Public housing advocates protest CHA's 2024 plan, say more affordable housing needed now

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Public housing advocates protest CHA's 2024 plan
Community public housing advocates protested outside Chicago Housing Authority headquarters in the Loop, demanding more affordable housing now.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Community public housing advocates protested outside Chicago Housing Authority headquarters in the Loop Tuesday.

Many residents are displeased with CHA's Draft 2024 Annual Plan.

"Yet again, CHA is trying to get rid of more public housing land," said Rod Wilson of Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

According to the city document, CHA lists more than 1,200 vacant properties that may be considered for possible disposition, meaning the city could potentially sell or lease that land.

"We have over 50,000 people on the CHA waiting list, so it seems like the priority should be building housing," Wilson said.

CHA said it's federally required to list all of their vacant properties in their yearly plan, which may or may not be redeveloped in the future. But with evictions on the rise and the city in a housing crisis while more migrants arrive every day, Chicagoans who have been trying to get access to affordable housing are frustrated.

"They're homeless now. They need a place to stay," said Beverly Feagins, who is on the housing waitlist. "But you've got people coming from around the world and you're getting money and you're placing them. We've been laying out there 20 years. We need help, Mayor Johnson. We need help."

Residents on the waitlist said the city is in dire need of developing more public housing, not less.

"How can you sell something that's not really yours? It doesn't belong to you. We are hurting," said Deborrah Tipps, on housing waitlist.

Tipps grew up in the Cabrini Green public housing. After 10 years there, she said she and her mother left because it was so dangerous.

"We had nowhere else to go, but we had to the leave there to be safe. And still waiting," she said.

Her mother waited for 28 years before they finally placed her in another home. Tipps has been on the waitlist for nine years.

"I was always raised and taught you take care of home first. This is home," she said.

Right now, CHA said there are 16 housing developments currently under construction around the city, including at Cabrini Green, which will add hundreds more housing units.

The public comment period on CHA's plan ends Wednesday. It will then be submitted to the Board of Commissioners for approval.