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Protesters Call For More Affordable Housing Outside CHA HQ

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Housing Authority holds its monthly meeting Tuesday to discuss possibly re-designating CHA land once used for the now shuttered Harold Ickes Homes and Robert Taylor Homes for other uses, including athletic facilities for Jones High School in the South Loop and a possible a tennis facility that would be run by the XS Tennis and Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides after-school programming.

But some Chicagoans are worried that affordable housing is slipping away and several dozen gathered for a protest at CHA Headquarters at 60 East Van Buren on Monday morning.

They chanted “What do we want? Replacement housing! And when do want it? Now!”

Rod Wilson, Executive Director of Lugenia Burns Hope Center, stated his view bluntly. “Taxpayer dollars should not used to displace blacks.”

Janice Haney is a former resident of the Robert Taylor development, said “this is critical, we all need a decent place to live in.”

Wilson also said “Robert Taylor Homes had 44-hundred units for public housing….and the (CHA’s) “Plan for Transformation” were only going to bring back 800 units, that’s not ever 20 percent…and at this point only 300 units have been built.”

Wendy Parks, Director of Communications for CHA, told WBBM “there has been no transferring of land as of yet or anything like that. These are simply plans for an amendment to the “Moving to Work Plan.”

The CHA also says residents are not displaced, that other residences are found for them and, specifically, anyone who was a CHA resident as of October 1, 1999 has a “right to return” to that area in which they lived if they were forced to move because of any development.

The CHA also says its proposal to possibly re-designate some land for other uses has been open for public comment for months, with little feedback, and still needs approval by the CHA Board, and HUD.

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