WBEZ | public housing http://www.wbez.org/tags/public-housing Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A Conversation About 'Integrating the Inner City' http://www.wbez.org/news/housing/conversation-about-integrating-inner-city-114750 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/nmoore.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ&rsquo;s Natalie Moore moderated a conversation with scholars <a href="https://ssascholars.uchicago.edu/r-chaskin/biocv">Robert Chaskin</a> and <a href="http://msass.case.edu/faculty/mjoseph/">Mark Joseph</a> about their new book on the Chicago Housing Authority -- <em><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo18415894.html">&ldquo;Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed Income Public Housing Transformation.&rdquo;</a></em></p><p dir="ltr">The book is five years worth of field research about CHA&rsquo;s billion-dollar experiment to remake public housing.</p><p dir="ltr">The December 2015 event was at Newberry Library and jointly sponsored by the University of Chicago <a href="http://urban.uchicago.edu/">Urban Network</a>, <a href="https://www.ssa.uchicago.edu/">School of Social Service Administration</a>, <a href="https://csrpc.uchicago.edu/">Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture</a>, <a href="http://www.semcoop.com/">Seminary Co-op Bookstore</a>, the <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/kreisman">Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy</a>, and the <a href="http://www.nphm.org/">National Public Housing Museum</a>. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Watch the discussion:</strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eE_ZpbTHSbQ" title="(Video produced by ADPT Pro.)" width="560"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>More on mixed income and housing:</strong></p><div id="content-titles"><h5><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/public-housing-residents-learn-rules-mixed-income-0" target="_blank">Public Housing Residents Learn the Rules for Mixed Income</a></h5><div id="content-titles"><h5><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/social-tension-rises-chicago-housing-authority-mixed-income-development">Social Tension Rises at Chicago Housing Authority Mixed-Income Development</a></h5><div><div id="content-titles"><h5><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/mixed-results-mixed-income-chicago-public-housing">Mixed Results on Mixed-Income Chicago Public Housing</a></h5><div><h5><a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/10/29/chicagos-mixed-income-communities">Chicago&#39;s Mixed-Income Communities</a></h5></div></div></div></div></div><h5 dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cha-slows-down-mixed-income-housing-108699">CHA Slows Down on Mixed-Income Housing</a></h5><h5 dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-26/chicago-housing-authority-leader-takes-new-challenges-113499">A Conversation with CHA CEO Eugene Jones</a></h5></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/housing/conversation-about-integrating-inner-city-114750 When MLK Moved to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-26/segment/when-mlk-moved-chicago-114624 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/MLK-flickr-caboindex.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>January 26th<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/fifty-years-ago-today-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-gets-chicago-address-114607">&nbsp;was the 50th anniversary of the day the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. established residency in Chicago.</a> Joining us first is author Mary Lou Finley who was with the civil rights leader during his time in Chicago. Finley discusses King&rsquo;s work and his fight against poverty.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Then we play a few segments from Dr. King&#39;s visit to WVON, one of the nation&rsquo;s premier African-American-owned talk radio stations in 1966. King spent more than 20 minutes answering questions on owner and host Wesley South&rsquo;s call-in show called &ldquo;Hotline.&rdquo; Most bear striking similarities to the criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Finally, we are joined by Damon Williams, co-director of Let Us Breathe Collective and co-chair of Black Youth Project 100 Chicago. He&rsquo;ll talk about the MLK teach-in he led and the impact of the Chicago Freedom Movement decades later.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-28/reclaimed-soul-chicago-born-hits-66-114636"><strong>RELATED:&nbsp;<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 16px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: 21px;">Reclaimed Soul: Chicago-Born Hits from &#39;66</span></strong></a></div><div id="content-titles" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; font-family: Georgia, serif; vertical-align: baseline;"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 16:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-26/segment/when-mlk-moved-chicago-114624 Government Proposing Smoking Ban in Public Housing http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2016-01-11/government-proposing-smoking-ban-public-housing-114441 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4170136164_b650ccca9a_z_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Smoker" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/151331783.jpg?itok=NxFJ6Rlq" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="The Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a smoking ban. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/GettyImages" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>The Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a smoking ban in the one-point-two million units of public housing it oversees.&nbsp;But this isn&#39;t just a ban on smoking in public areas. It would extend to the inside of people&#39;s apartments, too.</p><p>Thirty-seven-year-old Equanda Willis lives in a public housing complex in Brooklyn, NY, and has been smoking for two decades. She started for the same reason many teenagers do: she thought it looked cool. Then, she got hooked. And while she&#39;d like to quit, she doesn&#39;t think the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has the right to tell her what to do in her own home.</p><p>&quot;I believe that people should be able to smoke,&quot; Willis said. &quot;If they pay rent there, they should be able to smoke where they want to smoke.&quot;</p><p>Public housing tenants typically pay around 30 percent of their income, whatever it is, in rent. The rest is subsidized. The HUD proposal has led some residents, including Willis, to question how it would be enforced.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s gonna be kind of hard,&quot; Willis said. &quot;Not unless they&#39;re gonna have security guards standing at people&#39;s apartments sniffing out smoke. I don&#39;t understand how it&#39;s gonna work.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>New York City has the largest public housing authority in the United States. Around 400,000 residents live in public housing developments.&nbsp;</p><p>Alfred Woods, also a smoker, said he worries what will happen to public housing residents who can&#39;t quit.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s gonna be unfortunate for low-income people and poor people who smoke, to be evicted over smoking in the apartment,&quot; Woods said. &quot;Which is going to cause a great&nbsp;dilemma&nbsp;for living&nbsp;situations.&quot;</p><p>Sunia&nbsp;Zaterman is the executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, a non-profit that represents 70 of the largest housing authorities in the country. She said the goal of the ban would be to reduce smoking, not to evict smokers and it would start with education, not punishment.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;We do have a number of housing authorities that have experience in undertaking these kinds of policies and implementing them,&quot; Zaterman said.</p><p>For its part, HUD said residents&#39; concerns are, in part, exactly why it has opened the proposed ban up to a period of public comment.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/2015/12/15/wealth-poverty/public-smoking-ban-public-housing" target="_blank"><em> via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2016-01-11/government-proposing-smoking-ban-public-housing-114441 Federal government wants to ban smoking in public housing http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-12/federal-government-wants-ban-smoking-public-housing-113761 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4170136164_b650ccca9a_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96032"><img alt="(Kristaps Bergfelds/Flickr)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1112_smoking-ban-public-housing-flickr-624x416.jpg" title="The proposed ban on smoking in public housing would affect nearly 1 million households. (Kristaps Bergfelds/Flickr)" /><p>The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it wants to ban smoking in public housing across the country, including in people&rsquo;s apartments. If adopted, the new rule would affect nearly a million households.</p></div><p><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/12/public-housing-smoking-ban" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now&lsquo;s</em></a> Jeremy Hobson talks with&nbsp;Lourdes Castro Ramirez, principal deputy assistant secretary for the&nbsp;<a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/programdescription/pih" target="_blank">Office of Public and Indian Housing</a>&nbsp;at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about why HUD is proposing the ban, and how it would be enforced.</p></p> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-12/federal-government-wants-ban-smoking-public-housing-113761 A Chicago community puts mixed-income housing to the test http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-community-puts-mixed-income-housing-test-111502 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/corley_lathrop_slide-0d583b1bfac0b67299b9c261b1650cb792b085c6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A resident of Lathrop Homes leaves one of the few occupied buildings in the development. The city wants to redevelop the public housing as mixed use, and offered vouchers to encourage residents to relocate. (Cheryl Corley/NPR)" /></div><p>Right next to the Chicago River on the city&#39;s North Side,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/userfiles/file/lathrop.pdf" target="_blank">Lathrop Homes</a>, with its black, white and Latino residents, is considered the city&#39;s most diverse public housing.</p><p>It&#39;s also on the National Register of Historic Places. And with 925 low-rise units on about 30 acres, it&#39;s big. But these days, only a fraction of those apartments are occupied.</p><p>Miguel Suarez has lived in Lathrop Homes for 25 years. He says the Chicago Housing Authority offered people housing vouchers to move elsewhere when they decided that Lathrop would be rehabbed &mdash; part of a massive effort to revamp public housing in the city.</p><p>But residents at Lathrop say they don&#39;t live in a distressed neighborhood that needs change &mdash; so they are fighting to keep their homes intact.</p><p><strong>The New Face Of Public Housing</strong></p><p>It&#39;s been two decades since&nbsp;<a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph/hope6/about" target="_blank">the federal government&#39;s HOPE VI Program</a>&nbsp;offered public housing authorities around the nation money to tear down blighted public housing projects.</p><p>Across the country, cities used it as an opportunity to experiment with breaking up pockets of poverty. They replaced the housing projects with &quot;mixed-income housing,&quot; where people who have money live next door to people who don&#39;t.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hoffman_20150202_0121_slide-b7d970c1198627b1f04402ec2e0a48f1be72cf7c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="Nivea Sandoval is a 30-year resident of the Lathrop Homes. She feels Chicago Housing Authority is neglecting residents, but still wants to live here because of the strong community. (Peter Hoffman for NPR)" /></div><p>But mixed-income housing changes the profile of a city &mdash; and it&#39;s often controversial. The Chicago Housing Authority, or CHA, launched a massive program in 1999, promising to tear down troubled high rises and rehab or rebuild 25,000 units of public housing.</p><p>&quot;Our interest, and the CHA&#39;s interest, is in making a vital, vibrant mixed-income community here,&quot; says Jacques Sandberg, a vice president at Related Midwest, one of the developers involved in revamping Lathrop Homes.</p><p><strong>The Lathrop Homes Plan</strong></p><p>Suarez, who is semi-retired, is the chairperson of a group of residents called the Lathrop Leadership Team. During a driving tour of the neighborhood, he points out how all of the three-story apartment buildings and smaller row houses on the northern side of the development are boarded up and fenced in.</p><p>Throughout the development, arched colonnades connect the buildings and sweeping snow-covered lawns. There&#39;s lots of new pricey housing surrounding Lathrop, and plenty of businesses and stores.</p><p>Suarez says he knows why there&#39;s a push for change. &quot;It&#39;s moving the poor out and bringing the rich in,&quot; he says. &quot;Gentrification &mdash; &#39;We don&#39;t care where you go, just get the hell out, because we want this.&#39; &quot;</p><p>That&#39;s the fight when it comes to mixed-income housing: determining the right mix of incomes &mdash; and how many public housing residents get to return to a refurbished development.</p><p>The latest plan for a redeveloped Lathrop Homes calls for one-half of the historic development to be torn down and the rest rehabbed. The new Lathrop would include 500 market-rate condos and townhouses, but only about 200 low-income or affordable apartments and 400 public housing units, down from the current 925.</p><p>It&#39;s controversial, and developer Jacques Sandberg says creating mixed-income neighborhoods can be difficult.</p><p>&quot;There are people who have legitimate positions that have to be reconciled,&quot; he says. &quot;Sometimes they are at odds and are fundamentally irreconcilable, and there are people&#39;s lives at stake.&quot;</p><p><strong>The Fight For Lathrop</strong></p><p>A group of Lathrop residents say they aren&#39;t on board with the plans for their home. Lathrop Advisory Council member Cynthia Scott, a former receptionist who is on disability benefits now, says it has been frustrating to hear developers and others talk about &quot;concentrated poverty&quot; and how Lathrop Homes is isolated from the rest of the neighborhood.</p><p>&quot;If you go outside this community, everybody else&#39;s community is gated. We are not gated,&quot; she says. &quot;People walk their dogs around here. Our parks are open; their parks are closed. So who&#39;s to say we are not an open community?&quot;</p><p>Recent home sales near Lathrop range from $500,000 to about $1 million. Titus Kerby, the Lathrop Advisory Council&#39;s president, says the plan for Lathrop means hundreds of public housing residents won&#39;t be able to return to a thriving neighborhood that&#39;s already mixed-income.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img 400="" 525="" a="" actually="" affordable="" alderman="" allow="" alt="" and="" are="" back="" be="" bring="" bringing="" calls="" chicago="" class="image-original_image" committed="" community="" development="" displaced="" even="" for="" fund="" generally="" gives="" going="" have="" he="" helps="" here="" hoffman="" homes="" housing="" if="" in="" is="" it="" joe="" lathrop="" live="" located="" market-rate="" mixed-income="" more="" moreno="" moreno.="" most="" must="" new="" next="" north="" of="" on="" only="" or="" other="" our="" p="" peter="" plan.="" position="" proco="" project="" public="" residents="" s="" says="" sense="" setting="" side="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hoffman_20150202_0342_slide-1046437b7d8ee761a2284eebfdb2118b718334e4-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" t="" that="" the="" title="J.L. Gross walks along a river pathway near the Lathrop Homes. He has lived in the development for 27 years and cherishes Lathrop because " to="" units="" us="" wants="" ward="" what="" who="" will="" you="" /><p>&quot;I know it sounds a little utopia &mdash; that a public housing resident comes in, gets to affordable rent and gets to an affordable purchase and then, maybe, perhaps gets unrestricted,&quot; Moreno says, &quot;but it&#39;s not without precedent. And if we don&#39;t provide the opportunity, it&#39;s not going to happen.&quot;</p><p><strong>Mixed-Income Housing Results</strong></p><p>Studies of Chicago&#39;s existing mixed-income housing&nbsp;show that public housing residents in the new developments are doing better, while most who had to move elsewhere still live in segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods.</p><p>Lawrence Vale, an urban studies professor at MIT, has studied mixed-income housing in Chicago and other cities. &quot;There are lots of assumptions about what the new neighborhoods should do to help low-income residents find role models or better social networks,&quot; he says, &quot;but the empirical evidence of that has been scant.&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hoffman_20150202_0237_slide-e95d9a6b3dc1c539910510a01535729a38219c2e-s800-c85_0.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The main office for the Lathrop Homes public housing complex in Chicago. One resident says the redevelopment plan for the complex is just more gentrification in the city. (Peter Hoffman for NPR)" /></div><p>But there are some aspects of mixed-income housing that are promising, Vale says.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s a sense of people finding enhanced security, increased investment in the surrounding neighborhoods and higher expectations for the management when they have the pressure of people putting more of their own money into payments,&quot; he says.</p><p>The Chicago Housing Authority says construction at Lathrop could begin by spring of 2016, and that it plans to update residents soon. If Lathrop does indeed become a mixed-income community as planned, even its developers say it may take years to determine how it functions as a neighborhood &mdash; and whether a new Lathrop is a success.</p></div></div><p>- <em>via <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/02/05/381886102/a-chicago-community-puts-mixed-income-housing-to-the-test">NPR&#39;s Cities Project</a></em></p></p> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 09:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-community-puts-mixed-income-housing-test-111502 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 Reporter's Notebook: Life in public housing vs. the fanciest downtown apartment http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/reporters-notebook-life-public-housing-vs-fanciest-downtown-apartment-107103 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/tanveer and realtor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="650" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0AgYZnhF-8PafdGJhci1aV2Q3YlhXb0JOREg5LVNXVWc&amp;font=Bevan-PotanoSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;width=620&amp;height=650" width="620"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/about-curious-city-98756">Curious City</a>&nbsp;is a news-gathering experiment designed to satisfy the public&#39;s curiosity.&nbsp;People&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">submit questions</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">vote&nbsp;</a>for their favorites, and WBEZ reports out the winning questions in real time on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#!/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a>and the timeline above.</p><p>Curious Citizen Heather Radke asked about the relationship between where we live and our everyday lives, and she wants the answer to be based on real experience. If you have leads or a point for us to consider, please comment below, or hit us at any of the social media outlets listed above!&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/reporters-notebook-life-public-housing-vs-fanciest-downtown-apartment-107103 CHA reveals next phase of massive public housing redevelopment http://www.wbez.org/cha-reveals-next-phase-massive-public-housing-redevelopment-106757 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cha plan_130421_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 1994, Chicago public housing high rises failed federal government standards. The massive cinder block buildings had become as recognizable as the city&rsquo;s skyline. They were also viewed as a symbol of failed housing policies that resulted in concentrated black poverty. Critics said the notorious high rises warehoused blacks in destitute conditions; residents decried a lack of investment in their apartments and communities.</p><p>Five years later Mayor Richard M. Daley went to Washington, D.C. and got permission to demolish the high rises, most of them erected when his father Richard J. Daley was mayor. Thus, the country&rsquo;s largest public housing redevelopment program &ndash; christened the Plan for Transformation &ndash; was born. Its centerpiece was a plan to build mixed-income housing on the same footprint as the old high rises with the following formula for attracting residents: one-third market rate, one-third affordable and one-third public.</p><p>The controversial $1 billion-plus plan is scheduled to wrap up in 2015. Under the plan, which is 85 percent complete, 25,000 units will be developed or revitalized. CHA has already moved almost 16,000 family households from derelict buildings. Some public housing families moved into brand new units with higher-income earning neighbors. Others were lost in the system or moved into segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods. An economic downturn and housing crash eventually forced the Chicago Housing Authority to change course.</p><p>Now CHA is unveiling &ldquo;Plan Forward,&rdquo; the second phase of the original plan. It focuses on acquiring homes in neighborhoods across the city for rehab, boosting economic activity around CHA sites and providing job/educational training for people with subsidized housing vouchers in the city.</p><p>&ldquo;All residents of public housing had been walled off from the rest of the city both by physical, cultural &ndash;&nbsp; not just geographic &ndash; but services [such as separate security and garbage collection],&rdquo; said Mayor Rahm Emanuel of the CHA conditions pre-Plan for Transformation. &ldquo;Now we&rsquo;ve even got to take the next step further.&rdquo;</p><p>The mayor spoke Saturday at Legends South, on 44th and State Street, a mixed-income development that replaced the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k--Gs1veNYE">Robert Taylor</a> Homes &ndash; formerly the <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2007/09/good-ol-days">world&rsquo;s largest public housing development</a>. Emanuel served as vice chair of the CHA board in the 1990s when the original plan was in formation.</p><p>Multiple tracts of vacant land sit idle on the State Street corridor as development has stalled. One of the new plan&rsquo;s goals is to tailor the mix of what&rsquo;s considered mixed income. Another goal is to use CHA-owned land for non-housing development.</p><p>CHA CEO Charles Woodyard said various city agencies in the next few weeks will start approaching the vacant land as an asset.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s more than housing. Housing was the foundation. We will work with the private sector and public sector to see if can have job-creating retail. If we can have retail that provides a needed service for our families. We&rsquo;re going to make sure that the investment that the public makes doesn&rsquo;t wither and die on the vine because we haven&rsquo;t completed the community,&rdquo; Woodyard said.</p><p>Thousands of CHA families rent in the private market with subsidized housing vouchers. A recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-cha-plan-has-improved-residents%E2%80%99-lives-106036">Urban Institute report</a> praised the inroads CHA has made with resident services but said children have still suffered. New CHA strategies include improved early childhood education, connecting teens to extra-curricular activities and new youth programs for up to 5,000 kids.</p><p>One of the problems with the existing voucher program is that many poor families live in distressed neighborhoods such as Englewood or Austin where there&rsquo;s high crime and few amenities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/housing-vouchers-clustered-certain-neighborhoods">doesn&rsquo;t provide enough money</a> for people to live in less segregated, more affluent areas.</p><p>To counter that, Woodyard says CHA will acquire and rehabilitate homes and apartments in a variety of neighborhoods.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the things we&rsquo;re really trying to achieve is to integrate affordable housing into the larger community that is Chicago,&rdquo; Woodyard said. &ldquo;It means not just sticking to the South Side. The South Side and the West Side have a fair amount of affordable housing. We&rsquo;re going to do everything we can to make sure families have opportunities in neighborhoods that give them opportunities.</p><p>&ldquo;One thing we have to understand is our families are used to support systems and familiarity. So some of them may prefer to live on the South Side.&rdquo; But Woodyard said CHA will give them incentives.</p><p>Other highlights from the new plan include an adult literacy pilot program and a recalibrated <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cha-residents-want-housing-agency-supply-more-jobs-89205">federal jobs program</a>.</p><p>Resident activist Carol Steele runs the Coalition to Protect Public Housing out of Cabrini-Green. She said she&rsquo;s still concerned about <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Where-Are-Poor-People-Live/dp/0765610760">poor residents</a> who lived in CHA back when the plan started in 1999.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not even enough housing for the people that have the right to return. That&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;m looking forward to hearing about,&rdquo; Steele said. &ldquo;When are we going to complete these 25,000 replacement units for the residents that are out there waiting to return to their communities?&rdquo;</p><p><em>Natalie Moore is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 20 Apr 2013 18:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/cha-reveals-next-phase-massive-public-housing-redevelopment-106757 Report: CHA plan has improved residents’ lives http://www.wbez.org/news/report-cha-plan-has-improved-residents%E2%80%99-lives-106036 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/oakwood_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For residents who moved out of Chicago&rsquo;s notorious public housing high rises in the last decade, life has improved. But many children in these families suffer from low school performance and growing up with chronic violence.</p><p>A new report released Monday by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, paints a largely positive picture of the Chicago Housing Authority efforts. The study comes while the CHA is retooling its Plan for Transformation, an ambitious multi-year effort begun in 1999 that broke up concentrated high-rise developments.</p><p>The Urban Institute&rsquo;s Sue Popkin has studied CHA for the past 25 years. At the beginning of that period, she recalled, one could observe high rises with backed-up incinerators, dank hallways, gang wars and faulty elevators.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t expect to be in a place 10 years later where I would say this is basically a housing intervention and it&rsquo;s worked okay. For the most part people are living in better housing in safer neighborhoods,&rdquo; Popkin said.</p><p>CHA&rsquo;s controversial $1 billion Plan for Transformation tore down high rises and replaced them with mixed-income communities. The Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini-Green were synonymous with Chicago&rsquo;s skyline and had the worst housing reputation in the country. Since the Plan began, CHA has moved almost 16,000 family households from derelict buildings. The agency has rehabilitated or built 19,000 public housing units, which includes 3,200 in mixed income.</p><p>Several years ago the Urban Institute told CHA that moving families wasn&rsquo;t simply a construction issue; to succeed, residents needed services. Popkin said that steep learning curve for CHA has paid off after the housing agency implemented a strong resident service program in 2007. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Researchers say that vulnerable residents need intensive wraparound services to address mental health, low literacy and lack of job skills. The report suggests that residents who&rsquo;ve received intensive case management have fared better. The services cost about $2,900 annually per household but can increase family stability and reduce depression. CHA families have grappled with the trauma of poverty: physical health problems, anxiety, high mortality rates.</p><p>But Popkin said it&rsquo;s not all a pretty picture. Emphasis on adults has meant that improvements have not always trickled down to children. Relocation has been especially hard on them and causes disruption in school and socially.</p><p>&ldquo;I worry a lot about the kids,&rdquo; Popkin said. &ldquo;The services that helped the adults do better don&rsquo;t seem to have helped the kids. It&rsquo;s an urgent issue. These are kids who have grown up in families who&rsquo;ve lived in chronic disadvantage for generations and it&rsquo;s going to take more than just moving to slightly safer places to help get them on a better trajectory.&rdquo;</p><p>Some young people have struggled academically and have had a tough time adapting to new neighborhoods where they are perceived as outsiders. And they continue to live amid violence. The Urban Institute is currently working on CHA incorporating a dual generation approach at Altgeld Gardens, a public housing development on the southern edge of the city.</p><p>&ldquo;Frankly, at this point it&rsquo;s going to be a matter of money,&rdquo; Popkin said. &ldquo;This is obviously not CHA&rsquo;s fault. But the sequester and everything else that&rsquo;s going on, I worry about the threat to human services at a point where we really need it to make a difference.&rdquo;</p><p>Mary Howard leads resident services for CHA said the agency is looking at how to provide services to children whose families participate in the housing voucher program. There are 38,000 Chicago households that use vouchers to rent in the private market.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the things that we&rsquo;re looking at is how to open up some of our opportunities that have traditionally been available for public housing families to the house choice voucher population,&rdquo; Howard said. For example, making sure discounted park district programs reach these youth.</p><p>Resident leaders say they want CHA to listen to their suggestions about what&rsquo;s working and what&rsquo;s not.</p><p>&ldquo;Let us help you out. Work with us,&rdquo; Francine Washington told housing officials Monday.</p><p>CHA&rsquo;s Plan for Transformation is the largest of its kind in the country. Researchers say the housing agency&rsquo;s mistakes and triumphs can inform federal policy. The Plan is expected to be completed by 2015.</p></p> Mon, 11 Mar 2013 17:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-cha-plan-has-improved-residents%E2%80%99-lives-106036 CHA, HUD pen agreement on program http://www.wbez.org/news/cha-hud-pen-agreement-program-105616 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS4349_Charles Woodyard.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79992570" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The Chicago Housing Authority has entered into an agreement with the federal government that aims to provide more jobs and contracts to public housing and low-income residents.</p><p>The program, known as Section 3, started in 1968. Last year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found Chicago noncompliant with Section 3. Residents have also filed lawsuits related to the program.</p><p>Now the local and federal housing agencies are embarking on a five-year deal. The end goal is for at least 10 percent of the total dollar amount of all contracts covered by Section 3 go to Section 3 hires.</p><p>&ldquo;CHA&rsquo;s excited about this new partnership with HUD,&rdquo; said Charles Woodyard, CEO of CHA. &ldquo;Together we will ensure that goals of this new initiative are met so that Section 3 residents and other low-income Chicagoans are provided opportunities to advance their business and their careers.&rdquo;</p><p>CHA&rsquo;s track record on Section 3 is a mixed bag. A <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cha-residents-want-housing-agency-supply-more-jobs-89205">2011 WBEZ report</a> found that several years ago, 30 percent of new hires were designated Section 3 &ndash; the federal minimum. But in 2008 and 2009, for example, more than 70 percent of CHA new hires were Section 3. Still, in those two years, hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded in contracts, yet none of those involved Section 3-owned businesses. Other public housing agencies around the country have had much worse track records.</p><p>Four residents from the Altgeld Gardens development have filed a lawsuit under Section 3. A judge has ruled that one of those lawsuits can go forward. The resident involved in that case alleges that she hasn&rsquo;t been hired under the program.</p><p>This new Section 3 agreement with HUD states CHA will require building trade contractors to submit payroll and hiring reports on a weekly basis. HUD will monitor progress. When it is infeasible for CHA to meet the numerical goals for employment, the housing agency must show HUD other economic opportunities that it provides to its resident and the community. Those opportunities may be educational, recreational, or youth-oriented. They can also involve learning enrichment, after-school programs, child care, senior services, and job preparation programs, as well as other economic opportunities. Noncompliance could cost CHA competitive grant funding.</p><p>Residents and stakeholders are skeptical about the agreement.</p><p>&ldquo;Seems like a decision has been [made] and we haven&rsquo;t be included in it. Once again we&rsquo;ve been left behind,&rdquo; said Dennis Hood, a CHA resident and owner of a contracting business.</p><p>Robert Whitfield is the attorney for the umbrella CHA tenants&rsquo; group. He said he&rsquo;s not sure whether the voluntary agreement will turn the dime of resident hiring. The issue is bigger than CHA.</p><p>&ldquo;I would like to see [CHA] use a lot more of their procurement power to force the union to get more residents into the unions as apprentices,&rdquo; Whitfield said. &ldquo;Until that happens they [HUD, CHA] can sign all the agreements they want but it&rsquo;ll run into a dead end when contractors say they aren&rsquo;t in the union.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s a huge concern for Thomas Harris, secretary-treasurer of the American Allied Workers International Union. He said organized labor dictates the contracts. He said he&rsquo;s trying to get his union to represent CHA residents so they aren&rsquo;t shut out.</p><p>&ldquo;Labor dictates what&rsquo;s going to happen with the contracts and who the workers are going to be. They&rsquo;ve been closed out of workplace because they&rsquo;ve never been at the table to be represented in terms of their trades,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>Follow Natalie on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a>.</p></p> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cha-hud-pen-agreement-program-105616