The U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on Friday said it has to pull $1.7 billion in cash aid from the U.S. Treasury to help cover the agency's losses mainly due to reverse mortgages which are available to homeowners aged 62 or older.
Public Housing activists say it is unacceptable that the Chicago
Housing Authority (CHA) has once again broken its promise to deliver
replacement housing units for former residents of the now demolished
Harold Ickes Homes, which saw its last families move out in 2010.
Ickes public housing buildings on the near South Side had more than
1,000 units before they were torn down between 2009 to 2010. CHA has
yet to bring back 312 replacement units that it promised to construct,
and it appears there are no concrete plans to build any of them in 2014,
according to CHA's proposed 2014 Moving to Work (MTW) Annual Plan.
Thursday, more than a dozen former Ickes residents and their supporters
gathered at a vacant lot at State Street and Cermak Road, one of the
former Ickes sites.
"It is unfortuante that every time
that housing numbers were supposed to be promised, those numbers were
reduced," said the Rev. Robert Jones of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. "The
city talks about the economics, but yet money is found to put a
tremendously large DePaul center not very far from here, and yet we
still have this vacant field."
By providing BJB Properties, and other building owners, with
financial support for the purchase and renovation of housing
developments in Chicago, First Merit Bank is an accomplice to the
decimation of the city’s affordable housing, according to a group of
protesters who took their message to a downtown branch on Friday.
not investing money to develop communities, they’re investing money
based on real estate speculation. That’s not in the best interest of the
tenants,” said Marc Kaplan, one of roughly 10 participants in Friday’s rally and a member
of Northside Action for Justice. “There’s no affordable housing left on
the North Side.”
Housing activists are outraged that Chicago Housing
Authority (CHA) officials are looking to remove more than 47,000 people from its public
housing and voucher wait list as proposed in its Moving to Work
(MTW) Annual Plan for fiscal year 2014.
“I am stunned by CHA’s
decision to strip so many people permanently off the list and to deprive
them of a chance for affordable housing,” Mary Nelson, who is homeless
and currently on the wait list, said before CHA’s public hearing Wednesday evening regarding the draft plan.
people in Illinois often run into roadblocks when they try to vote,
apply for a job and access various public services due to their housing
But Illinois took a significant step earlier this month to
help improve the situation of those without a roof over their heads by
becoming the second U.S. state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights.
the new state law, which took effect immediately, people cannot be
discriminated against or denied basic equal rights merely because they
lack a permanent address.
Bob Palmer, policy director at Housing
Action Illinois, said the recent effort is also about ending the stigma
associated with people who are experiencing homelessness.
thing that everyone who is homeless has in common is that they can’t
afford a home, and so homelessness is really an economic problem,”
Palmer said. “To focus on somebody’s personal short comings is a
diversion from the real problem.”