Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Chicago Matters: Inside Housing

After The Fall

Produced by Jay Shefsky

A hard look at the future of public housing in Chicago, probing the hopes and fears of residents as they watch the world they have known come crashing down.

In the 1950s and '60s, Mayor Richard J. Daley oversaw the construction of public housing high rises like the Robert Taylor homes, Cabrini Green, The Henry Horner Homes and Stateway Gardens. Today, another Mayor Daley is tearing them all down. It's all part of a city-wide program the Chicago Housing Authority calls its "Plan for Transformation."

All 51 high-rises are coming down; some 18,000 apartments. Most of the low-rise public housing buildings will remain and be completely rehabbed. New mixed-income developments will be built where the high-rises once stood.

The redevelopment plan for Stateway Gardens calls for building about 1300 new units on and near the site. A third of the new units will be reserved for public housing families. Another third will be rented or sold at reduced rates to people with incomes below a certain level. And the remaining third will be sold or rented on the open market.

Links of Interest

Chicago Housing Authority
The official website of the CHA has a place to submit your own comments, as well as pages giving the history of the CHA, its redevelopment, the design competition that has produced its new buildings, and information on the Plan for Transformation.

The View From the Ground
This unusual website focuses on the lives of residents in Stateway Gardens, a public housing development on Chicago's South Side. Its stated "aim" is to deepen public discourse about "the transformation of public housing by providing reliable information about conditions on the ground," to show policy-makers and other interested parties the real impact of their policies on the people they affect. Filled with fine photographs, and thoughtful observations by residents, it helps us see their world through their eyes.

Professor Paul Fischer Examines CHA Relocations
This link takes you to recently released studies by Lake Forest College Politics Professor Paul Fischer, which examine the performance of the Chicago Housing Authority's ability to adequately relocate its section eight residents. The study suggests the CHA is not adequately prepared to move 10,000 residents out of dilapidated inner-city high rises without recreating new inner-city segregated neighborhoods. The study examined 1,000 CHA families already relocated under the program and found that more than 80 percent relocated to census tracks that are more than 90 percent black and over 90 percent were relocated to census tracks with median incomes less than $15,000.

Chicago Department of Housing
This is the website of the City of Chicago's Department of Housing, whose stated goal is "to increase housing opportunities by creating affordable and accessible home ownership opportunities and rental options" for all residents, including, but not limited to singles, working families, seniors, first-time home buyers and renters; owners in need of home repairs, and owners in need of rehab or tax relief.

Other Series
View information from current and past Chicago Matters series:

Chicago Matters: Our Next Generation

Chicago Matters: Money Talks

Chicago Matters: Valuing Education

Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders

Chicago Matters: Growing Forward

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