Public Housing residents express concerns about CHA priorities

November 30, 2012

(WBEZ/Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)
Shahshak Levi is a South Side activist and former Robert Taylor Homes resident. He says CHA has failed to listen to tenants’ concerns.

A group of public housing residents demanded the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) include their recommendations in the agency’s plan to decentralize poverty.

The Central Advisory Council (CAC), made up of public housing residents, compiled their concerns in a report presented Friday.

Among the requests by tenants is the expansion of more public housing options and homes to accommodate larger families.

Residents said CHA needs to focus on rehabbing old public housing units instead of demolishing them.

During the presentation, CAC members complained about the lack of say that tenants have when it comes to CHA decisions that affect them directly.

Shahshak Levi is a South Side activist and former Robert Taylor Homes resident. He said CHA has failed to listen to tenants’ concerns.

“We often gave recommendations but they were never accepted and never put in CHA’s documents and in print,” said Levi.

The CHA is revamping its "Plan for Transformation", a huge public housing overhaul that pushed for more mixed-income housing in an effort to break up pockets of poverty.

The organization said that aside from welcoming tenants’ recommendations, it has held feedback sessions since last year.  

“The Chicago Housing Authority welcomes ideas, suggestions and recommendations from the community,” said Wendy Parks, CHA director of communications.

Parks also said that as CHA continues to work on the new Plan for Transformation, the agency would include ideas from CAC and other community stakeholders.