CHA Proposes Work for All Residents

October 24, 2007

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The Chicago Housing Authority is looking at a new rule for the adult residents of all its developments. They would have to be employed on a regular basis.

The work requirement is the biggest change in the C-H-A's proposed new lease agreement. Residents between the ages of eighteen and sixty-one would have to be employed at least 20 hours a week. Or risk eviction.

The new lease agreement would expand that system wide. The work rule already applies to public housing residents who live in mixed-income units.

Gloria Williams lives in the Harold Ickes development. She says the policy is not a bad idea.

WILLIAMS: Everybody thinks people should work. But it should be a way that people can work. If there are no jobs, they can't work.

That's just what the advocates at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago worry about. They say a precarious job economy could land tenants evicted or homeless. According to the Chicago Urban League, some majority-black communities in Chicago have up to a thirty-three percent unemployment rate. Under the proposed employment rule, residents may be required to work with counselors to find a work strategy. C-H-A officials say they will give leeway to residents if they have unsuccessfully searched for employment.

I'm Natalie Moore, Chicago Public Radio.

Residents can give their comments at a public meeting tonight. C-H-A officials will take feedback at 6 at the University Center located at 525 S. State Street.