WBEZ | CHA http://www.wbez.org/tags/cha Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en New report reveals pervasive discrimination in housing voucher program http://www.wbez.org/news/new-report-reveals-pervasive-discrimination-housing-voucher-program-109946 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/housing-voucher_140331_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Lawyers&rsquo; Committee for Civil Rights Under Law spent two years investigating discrimination in the subsidized housing market and found rampant racial discrimination.</p><p>Subsidized housing vouchers, commonly referred to as Section 8, allow families to rent in the private market. <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcafha.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F02%2FCLCCRUL-CHA-testing-report.pdf&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNF013SD2bWvufFKrTbwg1pmiD90Kg">A new report outlines the discrimination</a>.</p><p>To assess fair housing practices, trained investigators posing as potential tenants inquire about availability, terms and conditions to assess compliance. White and black testers, with comparable backgrounds, tried to rent from landlords.</p><p>Landlords already participating in the voucher program discriminated against tenants based on race 33 percent of the time, most commonly by steering them to other buildings or neighborhoods. This also happened based on disabilities 44 percent of the time and against families with children 25 percent of the time.</p><p>Landlords in opportunity areas - places with low poverty - who were not participating in the Chicago Housing Authority&rsquo;s voucher program discriminated against white testers with vouchers 55 percent of the time. In 39 percent of the tests, landlords directly refused to rent to them. And a little more than half of the landlords who told white testers that they accepted vouchers discriminated against African American testers who said they had vouchers. Opportunity areas are an important tool to break up segregation in the housing market; voucher holders tend to be clustered in low-income, segregated black communities.</p><p>&ldquo;Race is still a pressing concern within the city of Chicago and within our region. Even though this happened specifically within Chicago, it&rsquo;s probably not a surprise to any of us that it&rsquo;s probably the reality going even beyond that scope,&rdquo; said Morgan Davis, executive director of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance.</p><p>The study was conducted for the CHA. In a statement, the agency said it takes allegations of fair housing violations very seriously and &ldquo;educates owners, property managers and participants to ensure that federal, state and local fair housing laws are adhered upon. CHA also assists the Chicago Commission on Human Relations in its investigations of potential housing discrimination cases and/or fair housing violations.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a><u>&nbsp;</u>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 07:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-report-reveals-pervasive-discrimination-housing-voucher-program-109946 Cabrini-Green ready for final phase of redevelopment http://www.wbez.org/sections/work/cabrini-green-ready-final-phase-redevelopment-109609 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CHA.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Housing Authority is speeding up construction of the final 65 acres at Cabrini-Green still open for redevelopment.</p><p>Cabrini-Green started its transformation from public to mixed-income housing in 1994 when the federal government awarded a <a href="http://tellingourstory.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/CONSENT-DECREE.pdf" target="_blank">$50 million HOPE VI Grant </a>to facilitate redevelopment of the Cabrini Extension North site. Over the years high- and mid-rise apartments fell to demolition. Two decades later, the once-poor Near North Side neighborhood now teems with luxury condos and new businesses like Starbucks.</p><p>Next week, CHA officials will hold open houses for developers who will learn what parameters the agency has designed for construction of new housing and retail. The land boundaries are North Avenue to Chicago Avenue and Halsted to Orleans.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gathered this approach so that we could be able to work with multiple developers at one time and to have multiple parcels delivered in an expedient fashion,&rdquo; said Sharnette Brown, development manager for CHA.</p><p>Brown said this will give CHA more control of redevelopment.</p><p>Cabrini&rsquo;s revamping was a prelude to CHA&rsquo;s 1999 Plan for Transformation, the $1.6 billion blueprint to build or rehab 25,000 public housing units with mixed-income housing as the centerpiece. That formula is one-third market rate, one-third affordable and one-third public. The plan &ndash; scheduled for 2015 completion &ndash; has run into economic and housing slump roadblocks.</p><p>Last spring CHA unveiled <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cha-reveals-next-phase-massive-public-housing-redevelopment-106757" target="_blank">Plan Forward </a>as a way to wrap up the final stretch. Former CHA CEO Charles Woodyard <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/former-cha-ceo-woodyard-resigned-amid-sexual-harassment-allegations-109182" target="_blank">resigned last fall amid sexual harassment allegations</a>, but also because City Hall became disenchanted with the slow pace of progress.</p><p>The goal is for Cabrini construction to start by 2015 on the mostly vacant 65 acres. The Cabrini rowhouses will remain but not be 100 percent public housing &ndash; much to the chagrin of many residents. Of the 583 units, 146 have been redeveloped into public housing and will stay that way. The others are empty. Originally, CHA had planned to keep the row houses all public housing.</p><p>&ldquo;We felt that in order for Plan Forward to work, in order to have a very vibrant community and what works for the residents to move toward self sufficiency, it was important to do mixed income. Not to leave that area to be the only secluded area that remained 100 percent public housing,&rdquo; Brown said.</p><p>Carol Steele is an activist who lives in the row houses, which she said have more bedrooms and can better accommodate families.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re adamant that the row houses be rehabbed to 100 percent public housing like it was supposed to be,&rdquo; Steele said.</p><p>Steele said residents are less concerned about amenities and retail because they have now come to the community, including a recent Target. But they still want more public housing and the opportunity for displaced low-income Cabrini residents to return to the now-flourishing community.</p><p>&ldquo;We have an abundance of stores. We want what was promised,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author" target="_blank">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>.</em><em>&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me" target="_blank">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 17:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/work/cabrini-green-ready-final-phase-redevelopment-109609 Public housing or downtown luxury: How home shapes Chicagoans' lives, Part 1 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/public-housing-or-downtown-luxury-how-home-shapes-chicagoans-lives-part-1-107684 <p><p>Chicago is no doubt a city of stark economic differences, a fact that prompted Heather Radke to ask this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What&#39;s it like to live in public housing versus the fanciest apartment downtown?</em></p><p>&quot;The real impetus behind this question is actually about disparity &mdash; income disparity and housing disparity in the city,&quot; Heather said. &ldquo;I was thinking about what sort of questions might bring out an answer that would reveal the real big differences between how poor folks live in the city and how many, many wealthy folks live in the city.&quot;</p><p>But to hear more about what separates &mdash; and possibly connects &mdash; life on either side of Chicago&rsquo;s social divide, we needed a game plan. We quickly settled on the first ground rule: The reporting needed to be specific. So, just as there&rsquo;s no prototypical public housing experience, nor a prototypical &ldquo;fancy housing&rdquo; experience, we are profiling two Chicagoans who live on either side of the spectrum.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR WEB portrait.jpg" style="float: right; height: 167px; width: 250px;" title="Crystal Palmer in her home, a $373-per-month, two-bedroom apartment in the Westhaven Annex. She says she wants the same thing in her life that anyone else wants. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />We&rsquo;ll look at not only about how and why they ended up living where they live, but also how their homes define their lives. I&rsquo;ll also ask them everything from how they do laundry to what they eat for dinner. And I&rsquo;ll bring in relevant demographic data about their neighborhoods and the people they encounter daily. And, most importantly, I&rsquo;ll ask both people to comment on each other&rsquo;s insights and perspectives.</p><p>As we continue our search for someone interested in sharing their experience living in what would qualify as a &ldquo;fancy apartment downtown&rdquo;&nbsp;(see the <a href="#Note">editor&rsquo;s note</a> below), we bring you what we&rsquo;ve learned from a woman who can tell the public housing side of our story.</p><p><strong>&lsquo;I do all my good stuff in my house&rsquo;</strong><br /><br />Crystal Palmer lived in the area where the United Center is now for much of her life. From 1968 to 1994, she lived in the Henry Horner Homes, a Chicago Housing Authority public housing project that was composed of high-rise buildings along with a sprinkling of low-rise buildings.<br /><br />She returned to public housing in the neighborhood a few years later, as the CHA redeveloped the old Henry Horner homes. Today, Palmer lives in a $373-per-month, two-bedroom apartment in the Westhaven Annex, which sits on a plot of land seemingly carved out of the main parking lot of the United Center.<br /><br />Listening to Palmer talk with her in-unit dryer spinning in the background, it became clear that she&rsquo;s proud of the home she&rsquo;s made for herself.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20united%20center.jpg" style="float: left; height: 214px; width: 320px;" title="Crystal's apartment complex sits right in the backyard of the United Center. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />&ldquo;In my house where it&rsquo;s quiet and peaceful, this is where I eat and I enjoy and I sleep. I do all my good stuff in my house. I do all my business outside,&rdquo; Palmer said. &ldquo;Once I&rsquo;ve done all that business, meeting after meeting and place after place, I want to get home, get me a good meal, get me a shower, maybe do some work and go to bed and get up and start it all over again.&rdquo;<br /><br />Palmer knows there are differences between her living experience and others&rsquo;, whether they live next door, in other CHA housing across the city or even in the Loop&rsquo;s Trump Tower.</p><p>But these differences are in the details &mdash; the view from the bedroom window, traffic during Blackhawks games or the distance she has to travel to the grocery store.</p><p>On the whole, Palmer says, she wants the same thing in her life that anyone else wants.</p><p>&quot;I live in public housing and those who live in a condo, they live the same exact way,&rdquo; Palmer said. &ldquo;There&#39;s no difference in the way that they live and I live. People tend to think that we live different than others.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Location, location, location</strong></p><p>The location of her home is ideal for Palmer. But Palmer has a car just like many &mdash; but not most &mdash; of her neighbors. That makes it easier for her to go to the grocery store or get downtown for work as CHA&rsquo;s liaison with the Central Advisory Council, the voice for public housing residents around the city.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m close to downtown,&rdquo; Palmer said. &ldquo;I can actually reach out and touch downtown from here.&rdquo;<br /><br />Palmer knows that&rsquo;s not true of residents of the city&rsquo;s other public housing developments, which can be isolated not only from downtown, but from fundamental services like grocery stores and public transportation.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20inside%20apartment.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Tanveer Ali, right, interviews Crystal Palmer inside her apartment. Palmer said her home is “where it’s quiet and peaceful, this is where I eat and I enjoy and I sleep.” (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />&quot;We have a food desert here. We have grocery stores, but we need to catch a bus to get to them,&quot; Palmer said.<br /><br />For Palmer&rsquo;s neighbors who don&rsquo;t have easy access to cars, the location to the CTA&rsquo;s #20 Madison and #50 Damen bus routes helps reach grocery stores like Jewel-Osco, Mariano&rsquo;s or Dominick&rsquo;s. A Pete&rsquo;s Fresh Market being built on Madison Street and Western Avenue will be a 20-minute walk away.<br /><br />Women helm 85 percent of those households, in the Horner/Westhaven Park CHA site Palmer lives at, according to CHA data. CHA says slightly less than two-thirds of all adults less than 54 years old and non-disabled heads of household are employed.<br /><br /><strong>The neighbors</strong></p><p>The median yearly income of households in the area hovers slightly over $12,100, which is on par with CHA housing as a whole.<br /><br />For comparison, the median household in the census tract that includes Trump Tower is about $89,350, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.<br /><br />Palmer says figures about income disparities don&rsquo;t tell the whole story about her, or her community of public housing residents.<br /><br />&ldquo;A large percentage of us are employed and want something better and take care of our homes, take care of our units take care of our families and don&#39;t get into any trouble,&rdquo; Palmer said.<br /><br />There is crime in the surrounding area, Palmer acknowledges, but outside of noticing a few drugs deals outside her bedroom window, it hasn&rsquo;t affected her life much since she moved into her current place.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20courtyard%20view.jpg" style="float: left; height: 213px; width: 320px;" title="Tanveer Ali, left, and Crystal Palmer stand in her complex's courtyard. She says she could never live in the taller building, as she prefers her courtyard apartment. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />&ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t used to that and they would be making noise out there all night and they even also would be selling drugs out there,&rdquo; Palmer said. &ldquo;I was like &lsquo;Whoa, you guys need to move away from there.&rsquo; &hellip; It&rsquo;s all about a relationship.&rdquo;<br /><br />But that stays outside of the apartment complex, a set of three-story rowhouses and a seven-story apartment building that surrounds a well-manicured courtyard.<br /><br />The only way in is by passing the security desk, helmed by guards handpicked and well-known to the residents.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve left my doors open many, many times. It&rsquo;s just safe,&rdquo; Palmer added.<br /><br />But Palmer&rsquo;s days in CHA housing are hopefully numbered. Her apartment has been lined with packed boxes for the past several months as she awaits closing on a house nearby that she got for a &ldquo;very good deal.&rdquo;<br /><br />That move, she said, will hopefully come at the end of the month.<br /><br />&ldquo;For you to go from subsidies to your own, it&rsquo;s a big thing. It&rsquo;s a real big thing,&rdquo; Palmer said.<br /><br /><em>Tanveer Ali is a freelance producer who has worked for organizations that include WBEZ, the Chicago News Cooperative and DNAinfo.com. Follow him @tanveerali.</em></p><p><em><a name="Note"></a>To best answer Heather Radke&rsquo;s question about life on either side of Chicago&rsquo;s social divide, we need to hear from people of means who live in downtown Chicago. If you would like to know more or have leads for us to consider, please contact Shawn Allee, Curious City&rsquo;s editor, at 312-948-4723 or write him at sallee@wbez.org.</em></p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/public-housing-or-downtown-luxury-how-home-shapes-chicagoans-lives-part-1-107684 Lawyers continue fight against CHA drug testing http://www.wbez.org/news/lawyers-continue-fight-against-cha-drug-testing-106037 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82828544" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/untitled-1.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; height: 155px; width: 275px;" title="Mortisha Bloodsaw is a public housing resident living in a mixed-income developments. She's passed all of her drug tests but is against the policy. (WBEZ/Natalie Moore)" />The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is targeting the drug testing of renters who live in Chicago Housing Authority mixed-income apartments. The approach &mdash; a challenge to the practice&rsquo;s constitutionality &mdash; is meant to end a practice that&rsquo;s been justified as reasonable, given that many of CHA&rsquo;s mixed-income developments are on the footprint of notorious, crime-ridden public housing known for open-air drug markets.</div></div><p>&ldquo;Drug testing without suspicion is an invasion of personal privacy. The government is taking a part of our body and they are examining it and trying to find evidence to use against us,&rdquo; said ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz. &ldquo;We think the government should not force people to take drug tests unless there&rsquo;s some kind of individualized suspicion that they&rsquo;re creating a drug crime.&rdquo;</p><p>A couple of years ago the ACLU asked how many CHA residents had tested positive for drugs. Attorneys found that out of 1,500 public housing residents who live in mixed-income public housing, 51 tested positive over a period of several years.</p><p>Two years ago then-CHA board chair James Reynolds quashed a drug-testing plan for all public housing residents. At mixed-income properties affordable and market-rate renters are subject to drug testing, along with their public housing neighbors. People who buy CHA homes are not covered.</p><p>To the ACLU&rsquo;s detractors, Schwartz offers a parallel about privilege, housing and policy.</p><p>&ldquo;Middle-class Americans across the country get a benefit from the U.S. government worth thousands of dollars in the form of their mortgage deduction and they don&rsquo;t have to take a drug test,&rdquo; Schwartz said.</p><p>Earlier this year, a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled that CHA could not evict a woman whose daughter didn&rsquo;t take a drug test. But the issue was a lease dispute. ACLU filed a brief in the case in which lawyers broached the subject of the constitutionality of suspicion-less drug screening.</p><p>Without giving a timetable, Schwartz said &ldquo;we are working against this policy in every way we can. Litigation is always a possibility.&rdquo;</p><p>Some CHA tenants themselves have balked at drug testing and have taken on the policy.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody knows the only reason at least in my opinion that you have drug testing in mixed finance is because of public housing residents. The only reason. They say it applies to everybody and that&rsquo;s in question after some of the testimony at Oakwood Shores. So we shall see,&rdquo; said Bob Whitfield, attorney for the CHA tenants group.</p><p>Whitfield represented Mortisha Bloodsaw, whose four-bedroom apartment near 39th Street is part of the Oakwood Shores development. A Cook County judge wouldn&rsquo;t let CHA evict the public housing resident. Bloodsaw had wanted her daughter off of her lease but CHA insisted that the daughter still had to take a drug test.</p><p>&ldquo;We should be able to live comfortably. And we not. We not. We not,&rdquo; Bloodshaw said. &ldquo;I do my drug test every time they ask me. They get the results, you&rsquo;re fine. But I just feel they violating your personal and private rights.&rdquo;</p><p>Bloodsaw said even though she&rsquo;s always passed the drug tests herself, she wants the policy gone.</p><p>CHA officials acknowledge the ACLU&rsquo;s attempts to strike down the constitutionality of drug testing. As far as Bloodsaw&rsquo;s case goes, because of the judge&rsquo;s ruling, CHA says there&rsquo;s no need to intervene.</p><p>In the past, CHA has said all families must abide by the rules of mixed income. Including drug testing.</p></p> Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawyers-continue-fight-against-cha-drug-testing-106037 Senior citizens blast prominent community leader as a 'slumlord' http://www.wbez.org/news/senior-citizens-blast-prominent-community-leader-slumlord-105612 <p><p>A group of senior citizens held a protest Tuesday over what they call &ldquo;deplorable conditions&rdquo; in public housing in the Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood. The four senior homes in question are managed by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation (WCDC), a project of Reverend Leon Finney.</p><p>Finney rose to prominence fighting slumlords in the 1960s and 1970s, but has since become the subject of <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2012/01/following-finney" target="_blank">scrutiny</a>, a lawsuit, and <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-06/news/ct-met-finney-woodlawn-20120106_1_property-management-federal-lawsuit-chief-financial-officer" target="_blank">a federal probe</a> related to allegations of mismanaging funds provided to WCDC and The Woodlawn Organization. Finney began working in property management in the 1970s. WCDC manages 4,000 private and public units that house 10,000 people in the Chicago area.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79973994&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>On Monday, the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18319201-761/residents-of-cha-senior-building-we-feel-as-if-we-are-prisoners.html" target="_blank">Sun-Times reported</a> on a visit to the Judge Slater Senior Housing Complex at 42nd and Cottage Grove in Chicago. Columnist Mary Mitchell described evidence of vermin and roaches, and related residents&rsquo; accusations of abuse and neglect on the part of management.</p><p>&ldquo;How can he be against slumlords if he&rsquo;s a slumlord?&rdquo; said Aryah Benyahuda, who lives in Judge Slater. &ldquo;What has up there is a facade, it&rsquo;s camouflage.&rdquo;</p><p>Benyahuda joined four other public housing residents and about 20 people from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) in front of the CHA&rsquo;s downtown offices. KOCO helped the seniors organize a demonstration after a group of residents came to them for help. Residents said they believed others had been intimidated by WCDC not to speak out.</p><p>Inside, at the CHA board meeting, other residents of WCDC buildings did speak out &ndash; against protestors.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7038_019-scr.JPG" style="float: right; height: 210px; width: 320px;" title="Aryah Benyahuda headed home from the protest. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>&ldquo;When we need something, they are there,&rdquo; said Shirley Jean Lee, a resident of another WCDC-managed building.</p><p>Two senior homes residents who spoke out in favor of WCDC at the meeting hung up when contacted for this story. Others said their buildings do have bed bugs, roaches and mice. But they didn&rsquo;t blame the managers.</p><p>&ldquo;You know why that&rsquo;s a problem,&rdquo; said John Williams, also a resident of Judge Slater. &ldquo;Because people won&rsquo;t clean up.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams accused the protestors of intentionally causing trouble.</p><p>A spokesperson for the CHA says they have addressed bed bugs in the senior homes, and had not heard about problems with mice or roaches.</p><p>&ldquo;We regularly have meetings with our residents to address any concerns,&rdquo; said Wendy Parks, a spokesperson for CHA. &ldquo;We have had our CHA staff out at Judge Slater on a continuing basis.&rdquo;</p><p>The protesting residents have received a response from Finney&rsquo;s real estate manager, Sandra Harris, agreeing to meet with them. But Shannon Bennett of KOCO said seniors aren&rsquo;t satisfied.</p><p>&ldquo;We asked to meet with Finney in our letter,&rdquo; Bennett said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s not what they&rsquo;re offering.&rdquo;</p><p>Finney is a high-profile target for a campaign &ndash; but his connections also make him a likely one. He&rsquo;s been on the board of the Chicago Planning Commission, served as Vice Chair of the Chicago Housing Authority, and served as a trustee at Chicago State University. He&rsquo;s a pastor and a professor, and his real estate investments through WCDC number in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It&rsquo;s also <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/3194247-418/court-tenants-heat-finney-building.html" target="_blank">not the first time he&rsquo;s been called a slumlord</a>. But KOCO says their actions are not about targeting Finney.</p><p>&ldquo;It could be the man on the moon who&rsquo;s managing their property,&rdquo; Bennett said. &ldquo;Seniors who are already marginalized do not deserve to be intimidated for speaking up.&rdquo;</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter.</a></p></p> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 16:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/senior-citizens-blast-prominent-community-leader-slumlord-105612 CHA considers new math for mixed-income equation http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/cha-considers-new-math-mixed-income-equation-98847 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fire%20of%20the%20mind.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 465px; " title="A model of Parkside of Old Town, a mixed income housing complex that replaced some of Cabrini Green (Flickr/Fire of the Mind)"></p><p>It's been 12 years since the Chicago Housing Authority embarked on its <a href="http://www.thecha.org/pages/the_plan_for_transformation/22.php" target="_blank">Plan for Transformation</a>, an effort to dismantle the city's notorious high rise housing projects and provide 25,000 new or renovated units of housing. Rather than concentrating poverty in densely-populated high rises, the plan was to create mixed-income communities that were one-third public housing, one-third affordable rentals and one-third market rate condos.</p><p>The results so far have been less than stellar. According to a <a href="http://ssascholars.uchicago.edu/mixed-income-development-study/files/mixed_income_brief6.pdf" target="_blank">recent study by the University of Chicago</a>, only 11 percent of relocated public housing residents with a "right of return" live in mixed-income developments. Many simply left the city altogether. Megan Cottrell from the <em>Chicago Reporter </em><a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2011/01/did-the-public-housing-transformation-destroy-chicagos-black-voter-base/">found that</a> a third of African-Americans who left the city between 2000 and 2009 were from areas with public housing.</p><p>In a meeting last week, CHA CEO Charles Woodyard said that developments would no long need to adhere to the one-third, one-third, one-third rule and that decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis. It's unclear what a change in the equation would look like or how this would affect current mixed-income developments.</p><p><em>Chicago </em>magazine <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Radar/Deal-Estate/" target="_blank"><em>Deal Estate </em></a>columnist Dennis Rodkin thinks the CHA is smart to retool. In an email, he told WBEZ, "the market-rate buyers just weren't there." Now, with housing prices in decline, there is even less incentive for would-be buyers to take a risk on mixed-income developments.</p><p>On Monday's&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>, Rodkin looks at what the CHA needs to do to breathe new life into its ambitious Plan for Transformation. To weigh in during the live discussion, call <strong>312.923.9239</strong>.</p></p> Mon, 07 May 2012 16:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/cha-considers-new-math-mixed-income-equation-98847 CHA runs program to help disabled get own homes http://www.wbez.org/news/housing/cha-runs-program-help-disabled-get-own-homes-97818 <p><p>Lawrence Matthews isn't even sure how he ended up in the nursing home. The 56-year-old remembers falling on the ice in January 2009, waking up in the hospital, groggily signing some papers then being moved to a facility he's spent the last three years trying to get out of.</p><p>Now, he and his wife — who he met in the nursing home — recently moved into a place of their own along Chicago's lakefront thanks to a federal program that helps people with disabilities who are 61 and younger leave institutions and secure apartments using public housing vouchers.</p><p>The Non-Elderly Disabled program administrated by the Chicago Housing Authority has helped dozens of low-income people like Matthews who landed in nursing homes because of a medical need then couldn't afford to move out once their conditions improved.</p><p>There's a movement to transition people out of nursing facilities and into homes of their own. In December, a federal judge in Chicago approved a settlement in a class-action lawsuit that could help thousands of disabled, low-income Illinois residents move out of nursing homes.</p><p>Government officials say such programs save tax dollars, while advocates believe everyone benefits from having people with disabilities better integrated into communities. Matthews says he's grateful to no longer feel stuck.</p><p>"Money keeps you in the nursing home," he said. "It's not where we wanted to spend the rest of our lives."</p><p>The CHA has partnered with Access Living, an advocacy group for the disabled, to administer the voucher program. Access Living helps identify residents in institutions who are interested in relocating, finds accessible living arrangements in the private market and works to smooth the transition, including taking people shopping for groceries and appliances. (Disclosure: Access Living is a partner of Chicago Public Media, WBEZ's parent company.)</p><p>Participants pay 30 percent of their annual adjusted income for rent, and the federal Housing Choice Voucher program pays the rest.</p><p>Independent living costs about half of what it costs to house someone in an institution, where the money must cover facility expenses such as staff, maintenance and insurance, advocates say. In a home setting, the expenses are rent, medical costs and personal assistants if they're needed for just one person, rather than an entire building.</p><p>"The state doesn't need to be charged 24 hours for everyone who's in a nursing facility," said Rahnee Patrick, director of independent living at Access Living. "Some people may, not everybody will."</p><p>Federally mandated surveys at nursing homes show one in five residents would rather live in the community, Patrick said.</p><p>For the CHA, the so-called NED program has been a chance to help a unique and previously unreached population.</p><p>Amanda Motyka, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance manager for the CHA, remembers walking into an Access Living event and getting a hero's welcome.</p><p>"They pointed CHA out, 'that's who freed you from your nursing home,'" she said. "Everyone's clapping...it's very touching."</p><p>Matthews, who was sidelined from his job as a laboratory optician by health problems, broke his hip during the fall on the ice and lost his place to live as he recuperated. He learned of Access Living from another resident at the nursing home, and he was pleasantly surprised that it only took months — not years — for him and his wife to move from the facility and into their apartment.</p><p>His wife immediately fell in love with the place, a 20th-floor duplex with dramatic views of Lake Michigan. The couple married on Valentine's Day 2010.</p><p>For the couple, having a home of their own means living by their own rules in their own space.</p><p>"There's too many similarities between prison and the nursing home," Matthews said.</p></p> Mon, 02 Apr 2012 10:22:11 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/housing/cha-runs-program-help-disabled-get-own-homes-97818 CHA plans to transform Lathrop Homes raises community concerns http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-16/cha-plans-transform-lathrop-homes-raises-community-concerns-94089 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-16/DSC00160.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.thecha.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Housing Authority’s</a> Lathrop Homes have stood at the intersection of Diversey, Clybourn and Damen Avenues since the late 1930s. The homes were scheduled for major renovations. According to the CHA, the changes will help integrate residents into the surrounding community and make the buildings more environmentally sustainable.</p><p>The renovations fell under the <a href="http://www.thecha.org/pages/the_plan_for_transformation/22.php" target="_blank">CHA’s Plan for Transformation</a>, the plan that brought down high rise projects like Cabrini-Green and delivered a new mix of market-rate and subsidized housing to other developments. However, Lathrop residents and community members were concerned that the approach to other sites might not be right for Lathrop. Aaron Renn, an urban planner who has written about Lathrop Homes on his blog, <a href="http://www.urbanophile.com/" target="_blank">Urbanophile</a> and Veronica Gonzalez, the CHA's development manager.</p><p><em>Music Button: Sounds from the Ground, "Blink", from the album High Rising, (Waveform)</em></p></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-16/cha-plans-transform-lathrop-homes-raises-community-concerns-94089 Leaving poor neighborhoods brings health benefits http://www.wbez.org/story/leaving-poor-neighborhoods-brings-health-benefits-93302 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-19/Cabrini.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Moving from public housing to a better-off neighborhood might come with health benefits, according to a unique study led by Chicago researchers.</p><p>During the 1990s, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development paid for 1,788 women with children to move out of public housing and into low-poverty neighborhoods as part of the Moving to Opportunity program. A comparable group remained in public housing. That set up a perfect experimental situation for researchers, who could now examine how the group who moved fared compared with the control group.</p><p>In a batch of data <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1103216">published in the New England Journal of Medicine, </a>they found that women who moved had much better rates – about 20 percent lower – of obesity and diabetes than women who stayed in public housing.</p><p>“I was actually surprised by the size of the effects,” said Jens Ludwig, professor of law and public policy at the University of Chicago. “Having the opportunity to move from a high-poverty to a lower-poverty neighborhood had about the same size impact on diabetes as what you see from things like lifestyle interventions or medication.”</p><p>The study didn’t examine why that’s the case, but Ludwig said previous research suggests some possible explanations. It could be that poor neighborhoods have worse food options, fewer opportunities for exercise, and higher levels of stress. The study included residents of Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, as well as women from four other cities.</p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 21:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/leaving-poor-neighborhoods-brings-health-benefits-93302 CHA decision to vacate some Cabrini residents draws criticsm http://www.wbez.org/story/cha-decision-vacate-some-cabrini-residents-draws-criticsm-91493 <p><p>The Chicago Housing Authority has issued relocation notices to residents in the non-rehabbed sections of the Cabrini Rowhouses. CHA says Cabrini has become too dangerous for the remaining 33 households, but critics say families will be forced to live in equally -- if not more -- dangerous areas.</p><p>The CHA issued the 180-day notices Thursday, giving current residents the option to move to other public housing or take vouchers for private landlord owned apartments.</p><p>"We are in the business of providing housing for people; we're not in the business of wanting to evict people. Hopefully, we're trying to move them into a situation of where they're pleased with their new surroundings," said Carlos Ponce, interim CEO for the CHA.</p><p>But critics of the plan, like Attorney Richard Wheelock, say that Cabrini residents could face more harm because of the relocation. According to Wheelock, families will have limited options for public housing, and won't have much better chances with the voucher program.</p><p>"Historically, we've seen that public housing families, frankly, are discriminated against," Wheelock said. "The vast majority of public housing families who are being relocated with vouchers end up moving to the West Side of Chicago or the South Side of Chicago, where the crime rate is much worse than the crime statistics that we're seeing for the near North Side or the Cabrini Rowhouses."</p><p>Ponce denies that residents would be relocated to more dangerous housing. He said CHA will be providing relocation services to families like counseling or assistance with moving.</p><p>Currently, residents in the non-rehabbed rowhouses make up 8 percent of the available space. The 146 rehabbed units in the rowhouses are not subject to the relocation notice. Ponce said the future of the non-rehabbed units is yet to be decided, but all lease compliant families can choose to move back to the Cabrini area once a decision has been made.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 20:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cha-decision-vacate-some-cabrini-residents-draws-criticsm-91493