Chicago Housing Authority Essay, Research Paper
Chicago?s Public Housing
The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) was organized in 1937 to provide temporary housing for those people whose incomes were insufficient to obtain decent, safe and sanitary dwellings in the private market (Basics 1). Over time, the notion of “temporary” housing became lost, and generations upon generations of low-income families came to depend upon this government safety net as a permanent way of life. From there, life in public housing degenerated into warehouses for the poor, plagued by crime, drugs, and welfare dependency (Reingold 470).
Residents of Chicago?s public housing programs represent roughly about 5% of the city’s population (Bezalel & Ferrera). Because of their limited income, these residents look to CHA for a decent place to live and a rent they can afford. Chicago Housing Authority also provides facilities and other resources to public and private agencies offering residents supportive services in health care, education, recreation, child development, employment, public assistance and counseling.
The problem with Chicago’s public housing programs however, lies in the fact that they only house poor and nonworking families. More than 80 percent of Cabrini Green’s residents for example, earn less than $8,000 yearly (Venkatesh 1). With these high concentrations of poor family, crimes become part of life.
In 1998 alone, there were more than 5000 crimes committed in CHA property by CHA residence. The CHA owns some 28,000 apartments, a very large chunk of which are physically damage and often plagued with crimes and drugs (Problems 1).
But even with their limited capital funds, excessive overhead costs, and public misconception, the CHA is tying their best to improve the situation for their residence. A $315 million dollars plan is underway for redevelopment of Cabrini Green, CHA most famous of all housing projects. The area is schedule for mixed-income usage, with row housing, duplexes, and mid-rise buildings alongside rehabilitated high-rise structures.
A new town center with shopping facilities, new schools, a district police station, and a library has been promised. Dominick’s, a large grocery store chain, has already committed itself to becoming part of this village of opportunity.
Since 1995, the CHA has spent approximately $50 million on redevelopment activities, including the demolition of 1,190 units of public housing, the rehabilitation of 2,178 units, and the construction of 455 new units. In all, more than 1,300 of old and damage Cabrini Green’s housing units will be demolished and an estimated 2,000 to 2,300 new housing units will be constructed (Ranney and Wright).
The solution to public housing?s problems isn?t just up to the CHA alone. The people who live in public housing must be permitted and must take the initiative to get involved. And all of us have to care about the problem enough to be willing to spend the time and money to provide and maintain housing for the poor and to ?get involved to ensure that public housing is operated in the best interests of all of us? (Venkatesh 1).
?Basics of Public Housing.? 14 March 1996 p1.
David Ranney & Pat Wright. “Plan for Transformation.” Tribune editorial. 14 January 2000
Marlo Roache. ?Public housing: Big problems for small cities? Sun Washington bureau. July 28, 1997
Reingold, David. Inner City Public Housing? Journal of Urban Affairs. v.19 n.4, pp.469-486.
Ronit Bezalel & Antonio Ferrera. ?Voices of Carbini.? 1995.
?Problems facing public housing? 1998. p1.
Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh. ?An Invisible Community: Inside Chicago’s Public Housing? p1.
?The talking Drum?
21 February 2000.