Transforming CHA: Flannery Homes Residents Keep Waiting

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On Oct. 30, 1998, dozens of residents in a Flannery Homes high-rise lost all their belongings in a raging fire.

The operator of a mechanical shovel digging a trench for some market-rate town homes being built around the high-rise was not aware the gas line that supplied this building, belonging to the Chicago Housing Authority, was located on the same path where he was digging.

Now, after three years, residents still have not been able to recover their losses. To find out what was happening, I interviewed Timothy Fox, who is the Claims Manager with the Chicago Housing Authority. Fox tells me that he will soon receive a very large payment from the insurance companies for this building. But that money will be for the building, which was insured for several million dollars. Fox said the residents who suffered losses will have to go through their own suits and their own attorneys.

The residents are quite worried because, after so long, they still have not been able to recover their losses nor has anyone helped them to recover their losses.

This building, located at 1507 N. Clybourn Ave., suffered quite extensive damage when the gas line was accidentally punctured. The column of fire was more than 200 feet above the building. Residents are desperate to learn when they will recover their losses because they have already been waiting for three years. Who can give them any information? I don’t know. The best that they can do is to talk with their own attorneys to get a professional answer.

I also had the chance to visit CHA’s Inspector General, Leonard Odum, who always receives me with a smile and in a very professional manner. It is a pleasure to visit this gentleman. But he wasn’t able to give me any answers either.

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