Dear Resident


A Time for Everything

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up and a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Holy Bible, New International Version
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Stop The Violence


I recently attended the 7th annual Cook County Jail Town Hall Meeting at Operation PUSH headquarters, 930 E. 50 St. The purpose of the meeting was to have police, jail guards and ex-offenders meet face to face to discuss the conditions in the jails and the inhuman treatment inmates often have to endure.

The former inmates spoke of beatings and rapes. The place was packed when I arrived. There were people on the walls, both sides and the back, too. I was given a seat on the aisle about the fifth row back. I found it to be a spot where I could see everything. Read more »

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A Report On Management at Ogden Courts


We were summoned to a meeting on March 19. It was a Home Management Seminar.

When we are relocated it will help us if we have our Certificate of Completion, which we received the same day. The certificate states that we have completed to their satisfaction the Good Neighbor Workshop.

Our attendance was required as a part of us being lease compliant. The speaker was Phillis Davis. She, along with Shirley Hammond and Martha Marshall explained to us how we can be a good neighbors. Phillis asked us, “what would we do if our neighbor was sick and her house were in disarray (dirty)?” Read more »

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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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War with Iraq: A Personal Perspective


There are many children and other family members of public housing tenants nationwide currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some are fighting in the War with Iraq, and others are on active duty maintaining the peace in other countries at home and around the world, while some are being prepared for land, air and sea warfare at various basic training camps nationally.

My two sons, nephew and brother are part of this military effort. I am a 42-year-old single parent of six children – three boys and three girls, ages 24 to 11, who were reared from 1989 to 2002 in the infamous Chicago public housing “projects.” My soon-to-be 21-year-old son Antonio Johns is an Army Specialist by rank and a welder by trade. He is part of the maintenance crew from Fort Riley, KS. He was scheduled to go to Kuwait but since the war ended, that plan is now on hold. Read more »

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We too were affected by the E-2 tragedy. It all played out like a television movie series depicting sounds and scenes of a make-believe story whose end would never be seen. The prelude was a definite, insistent, unknown, ghostly wail that emendated from a mysterious place that had residents wondering just what type of alarm had invaded our peaceful

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Sunday night. It began about 8:30 p.m. and sounded at about every sixty seconds. If you ever heard a fog horn, it was reminiscent of that certain eeriness that comes over you.

We never found out exactly where that ominous warning signal came from, but it put us to sleep only to be awakened by the real deal. What seemed like hundreds of ambulance and police sirens disturbed the sleep in one way or another of the many residents of Ickes Homes. Read more »

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Debating Affordable Housing


On April 9, the Chicago City Council passed Mayor Richard M. Daley’s version of an affordable housing ordinance. Many activists are concerned that the mayor’s ordinance does not go far enough to alleviate the affordable housing crisis in Chicago.

According to Fourth Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, “We think that this is a good beginning and we’re looking for consideration of our [alternative] ordinance which would apply to the private development community and involve the creation of a lot more units.

Our ordinance is still in committee and we are hoping there will be a point at which it is heard, and we will have an opportunity to provide testimony for its support.”
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Lathrop Homes News


On Wednesday, April 9, residents of Lathrop Homes experienced a major power outage which shut down electricity throughout the whole development and shut down most offices. Residents had lights out for days. U.S. Dwellings, the management company for Lathrop, put an emergency plan into effect. Lending a hand were Commonwealth Edison along with CHA representatives from headquarters.

They walked around the development to determine what had caused the problem. Management’s janitorial staff worked late into the night to be of whatever assistance they to could to residents. They were knocking on doors and checking on those known to have oxygen tanks or any illness that might require immediate attention as a result of the blackout. Read more »

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Thomas Sullivan Report Update

by  Assistant Editor

The problems with the city’s ongoing, ambitious plan to transform its public housing are weighing heavily on the city’s so-called “Big Shoulders.” The Chicago Housing Authority is trying to lift some of that burden by implementing some of the recommendations made by Thomas Sullivan, the independent monitor of the transformation process.

Last year, Sullivan, a former U.S. attorney, analyzed Phase II of the CHA Plan for Transformation and presented his results to the CHA and the Central Advisory Council. In a report which hit the Windy City like a tornado, Sullivan found that residents with Housing Choice Vouchers are moving into predominately African American areas that have a high concentration of poverty. Sullivan reported that some residents moved into CHA temporary replacement units in “deplorable” conditions. Sullivan observed the presence of gangs and drug dealers in many of the developments into which people are being moved.
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Making CHA Accessible


Access Living, located at 614 W. Roosevelt Road, is a center for services for people with disabilities.

Their mission is to promote self-esteem, and assist the disabled in their efforts to live an independent life. They have personal assistance programs that help the disabled with their grocery shopping and dressing and bathing. They teach people with disabilities how to ride the CTA buses and trains. They also have programs for people dealing with domestic and sexual abuse. They teach young people with disabilities how to take control of their lives.

Access Living’s staff feel they are leading the charge in the fight for the rights and respect long overdue to people with disabilities. Legislation related to the efforts of Access Living include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
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