Broad Shoulders Update

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Archive for the ‘housing’ tag

Reunion at Lathrop Homes

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At Six hundred Lathrop Homes alumni will gather for a reunion on Saturday -- and to learn about the efforts of current residents to preverve the CHA development as affordable housing.

Written by Curtis

October 16th, 2009 at 9:08 pm

The biggest headlines on race, poverty

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By Kimbriell Kelly, Editor

I remember when I was a reporter and editors scrambled at the end of the year to do a big wrap-up of the year's biggest news stories. Invariably, most of the stories about poor folks and minorities didn't make the cut.

So this year, I've decided to make my own list.

There's a lot to choose from. You've got the national stuff like President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, Nobel Prize and the hits on his life from the pulpit. You also have the historic nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the East Coast controversies involving Skip Gates and some black children trying to swim at a pool in Philly.

There was a lot going on locally as well, from high foreclosures and the potential sale of Ebony magazine to Burr Oak Cemetery and the controversies surrounding our local politicians, namely Al Sanchez, Ald. Arenda Troutman, Todd Stroger and Sen. Roland Burris.

This is where you come in. I can't make this list alone. So what do you think should go on it?

Post a comment, click here or send an e-mail to

CHA commemorates 10-year anniversary of Plan for Transformation

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By Amalia Oulahan

In November, the Chicago Housing Authority will commemorate the 10 years since it initiated its Plan for Transformation. During that time, the CHA has completed 68 percent of its construction targets. It has built or rehabbed 16,936 of the 25,000 public housing units called for by the plan, according to its 2008 fiscal year annual report. How much of that merits a pat on the back? That’s a question The Chicago Reporter has been asking ever since the plan started.

Here is some of our coverage of public housing reform over the last 10 years:
The CHA Responds
Forgotten People
Let's Make a Deal
Watchdog Criticizes CHA Plan
Rising Values
Lack of Force
Court Case Threatens Civil Rights Protection
Families Still Waiting on CHA, Section 8 Lists
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Rapid Change
2000 in Review
The Unwelcome Wagon

Written by tcrBLOG

October 7th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

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Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

WIC nutrition program expands to cover fruits, vegetables,” - Los Angeles Times

Beginning today, women and children who receive food vouchers through the federal government’s WIC program will be able to use them to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s a really welcome change,” said Gail Harrison, a public health professor at UCLA who was on the national Institute of Medicine panel that recommended the revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — the first major change in the program since it began in the 1970s. “The supplemental food package contributes a very substantial share of dietary intake, and so making it healthier is all to the good.”

Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option,” -  The New York Times

ZURICH — Like every other country in Europe, Switzerland guarantees health care for all its citizens. But the system here does not remotely resemble the model of bureaucratic, socialized medicine often cited by opponents of universal coverage in the United States.

Swiss private insurers are required to offer coverage to all citizens, regardless of age or medical history. And those people, in turn, are obligated to buy health insurance.

$35 Billion Slated for Local Housing,” -  The wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is close to committing as much as $35 billion to help beleaguered state and local housing agencies continue to provide mortgages to low- and moderate-income families, according to administration officials.

The move would further cement the government’s role in propping up the housing market even as some lawmakers push to curb spending at a time of rising debt.

Written by Keith Forest

October 1st, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Rethinking Rentals

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With the rental population growing and the stock of affordable housing rentals in decline, “due to the demolition of older apartment buildings, the abandonment of foreclosed rental properties, and the conversion of rental units to sales condominiums,” John Kromer of the Fels Institute of Government identifies an anything-but-nascent problem in the housing field. In Time for HUD to Rethink Rental, Kromer cites the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s 2009 report, Out of Reach 2009: Persistent Problems, New Challenges for Renters, that points to the rising costs of affordable, two-bedroom apartments and a two-decade decline in HUD rental units, and an institutional disconnect between HUD, offices within HUD, and funding for municipalities and housing authorities, in making his case for a pretty thoughtful intervention: On a pilot-program basis, HUD should select a number of city governments that, each with the consent of their respective public housing authorities, would be eligible to receive in block-grant form the annual operating and capital funding that would ordinarily be awarded directly to the housing authority by HUDs Office of Public and Indian Housing. Although, under this proposal, a city’s municipal government would be the recipient of all of the consolidated block grant funding, the implementing agency for these activities could be a government agency, a housing or redevelopment authority, or both. Successful execution could result in nationwide implementation, Kromer writes. Read his piece here.

Written by Rooflines

October 1st, 2009 at 2:54 am

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How many Chicago renters fear a foreclosure?

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By Kelly Virella

Remember last year when we did that story about renters  getting illegally evicted because their landlords were in foreclosure?

Well, at the time we didn’t know how many tenants were trying to get help because they feared they were facing a foreclosure-related eviction. Now we have a number.

A Chicago renter’s rights group, Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) gave The Chicago Reporter data indicating that in 2008 they received 524 calls requesting information about foreclosure.

It’s hard to say where all the calls came from -- MTO didn’t provide locations for about 20 percent of the calls. But among the calls the organization assigned a location, the highest number – 31 – came from ward 24, Alderman Sharon Dixon’s ward, which is predominantly black.

The wards generating the most calls were concentrated on the city’s predominantly black West and South sides. Here’s a list of the numbers of calls each ward generated and a map of Chicago wards.

Download Calls to MTO by Ward

Download Ward Map

Sixty-five percent of all 2008 foreclosures in Chicago were in minority-majority census tracts, according to a report published by the Chicago-based National Training and Information Center.

Written by tcrBLOG

September 25th, 2009 at 9:21 pm

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Renters stressed

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At A national leader warns of "a surge of homelessness" as Metropolitan Tenants Organization releases a study showing more renters paying unaffordable rents -- and increasingly vulnerable to foreclosure-related evictions.

Written by Curtis

September 18th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

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Today in Equity

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Weekly equity news

Oakland Housing Authority creates loophole to use Section 8 funds for public housing,” - East Bay Journal

Oakland - The disposition plan for over 1,600 public housing units owned and operated by the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), signals the end of public housing as we know it if other Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) follow suit and switch to the Section 8 model being promoted by the OHA for it’s public housing program.

In a nut shell, the OHA wants to determine which of it’s small scattered public housing sites that are occupied with very low-income households, will be sold off, so that the proceeds can be used to build much larger mixed income housing projects for higher income residents, like the Hope Vl mixed income housing projects that have displaced the poor all across the nation.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Outside the Superstar Spotlight, Minorities Struggle With Obesity,” - Washington Post

As any sports fan knows, this time of year is like Christmas in September. The NFL season is about to start, and the speed, power and grace of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is on display. The U.S. Open is in full swing, with Serena Williams tearing through the field as usual. Baseball is heading toward the playoffs; the superhuman Albert Pujols has a shot at the Triple Crown. The majestic Michael Jordan was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame and it won’t be long before Kobe and LeBron are back on the floor.

Yet here is the irony I couldn’t escape as I sat in front of my television last week, taking it all in: The overall fitness level of the minority groups those superstars represent is appalling. By any measure that matters, blacks and Hispanics are in worse shape than whites — who, of course, are firmly in the grip of the obesity epidemic themselves.

Written by Keith Forest

September 15th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

Tennessee Experiment’s High Cost Fuels Health-Care Debate,” - The Wall Street Journal

In 1994, Tennessee launched an ambitious public insurance program to cover its uninsured. The plan, TennCare, fulfilled that mission but nearly bankrupted the state in the process.

 ”Poll: 57% don’t see stimulus working,” - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to right the nation’s economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession.

 ”New Orleans Neighborhood Housing Services to run $20 million home repair effort,” - The Times-Picayune

The city is negotiating a deal with the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services to run a home-repair program that would make nearly $20 million available to owners of storm-damaged property, according to a recent city memo describing the proposal.

Written by Keith Forest

August 18th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

A Victory for Fair Housing

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This week’s landmark fair housing settlement in Westchester County is a reminder that we still have a long way to go to achieve truly fair, equitable communities in America – but that we’ve also got the tools we need to make real progress.

The case brought into stark relief the impact that where we live has on how we live. Communities disconnected from jobs, good schools, parks, and other amenities do not provide the opportunities to succeed that all people need and deserve. Far too often, residents of low-income communities and westchesterhousing.jpgcommunities of color are literally cut off from real economic and social opportunity.

While individual discriminatory landlords have long been targeted by advocates and local law enforcement, the broader community- and region-wide issue of housing segregation has rarely been given this much ink – and federal attention. By re-opening that discussion and bringing tangible measuring sticks to bear, the Westchester case has given a jolt of energy to efforts to fight regional housing segregation.

The case has garnered much-deserved attention in large part because of three important developments:

  • An Equity Standard

By putting the onus for housing integration directly on affluent communities, this settlement helped create a benchmark for equity in all communities.

  • White House Backing

When the Obama Administration (through HUD Assistant Secretary Ron Sims) spoke out  in favor of residential integration, the full force of the federal government came with it.  Bold federal leadership is required to bring the broad solutions needed to address this deep-seated problem.

  • Power of the Purse

By tying federal money for infrastructure to an affirmative effort to integrate housing, the federal government used its primary lever (its money) to advance equity and opportunity for millions of Americans.

By ruling for the plaintiffs that the federal money for community development requires an affirmative effort to integrate housing, the courts affirmed that the federal government can use its primary lever (its infrastructure money) to advance equity and opportunity for millions of Americans.

We hope Westchester County steps up to its settlement to begin to open new doors to communities of opportunity.  PolicyLink, in the meantime, wants to work with the growing ranks of equity advocates to build on this win and continue pushing for robust expansion of these approaches from local, state and federal resources.

Written by Kalima Rose

August 14th, 2009 at 7:27 pm