CHA Work Requirement Debated

April 9, 2008

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Legal advocates on behalf of Chicago Housing Authority residents say there is a loophole in a newly proposed work requirement.

This fall, a new 15-hour-a-week work requirement takes effect for public housing residents. Among the many exemptions are if a parent is taking care of child up to a year old.

But lawyers at the Legal Assistance Foundation say the work requirement is a criminal violation. An Illinois statue says single parents of a child under the age of six can't be required to work if the job unreasonably interferes with taking care of that child.

CHA officials say they've known about this law all along. They say it's not an unreasonable burden to ask for a parent to support a family. The housing authority has safety nets for parents in need of childcare.

And if childcare becomes too cumbersome, the parent is exempt from the work requirement. Advocacy lawyers aren't convinced. They are reviewing legal options, including requesting intervention by the state attorney general's office.

I'm Natalie Moore, Chicago Public Radio.