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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-221
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 29, 1999


CHICAGO - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will hold the first of several planned federal public hearings Saturday on the Chicago Housing Authority's proposal to overhaul the third-largest public housing authority in the country.

The hearing will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Saint Stephen African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2000 W. Washington Blvd. in Chicago.

HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Harold Lucas will be joined at the hearing by Congressmen Danny K. Davis and Bobby Rush, along with these other HUD officials: General Counsel Gail Laster, Counselor Howard Glaser, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Amy Wilkinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Ken Williams, Director of the Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships Father Joseph Hacala, Senior Counsel for Fair Housing and Civil Rights Mercedes Marquez, and Kendra Proctor of the Office of Policy Development and Research.

The federal officials will hear from CHA administrators, public housing residents, tenant organizations, employees, and others impacted by the CHA proposal.

"This proposal will have a far-reaching impact on CHA residents and Chicago neighborhoods for generations to come," Lucas said. "The city wants flexibility, the tenants want protection, and we want to achieve both objectives. It is vital that the process of shaping a plan for the transformation of the CHA be deliberate and include those who must live every day with the decisions we are being asked to make. We're here to listen."

Congressman Davis said: "The future of public housing is seriously linked to the future of Chicago. Therefore, I urge all Chicagoans to attend public hearings with regard to what that future should be, including hearings sponsored by HUD, as well as those sponsored by CHA."

Congressman Rush said: "No CHA plan should move forward without community involvement and input. The lives of thousands of residents in the city will be affected, and their voices must be heard."

The public housing overhaul proposal was developed by the CHA to address the considerable challenges faced in improving conditions CHA properties.

Under the proposal, CHA would request $1.5 billion in guaranteed funding from HUD over 10 years and a relaxation of federal rules to permit demolition of more than 14,000 of the existing 38,000 units of public housing. The plan calls for the relocation of more than 6,000 families.

Major elements of the CHA proposal require HUD approval before they can take effect.

In May 1995, because of deteriorated living conditions and years of management problems at CHA properties, the CHA Board of Commissioners voted to transfer control of the Housing Authority to HUD.

HUD removed CHA from its troubled public housing list last year and returned the CHA to local control on June 1 this year, after progress had been made in improving living conditions and management performance, as well as building a successful partnership between public housing residents and CHA.

Under an agreement signed last May, Chicago, HUD and CHA agreed to begin a planning process that will result in a "Performance Compact" by the end of the year. The compact will establish an action plan to transform public housing in Chicago. The agreement also gives the city more flexibility in its use of HUD funds and real estate assessment process.

HUD will accept the submission of CHA's plan by December 1 and upon review, will work with CHA to put it into effect on January 1, 2000.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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