CHA Launches Initiative to House Women Ex-Offenders


Ex-offenders rights advocate Willie J.R. Fleming commends CHA Board members during a recent meeting to discuss creating housijg for women ex-offenders. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Women ex-offenders who formally lived in Chicago public housing will get a second chance to get supportive housing under a plan announced this week by the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

At their Aug. 16 public meeting at the Savoy Square Community Center, 4448 S. State St., the CHA Board authorized interim Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ponce to contract with the Viceroy Apartments on the Near West Side to set aside 17 units of subsidized housing for formerly incarcerated women who once lived in public housing.

The Viceroy Apartments is a six-story brick hotel that was constructed in the 1920s and is located at 1519 W. Warren Blvd. Heartland Housing is redeveloping the structure to include historic preservation of the façade and a total rehab of the interior and its 89 studio apartments, according to an Aug. 10 letter from CHA staff to the board that was e-mailed to Residents’ Journal. The letter indicates that 72 units in the building will for homeless women or those at risk of being homeless. The CHA waiting list will be the primary source of referrals for these 72 units. The remaining 17 units will be master-leased to St. Leonard’s Ministries to provide permanent supportive housing to women ex-offenders. The City of Chicago is donating the property, while Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) funds and other sources will be used to complete the rehab. Rent will be set at approximately $685 per month.

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CHA Board Appoints One of Their Own Interim CEO


The Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Friday appointed one of their own as interim CEO of the agency. Carlos Ponce, 61, was selected by the Commissioners at a special board meeting early in the day. Ponce will serve on a temporary basis, said agency spokesperson Matt Aguillar: “The search is ongoing for a permanent CEO.”

Carlos Ponce. Photo courtesy of CHA.

Ponce was added to the CHA Board in 2003 by then-Mayor Richard Daley. He currently runs a management consulting firm called Resonance Management and Technology Solutions. Ponce previously was the chief human resources officer for the Chicago Public Schools, commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of General Services and executive director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association.

Ponce replaces Lewis Jordan, who resigned June 14 after being snared in a media investigation that found he used his CHA credit card to charge meals at Gold Coast restaurants and pay for items such as red light tickets. Jordan also had been under fire from public housing tenants and their allies for attempting to install a policy which would have required drug testing of all residents. After Jordan’s resignation, Board Chairman James Reynolds cancelled the effort to install the drug testing policy.

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