Our thanks to WBEZ’s Natalie Moore for leading today’s discussion about public housing and the neighborhoods that economic development always seem to pass by.
Guests include WBEZ bloggers Britt Julious and Achy Obejas, and We The People Media’s Ethan Michaeli.
The conversation begins with an analysis of the CHA’s Plan Forward, which Michaeli calls disappointing for its lack of scope and general vision. The effect of CHA’s voucher plan, he says, is that it displaces other non-voucher residents who might not otherwise find affordable options. Since the former CHA tenants are using their vouchers because their CHA unit was demolished, the CHA’s actions have deprived lower-income residents of not one, but in effect two, housing units.
Obejas points out that vouchers don’t offer enough funding for any but the least-expensive apartments, so former CHA residents are being marginalized into poorer and poorer neighborhoods, or out of the city completely.
Juious says that economic development skips over African-American communities so often and so consistently that it’s difficult not to conclude that race itself is the driving factor.
All of the guests say they’re puzzled by Mayor Emanuel’s apparent lack of involvement with the affordable-housing issue, since he rode to office with such clear support from the black community.