Is CHA Holding Vacant Apartments?


Leah Levinger, coalition coordinator for the Chicago Housing Initiative, talking to reporters about the huge vacancy rate at public housing sites, before the CHA Board meeting at Lathrop Homes on September 20, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Is the Chicago Housing Authority sitting on vacant units that could be going to needy families?

Housing advocates recently took the CHA to task for failing to lease all of its available units. The CHA, however, recently boasted of winning an award from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development for having a 98 percent occupancy rate for its senior, mixed-income and family housing portfolios.

CHA has more than 9,200 apartments in buildings designated for seniors and over 11,400 units in family developments and scattered sites, and also administers 37,000 Housing Choice Vouchers. But the Chicago Housing Initiative, a coalition of seven community-based organizations working to preserve low-income housing, recently told the CHA Board that the agency is manipulating its numbers to make it seem as if more of these units are leased than actually are occupied.
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New Grocery Stores to Open in Food Deserts


First lady Michelle Obama attended a press conference today, where Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that four grocery chains will open 17 new stores in communities the mayor described as “food deserts,” neighborhoods with a shortage of available fresh food.

White House photo of First Lay Michelle Obama.

Supervalu Inc. plans to open a new Sav-A-Lot store by the end of the year in North Lawndale, and is working on new Sav-A-Lot stores in the Grand Boulevard, Austin, Near West Side, West Pullman, Morgan Park, Calumet Heights, West Englewood and Englewood communities, according to a press release from the mayor’s office. Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. plans to build three new Mariano’s Fresh Markets stores in Bronzeville, South Chicago and Forest Glenn; Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is slated to build three new stores on the south and southwest sides; and Aldi’s plans to build a store in Roseland.

Marianos' website photo of fresh fruits and vegatables.

In addition to these stores, Emanuel also announced that one of Chicago’s urban farm networks, Growing Power, has signed an agreement with Walgreens Co. and Aldi’s to produce jobs and economic development at farm sites in the city.

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