the developments.

‘It may seem like no one cares about what you do,’ I tell the men. ‘But to know you’ve tried to help make a change will never be forgotten, even though it seems the more you try and do good, someone always tries to find the bad. Try and think positively and keep on working for change. I know it can be done and your effort does make a difference.’

Now let’s hear about a few of these hard working residents:

Calvin Gatewood
Gatewood has been a resident of the CHA’s Lathrop Homes for the past 10 years. Gatewood grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes and was homeless for several years before coming to Lathrop.

Gatewood has always worked hard to make a difference, even a decade ago when he was a homeless young man living in what was then known as ‘the Huts,’ a number of makeshift shelters located in the area of the Fulton Market. Gatewood, along with Charles Nix and several others, have since become Lathrop residents.

During his time in ‘the Huts,’ Gatewood fought with city officials who wanted the structures torn down. Carmella Vargas, who still is with the City’s Department of Human Services, helped Gatewood find housing in Lathrop after the huts were destroyed.

Ever since that time, Gatewood has devoted himself to helping the cause in Lathrop by serving on the Local Advisory Council and the tenant patrol and as a neighborhood advocate for the city’s Community Alternative Policing Strategy. He was also one of the volunteers with Friends of the Chicago River who helped to put the Jimmy Thomas Nature Trail in Lathrop. Gatewood served as a summer lunch program volunteer and has helped young people in many programs as a bus monitor or wherever he is needed.

Keep up the good work!

John Felter
Another person you should know is John Felter, who has lived in Lathrop Homes for the past 11 years and is always running to help someone. Felter works in the tenant patrol office, where you are most likely to find him when he’s not running an errand for someone who can’t do it for himself. He has worked for the Summer Food program for five years.

Felter serves on the Local Advisory Council as a representative. He served on the Local School Council at Schneider School, even though he is not a parent himself. He’s always trying to help to keep our young people on the right track and telling them to stay away from drugs and gangs and to stay in school. Keep up the good work, John, for we need many more men in our developments to help make a difference.

Rene Maxwell
Longtime CHA resident Rene Maxwell was born in Ida B. Wells Homes and later relocated to Stateway Gardens. He attended Chicago public schools and is a graduate of Parker High School. He later worked for U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel.

Maxwell always has a soft spot in his heart and has wanted to help people. He got involved with and soon became a volunteer and finally an employee with the Coalition to Protect Public Housing. Maxwell has been involved in several music ventures with the CHA Youth Choir and at present has a new CD that he produced. He is featured on this CD with the House of Daniels Choir.

Lately, Maxwell has been very busy in his home development of Cabrini-Green with community leaders. Maxwell also tries to keep residents informed about the transformation of the CHA. Maxwell worked very hard during this last LAC election.

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