|HUD No. 00-25|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||February 7, 2000|
CUOMO, DALEY, & RUSH UNVEIL AGREEMENT TO PROTECT CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY RESIDENTS AND SUPPORT REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
CHICAGO - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today agreed to give the Chicago Housing Authority permission to implement a plan to replace or renovate 25,000 units of deteriorated public housing, and the CHA agreed to strong safeguards to protect the rights of displaced families.
HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo traveled to Chicago to join Mayor Richard Daley, Congressman Bobby Rush, Congressman Danny Davis, Senator Richard Durbin and CHA residents to announce the agreement to expedite the CHA's plan over the next 10 years and to protect residents.
President Clinton said: "The agreement announced today between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Chicago and its residents is an important step towards ensuring that Chicago provides decent and safe public housing. I commend Mayor Daley for his willingness to propose a bold and innovative plan to change the face of public housing in Chicago, and Secretary Cuomo for forging an agreement that protects public housing residents while providing substantial flexibility to the City. I applaud Mayor Daley, Congressmen Bobby Rush and Danny Davis for their leadership and their efforts to work together in transforming public housing throughout the City. "
Secretary Cuomo said: "Everyone agrees that change must occur at the CHA. The City rightly wants redevelopment to move quickly. Residents are understandably concerned about losing their homes and being forced to move. Our challenge was to make the plan work for both the City and the residents, or ultimately it will not work at all. Today's agreement provides the City with the flexibility the CHA needs to move forward, while protecting CHA families during the demolition and relocation."
The Resident Protection Agreement approved by the CHA was sought by HUD, CHA residents, and Congressmen Rush and Davis. This agreement will ensure that residents receive legally enforceable guarantees of HUD-subsidized housing both during and after the demolition, relocation and rebuilding of public housing. Some residents will get rental assistance subsidies under the Section 8 program, and some will get the opportunity to move into new public housing.
Under the action taken today by HUD, the CHA will receive 10 years of block grant and other funding - including more than $1.5 billion in redevelopment funds - to demolish and replace or renovate 25,000 public housing units.
HUD approved 27 of 29 requests for waivers made by the CHA. The CHA dropped requests for nine waivers in its final submission. The approved waivers permit the CHA to seek flexible financing for the redevelopment plan, and encourage the CHA to streamline management processes.
PROTECTIONS FOR CHA RESIDENTS
Protections for CHA residents in the agreement include the following actions:
- CHA agreed to demolish apartments only when a survey shows there is enough affordable housing in the Chicago housing market to provide every displaced family with a home.
- CHA agreed that residents will have a legally enforceable right of return to public or assisted housing if temporarily displaced by redevelopment activities.
- CHA agreed to a substantial program of mobility counseling and relocation assistance will be available for CHA residents temporarily displaced by redevelopment.
- CHA agreed that there will be a full public comment and hearing processes for any of the specific plans undertaken or leases established under the CHA redevelopment plan.
- CHA agreed to a ensure that 50 percent of its redevelopment contracts will go to minority/women-owned business contracts. This will maximize the economic benefits of the redevelopment plan in the affected communities.
- CHA agreed to undertake a series of efforts to combat discrimination based on race, family status, disability or source of income.
HUD denied the CHA's request for a waiver of the inspection system that monitors the quality and conditions of public housing stock. This system ensures that minimum conditions of health and safety are met in occupied units.
HUD also denied a waiver request by the CHA that would have eliminated annual inspections of Section 8 housing units, but approved the CHA's request to develop a streamlined inspection protocol for Section 8 buildings less than five years old.
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 the CHA from HUD's troubled public housing list last year and returned the CHA to local control in June 1999, after progress was made in improving living conditions and management performance. Local control was conditioned on the City developing a plan for long- term revitalization.
Federal policy implemented three years ago requires housing authorities to demolish non-viable housing developments, and prepare a plan for redevelopment. That effort has successfully transformed poorly designed and built public housing into attractive, mixed income communities throughout the country. The program is underway and working in Baltimore, Washington, St. Louis, and dozens of other cities.
HUD began the demolition of the first 6,100 units in Chicago during the Department's stewardship of the CHA, including the demolition in 1998 of the notorious "Hole" - the most oppressive section of the Robert Taylor Homes. HUD has also provided $150 million in new development funding during the past three years.
In September 1999, the CHA released its draft plan for redevelopment to comply with federal law. HUD and the CHA held public hearings on the plan in which residents raised concerns about relocation and the extent of the waivers of federal regulations sought by the CHA. Congressmen Bobby Rush, Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson, Jr. raised similar concerns to HUD.
In response, in November 1999, HUD issued proposed resolutions that would allow the CHA plan to move forward while addressing resident concerns. The City submitted a final plan on January 7 incorporating HUD tenant protection provisions and dropping 25 percent of the waiver requests. The Central Advisory Council, representing residents of the CHA, raised additional objections to the plan and sought additional tenant protections. In mid January, HUD began intensive negotiations with the City, CHA, CAC, and Congressman Rush. Today's agreement is the result of those negotiations.
STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT FOR HUD-CHA AGREEMENT
Congressman Bobby Rush: "I am cautiously optimistic. Over the last several days, I have participated in serious and spirited negotiations. We all agree that CHA should be transformed. Now that there's an agreement, vigilance and seriousness must be maintained at all steps of implementation. There can be no reneging on this agreement."
Congressman Danny Davis: "The time has come to implement a new Public Housing Strategy for Chicago and for the nation. This transformation plan, which has been worked through with opportunity for input from all stakeholders, is a movement in a positive direction. However, let us not confuse this plan with the overall need for additional public housing resources -money, opportunity, land - for low-income and poor people in the Chicago metropolitan area. This is a separate question, which we must continue to address and advocate for. I commend HUD, CHA, the City of Chicago, CHA residents and all of those who have worked to bring this plan to fruition."
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: "I am glad the time has come to fulfill our pledge to give families and seniors in Chicago a decent place to live. I applaud Mayor Daley for his effort and thank Secretary Cuomo for working with city officials to make this ambitious plan a working reality."
Mamie Bone, Chairperson of the Central Advisory Council of CHA residents: "We thank HUD Secretary Cuomo for his leadership and his commitment to insuring that his plan would see the light of day. We thank our Congressmen Rush and Davis, Mayor Daley, CHA Chairperson Mrs. Sharon Gist Gilliam, CHA CEO Mr. Phillip Jackson, and CHA staff, all of whom have worked diligently with CAC residents and CAC technical advisors to produce this plan. CAC residents will continue to work with the CHA to improve the plan."