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CHA: Lathrop, Ickes, and more segregation

This new video from the Chicago Rehab Network is remarkably effective, illuminating the lives and concerns of residents of Lathrop Homes – and their vision for preservation of the CHA development as affordable housing – and doing it in less than ten minutes.

It’s the second video in CRN’s new “Talking to Walls” project (the first was on Hollywood Homes, affordable housing for the elderly in Edgewater) – aimed at highlighting the need for policies that foster a housing market able to respond to the growing demand for affordable housing.

Meanwhile Megan Cottrell at True Slant notes that the CHA is now considering demolition of the final three buildings at the Harold Ickes Homes.

Last year, when CHA announced plans to begin demolition (six of nine buildings have been torn down), Cottrell reported on residents’ frustration over CHA’s sudden shift in plans for the development, which had long been slated for rehab (and subsequently loaded with refugees from Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens, as the Chicago Reporter noted; Residents Journal documented the residents’ experiences, including a police crackdown on a longtime informal summer steppers gathering there).  And she covered CRN’s concern over CHA’s plan to use federal stimulus money for the demolition, since it provides little employment and actually worsens the housing crisis.

A CHA spokesperson told Newstips that no decision has been made on the future of what remains of the Ickes Homes.

On Monday a new report came out from a coalition of housing groups, finding that the concentration of federal rental subsidy voucher holders in segregated, high-poverty communities has increased over the ten years of CHA’s Plan for Transformation.

From a press release:  “Because these communities continue to struggle with high rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and above average rates of crime and poor health, voucher families do not currently have a real opportunity to live in healthy communities.”

The study is available from the Natalie P. Voorhees Center at UIC; it’s sponsored by the Illinois Assisted Housing Action and Research Project, a collaboration backed by Housing Action Illinois, the Latino Policy Forum, and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.

For Ickes residents, it means they’ll be moved from an area primed for economic revival and close to downtown, out to isolated, racially and economically segregated neighborhoods – and it’s being done in the name of  a program that supposedly was intended to reduce concentrations of poverty.

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Category: housing, public housing

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