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Is Chase Bank a Slumlord?

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Residents of an apartment building at 7263 S. Coles Ave., along with their advocates from the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO), rallied outside JP Morgan Chase’s downtown headquarters on July 15 to demand that the bank maintain their homes.

The tenants claimed that Chase, which received $25 billion in federal funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) last year, let their foreclosed building “waste away.” Many of the families said they feared becoming homeless.

For the past two years, they claimed that Chase, who has been responsible for maintaining the property since 2008, hadn’t honored its responsibility, resulting in deterioration of the building to such a degree that the City stepped in and ordered residents to vacate the property.

Crystal Richards, a tenant of the building who has six children ages 14 to several months old, told Residents’ Journal after the rally that she was worried about finding a place to live with her family.

“We’re being evicted Saturday. And as of right now, I don’t have anywhere to go,” she said. Richards said that she had been paying her rent faithfully to the manager of the building, and added that she was rallying with the others at the bank headquarters to get some remedy for her plight.

Richards said she wanted Chase “to get me some funds and place me and my children in a home or apartment somewhere,” she said.

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Homeless Not Hopeless

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How many Chicago public housing residents will be left homeless by the Chicago Housing Authority’s ongoing Plan for Transformation? The answer to this question should be ‘zero.’ The CHA is required by law, after all, to provide replacement housing for all public housing tenants that will be affected by the agency’s 10-year effort to demolish, rehab and redevelop the agency’s entire housing stock.

But CHA officials apparently have a different interpretation of their legal responsibilities, as indicated by the recently released numbers of residents who were relocated during 2002. According to those figures, a significant number of residents ended up outside of the public housing system altogether – despite CHA’s responsibility to house every relocated resident.

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Squatters Worry About Homelessness

by  Assistant Editor

Many residents of public housing are asking the public, what would you do if you had no money, no job and no place to call home? How low would you go? Would you become a squatter?

I’m running into many squatters as I continue to do my research with professor Sudhir Venkatesh from Columbia University, author of American Project.

Take, for instance, a young man who’s squatting in one of the vacant units in a Chicago Housing Authority development, a young man known to the other building residents as “Larry.” I asked him how he got to be a squatter? Read more »

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Homelessness: A Constant American Tragedy

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When it comes to homelessness, the City of Chicago is going the way of Dr. Frankenstein. In the books and movies, Dr. Frankenstein did not foresee the havoc, chaos and destruction wrought by his monster. By making the monster, Frankenstein thought somehow the world would benefit by his creation. He sought to control his creation. But in the end, his monster was uncontrollable.

In the current scenario playing out in this city, the Chicago Housing Authority and the City of Chicago appear to be playing the part of Dr. Frankenstein. The monster is the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. Read more »

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