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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CHA Home Ownership: Wentworth Gardens


Just a few blocks south of Wentworth Gardens, located near Comiskey Park, is the Wentworth Gardens Annex. The annex is a 98 unit scattered-site development located at 43rd Street and Princeton Avenue. The units are being sold under the CHA’s home ownership program.

Built in 1969, the Wentworth Gardens Annex was originally built with the idea that the units could later be sold to residents. The houses consist of two three- and four-bedroom bungalows, duplexes and row houses. There are currently 26 homeowners. Two of the sales were completed this summer. Twenty-four of the units were previously sold to residents as early as 1987.

CHA’s Division of Development Initiatives, Homeownership Department, is working closely with residents to achieve the reality of being a homeowner, according to project manager Cecil Lawrence. Once a resident becomes interested in the process, he or she will find that CHA has a wide range of supportive services to assist them.

The residents participate in mandatory homebuyer counseling. The process starts with a pre-application. Among the things that must be taken into consideration are the homeowner’s ability to pay utilities (gas, lights, water) and maintenance of the property. Some people need money for a down payment and/or closing costs. Some applicants are advised that they should save some money for a while or do various other things to get prepared.

No individual starts the program until their report comes back saying that they are prepared to enter the homeownership program. There are currently four to five people participating in the counseling process and two applicants are in the process of obtaining a mortgage. The demonstration model of the annex, which is located on 42nd Place, is a three bedroom brick, fully carpeted duplex unit. The house has central air-conditioning, ceiling fan (kitchen), ceramic floor tiles and new furnace with built in humidifier.The houses will be sold thorugh 20 or 30 year mortgages. First priority is given to the Annex residents, other public housing residents and subsidized housing residents. The average cost of a three bedroom unit is about $32,500.

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