Rahm Emanuel Continues to Displace Low-Income Families

Teachers and CTU supporters march past boarded-up apartments designated for demolition on the southside of Chicago.

Teachers and CTU supporters march past boarded-up apartments designated for demolition on the southside of Chicago.

As previously stated in A Just Chicago, the CHA has been sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in cash reserves.  On Wednesday, July 8 the secretary of the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office reiterated this fact at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the former site of the Stateway Gardens public housing development, now re-christened as a mixed-income development called Park Boulevard.

HUD estimates that the CHA is sitting on $440 million and wants to know what Mayor Emanuel’s plans are for using it. There are nearly 300,000 families on the CHA waitlist. Only 7% of the new units in the Park Boulevard development are “affordable,” and 8% are public housing. That’s 71 out of 475 units available to a family of four earning at most $45,600 annually.

Median household income for census tracts 3515 and 3805.

Median household income for census tracts 3515 and 3805.

Median family income for the two census tracts for Park Boulevard was only about $32,000 in 2013. Affordable housing is defined as rent or mortgage not surpassing 30% of household income. Almost 70% of residents would qualify for affordable housing in the new Park Boulevard development yet only 15% of the units are designated as such.

Thus, it is apparent that the city is continuing in its endeavor to push out low-income families and use federal subsidies to build housing in the private market for middle-class and wealthy residents. The CHA is sitting on a huge pile of money that is causing concern for the federal government, yet there are still no details on how the city plans to use the money to build much-needed affordable housing.

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About Sarah Rothschild

Sarah Rothschild is a researcher for the Chicago Teachers Union, focusing on privatization, district finances, school facilities, community development and a variety of topics that affect public education.

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