Some CHA Residents Get Relocation Notices

August 28, 2007

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Dozens of residents in a South Side public housing complex were given relocation notices yesterday. The Chicago Housing Authority says they need to move out faster than usual because of safety issues, but critics say it's not ample time. Chicago Public Radio's Natalie Moore has the story.

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Sixty-eight families who live in the Ida B. Wells housing development on King Drive are about to start packing. CHA officials are giving them one month instead of six months to find new housing. Buildings on the site can house 30 to 40 families, but CHA spokesman Bryan Zises says some of the buildings only house three or four families each.

ZISES: With such sparsely populated buildings, it's very difficult to maintain safety and prevent vandalism and theft and other crimes so we feel the issue of safety has come up.

Zises says an old heating system also makes building upkeep difficult.

Tenant advocate Nicki Bazer of the Legal Assistance Foundation says residents told her the units have been in poor condition for a long time and the CHA knew that.

BAZER: If that's the case, then really the concern is why didn't CHA plan a little bit better so that they gave residents the full relocation period and allow them to move.

The CHA says it will provide leases at other public housing sites, or residents can get vouchers to move into the private market. The housing authority is tearing down Ida B. Wells to build housing for a new mixed-income community.

I'm Natalie Moore, Chicago Public Radio.