Activists accuse CHA of violating Fair Housing Act

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The Chicago Housing Authority will hold its annual meeting Tuesday morning.

On the agenda, two proposals to sell or swap land that was once the site of public housing.
Some Bronzeville community activist say those proposals are in a effect using taxpayer dollars to replace people.

At 51st and State Street, the land was once part of the sprawling Robert Taylor Housing Project is now slated for sale to a private developer who wants to build a recreational facility and other commercial development.

“This is a planned way to displace blacks using taxpayer dollars.  That’s not acceptable,” said Roderick Wilson, Executive Director of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

The group held a quiet protest Monday morning outside the CHA headquarters on East Van Buren Street.

Wilson said CHA demolished 4,400 units of public housing at Robert Taylor, but by his estimation has only replaced 300 of the 800 units promised.

Wilson is also concerned about the plan to swap property at 22nd and State Street that was once home to the Harold Ickes Homes with the city of Chicago so the CTA can build a Green Line stop at Cermak.

Again, Wilson claims CHA has not plan for replacement housing there either.  “We believe it’s a violation of the Fair Housing Act.  They have thousands of vacancies that they’re not leasing up, there are Section 8 vouchers that they’re not giving out.  So then what’s happening with the people most vulnerable in our community, which are mainly black people?” said Wilson.
In a statement, CHA officials point out the 51st and State Street development would be sold at market value and is being bought by a non-profit organization that provides after-school programming.  The site at Cermak and State Street is being swapped out for land by Near North high school for mixed-used and mixed development.

CHA says there will be sufficient land to allow for housing development and for residents who have the right to return.

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