CHAC An Update: 2003


Many RJ readers might have heard there is a new program to help people with Housing Choice Vouchers buy their own homes. RJ readers are familiar with what used to be called the Section 8 Program. That program was phased out of existence in October 2000. What were referred to as the Voucher Program and the Certificate Program have now both been merged into the Housing Choice Voucher Program. There has been a bit of re-structuring and overhauling of the rules of eligibility.

It is always good to keep our information current by checking in with a few of the people responsible for running certain programs. In the case of the Housing Choice Voucher program, many of the old rules are still applicable. For example, there continues to be a waiting list for vouchers. One new thing that CHAC offers is a home ownership program.

Recently, I interviewed Kenneth Coles, who since the summer of 1999 has been manager of the Intake Department for CHAC, the private company which runs Chicago’s Housing Choice Voucher program. “The happy story, of course, is, when we came in ’95, the program along with Section 8 had not been run as well as it could have been run. Read more »

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A Section 8 Recipient’s Painful Reality


When I was a kid growing up in the Robert Taylor Housing Projects, my dream was that one day my family would get a Section 8 and we would be able to move into a nice apartment in a much better neighborhood. It was my mom’s dream too, that someday she would be able to move her family out of the projects.

Long after I grew up and moved out on my own, my mother was finally given the chance to realize at least part of this dream.

The demolition of Robert Taylor meant that after 25 years of living in the projects and raising five kids, she would be given a Section 8 voucher to find a better place to live. Read more »

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A Smooth Transition For Section 8?


When a number of Chicago buildings began opting out of the project-based Section 8 program earlier this year, many people worried it would cause another homelessness crisis like that of the ‘80s, when low-income families witnessed friends, neighbors and even relatives wandering the streets without shelter. But tenants, their advocates and government agencies are reporting that everything is going well so far with respect to the change from project-based Section 8 subsidies to enhanced vouchers.

Holidays are fast approaching and, as a veteran activist since the 1960s, I have been stressed out about this new threat and not just because I am personally affected. I am currently living in the Del Prado in Hyde Park, one of the buildings that chose to opt out of the project-based Section 8 program. These buildings were built or rehabbed with government support and, in return, the government demanded that the building owners keep at least a part of the building as low-income housing. Once the building owners pay off their loan from the government, they can decide whether or not they want to stay in the program. The owner of my building chose to get out of the program. Read more »

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The State Of Section 8


Advocates for public and subsidized housing tenants provided residents and activists with new information about HUD and CHA at a conference April 28 in downtown Chicago. The conference was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Holiday Inn located on the corner of Columbus and Ohio streets. This conference in many ways resembled the one held March 16 by the Chicago Rehab Network at the Palmer House Hotel. This conference was far more interactive that the March 16 event; participants attended various workshops.

The workshops were geared towards the distribution of new information. Due to the workshops’ small size, the atmosphere was that of an intense training ground for activists. It was an atmosphere in which everyone appeared excited and eager to get involved. Everyone – whites and Blacks, rich and poor, scholarly and unlearned harmonized. Read more »

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Transforming CHA: Federal Housing Voucher Woes

by  Assistant Editor

Mary Sistruck is a young single mother of 6 who moved out of the Robert Taylor development over 4 years ago and now lives in an apartment at 90th Street and Exchange Avenue with a Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher. Sistruck used to reside in what most of the residents called the “Hole,” a cluster of Chicago Housing Authority buildings in the 5300 block of the State Street corridors that have since been demolished.

Sistruck, who was a resident since the tender age of 16, moved out at age 25. She told RJ she wished she had never moved from Robert Taylor.

“Since I moved out into the private market, it has been one headache after another,” Sistruck said. “It is like riding a mental roller coaster. The constant moving every year has got me going up and down, leave me wondering where will me and my family end up. Read more »

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