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Chicago public housing program targets most vulnerable residents

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A new study on the Chicago Housing Authority suggests a new approach helping troubled families pays off. But there are still challenges.

Case managers followed residents in Madden/Wells and Dearborn Homes over an intense three-year period. All of the participants were long-term public housing residents. The purpose of the assignment was to give struggling families extra attention as they sought employment and help with mental problems.

The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. participated in the study.

“Although the parents experienced a lot of benefits and the families ended up moving to much better housing in much safer neighborhoods, the kids are really struggling,” said researcher Sue Popkin.

She said young people need programs to prevent behavior problems and delinquency. Popkin wants residents who have the hardest time being self-sufficient to get more targeted services. Popkin hopes in the long run the study helps the housing authority improve its services.

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