[ View the story "Chicago residents call for better access to affordable housing" on Storify] Chicago residents call for better access to affordable housing Advocates express concern over accountability of Chicago Housing Authority as the city looks at new housing plan.
AJAMStream· Thu, Jan 16 2014 14:48:55
Attendees shared photos of the event online:
CIty Hall protest over CHA stockpiling $$ meant for new housing http://t.co/D25iPBfxz9Dennis Rodkin
#CHI demanding #CHA accountability as city introduces #5YrPlan! Does #Rahm even care abt keeping families in homes? http://t.co/baCzui8UGUNick Jefferson
One of the main concerns voiced at the conference was on the accountability of the Chicago Housing Authority's use of funds. According to a Chicago Reporter
of CHA financial reports, the agency had $661 million in unrestricted assets at the end of 2013.
Although the new plan does not specify how much will go to the CHA, the Chicago Housing Initiative, a coalition of housing advocates, estimates that the agency will get at least $100 million. In the last three plans, the agency has received about $650 million from the city.
One journalist shared a quote from a formerly homeless Chicago veteran who critiqued CHA's practices and suggested changes that could reduce homelessness in the city:
“If the CHA just took 1/6th of the stockpile reserves and put them to use, over 11,000 homeless families could be housed, that would be a 15% drop in homelessness in the city of Chicago,” said Jimi Miller, a formerly homeless veteran who with his wife lived in separate shelters for 19 months as they waited for housing assistance in 2011.akitchenforeverypot.com
Twenty-two council members, or aldermen, have signed on to language proposed by the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI) to add to the five-year plan, and many took part in the conference.
@RoderickTSawyer @Fioretti2ndWard @45thWardChicago @ward32chicago @AldermanSposato Ald. Foulkes stand w/@chi_housing http://t.co/2M44Q4ZOQ4Progressive Caucus
"We need to make sure this money is being utilized," said Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. He shared the story of his parent's experience with Chicago's public housing below:
Chicago Housing Initiative: 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr.The Chicago Reporter YouTube channel
Alderman Roderick Sawyer of Chicago's 6th Ward said oversight of the city's affordable housing goals should rest on elected officials:
Place the responsibility on us as elected officials and give us the oversight to make #affordablehousing plan workRoderick T. Sawyer
CHI members and city residents also worry that existing public housing is being
with newer units that are too expensive for many former tenants. They requested that the CHA work to replace demolished units at a one-to-one ratio.
The fed gov stopped requiring local housing authorities 2 replace demolished housing on a 1-to-1 basis in the 1990's. We need those units!Chicago Tenants
, Emanuel said the new plan "identifies issues, presents solutions, and establishes priorities for the City’s housing initiatives over the next five years, including the commitment to expand affordability and reduce the burdensome cost of housing on many owners and renters.”
However, Leah Levinger of CHI expressed concern with Emanuel's phrasing, highlighting an omission of a key word that may sum up the future of housing in the city under Emanuel's new plan:
“The mayor took ‘affordable’ out of the name. That was indicative to us and troubling,” said Leah Levinger, of the Chicago Housing Initiative.wbez.org
Do you live in Chicago? What do you think about the city's new housing plan? Leave your thoughts below.