Melissa Frazin | Chicago Reader

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Re: “The fight to preserve a model public housing project

As anyone who has tried to rent an apartment in the Roscoe Village, West Lakeview areas knows, rent is going up and becoming more expensive. Those on limited incomes can't afford market-rate rents and this is WHY public housing exists, to give options to people who can't afford market-rate rents. The beauty of Lathrop Homes is that it sits in an area that has many amenities - grocery stores, restaurants, access to some public transit (Diversey Bus, Belmont bus) and thus residents can get to where they need to go easily. The majority of public housing in Chicago that is STILL around is not located in a similar area and Lathrop Homes is the most diverse public housing development left in Chicago.

It seems to me that the CHA is trying to get out of the business of providing public housing and instead wants to privatize everything and give lots of money to real estate developers (i.e. Related Midwest, etc) in the process. Yet, the PURPOSE of the Chicago HOUSING Authority should be to provide housing to residents who cannot afford market-rate rents. What will the CHA do once they have given away all of this public land to real estate developers who then get rich off of us taxpayers?

In my opinion, what is going on at Lathrop is a land grab, pure and simple. Now that the area around Lathrop has gentrified, no one wants poor people living there, instead the yuppies and gentrifers want access to riverfront property. Where exactly should poor people live in Chicago? People with limited incomes are getting pushed to the south and west sides of the city (and even out of the city to southern and western suburbs). The south and the west sides are devoid of the types of opportunities that are available to the residents at Lathrop Homes. The land at Lathrop Homes should be used for public housing residents and the buildings should be rehabbed into modern apartments. Mixed-income housing has never been proven to work in the first-place and Roscoe Village and West Lakeview has enough market-rate condos and apartments. Chicago needs MORE public and affordable housing not less. Thanks for writing this story and bringing publicity to a very important issue.

24 likes, 32 dislikes
Posted by Melissa Frazin on 06/13/2014 at 8:28 AM

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