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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8,000 To Get Jobs Help


Eight thousand adults involved in the new federal welfare program will participate in a new state program that will help people find and keep jobs.


On Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1997, a press conference was held at the Illinois Department of Human Services, 2100 S. Michigan Ave., at which Gov. Jim Edgar announced a $32 million job preparation and training program.


The state will target 12 inner city areas that are in the greatest need of job education, training and placement services. The governor said that it made good sense to see that people have the proper skills in order to perform well on the job. He added that people couldn’t be moved from welfare to work without these kinds of investments.


The Illinois Job Advantage’s objective is to help what state officials call “difficult to help” welfare recipients get ready to work, get a job and stay on the job. $8.4 million of the $32 million will reach 8,000 adult Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) clients.

According to TANF federal guidelines, it is required that states have at least 30 percent of TANF clients working or involved in work-related activities by October 1997.


There are only 12 communities that will be the focus of this initiative: Ashland, Auburn Park, Cabrini-Green, Englewood, Kenwood, Michigan, Oakland, Park Manor, Pershing, Roseland, Western and Woodlawn.


The Department of Human Services will select and administer the $8.4 million in grants to community agencies to provide job preparation and training.

Also, the selected agencies will be responsible for many things including support services, mentoring and addiction services as well as connection to child care. The agencies will be paid on the basis of their success in placing clients into jobs.

“We want to continue to help people,” said Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Howard A. Peters III. “We think this $8.4 million will be money well spent.”

The community agencies will be selected and funded by the end of October and the remaining $24 million will be distributed statewide and to other Chicago neighborhoods by DHS.

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