Say goodbye to public housing's critical mass

The Chicago Reporter recently rolled out an impressive package of articles and graphs documenting the decline of the Chicago Housing Authority‘s political clout over the last eight years.

According to the feature, which drew on numbers provided by the Board of Elections, the CHA’s ongoing overhaul of its public housing developments has resulted in fewer low-income voters in each ward – thereby threatening the funding of the CHA by diluting this critical voting populace.

In 2000 about 94 percent of voters at the 22 developments analyzed by The Chicago Reporter were clustered in eight wards in November 2000. Public housing voters accounted for nearly 23 percent of all voters in the 3rd Ward, nearly 17 percent in the 2nd Ward and about 9 percent in both the 4th and 9th wards.

But by September 2007, those who still remained on the voting rolls were spread out among all 50 wards in the city and accounted for no more than 5.4 percent of the voters in any ward.

As part of the CHA’s $1.6 billion transformation plan, affordable housing units have been inserted into a number of mixed-income developments around the city. Read more about affordable housing topics on YoChicago.


  • Jane 11 years

    I wonder if these are the same people that voted for Stroger.

  • UptownR 11 years

    If we want true integration these former CHA residents would be relocated to the North Shore and Oak Brook/Hinsdale. Instead they end up in the South Suburbs or other Chicago ghettos.

  • Alan 11 years

    I actually think this is a good thing. It means that CHA is not concentrating many lower income people in a few places, but rather spreading them.

  • Pete 11 years

    Does anyone think it will ever be politically viable to put public housing on the North Shore? We all know why that will never happen.

  • Pete,

    Your ignorance is a bottomless well on which you continue to draw.

    The last time I checked Evanston and Wilmette were still on the North Shore.

    Evanston has a number of initiatives under way. You’ll get hits on both Evanston and Wilmette if you conduct a search at HUD’s Subsidized Apartment Search site.

    Does anyone think that Pete will ever get anything right?

  • huh 11 years

    Time to redo the ward maps? How many more yuppies are in the City? Do not have proper representation? Cong. Davis? Gone. Ald Burrentt, the pardoned robber? Gone. etc etc Schulter and Tunny’s wards should be 4 wards. As the Chicago population goes vertical (more condos, more voters stacked ontop of each other) the different the wards need to be. The old jurymadering around the long gone high rise projects needs to stop.

  • Kristy 11 years

    When CHA families relocate with a Section 8 voucher to the private market, there are no stipulations as to what neighborhood or suburb they go to (just need a willing landlord whose unit will pass inspection). As for the south suburbs, very few have moved there. Most of the voucher holders there receive their subsidy from the Cook County Housing Authority, not CHA. As for CHA’s funding, it comes from the feds and is tied to occupied units. I don’t get how their funding will be negatively impacted by its residents no longer being crammed into a few wards.

  • UptownR 11 years

    Yes Pete, it’s not politically viable to create NEW public housing anywhere. But it’s also ridiculous for the city to shoulder the burden for the entire metropolitan area. The large urban ghettos were created by the choices of the middle class, who had the money and mobility to move out into automobile-centered suburbs (redlining, FHA loans, and racism played a large part as well). Things are once again in flux, and it will be interesting to see what the new equilbrium will be if we ever reach one again… What will Chicago look like in 50 years? Will the urban center be populated largely by the rich with some fringy suburbs and outer city neighborhoods for the poor (similar to many European cities)? Will expensive gas and resource shortages reshape our metropolitain areas? Will we continue to spread out? It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

  • huh 11 years

    My prediction is that many of the empty condo units that cant sell for thier wild asking prices and can’t rent to cover the nut will turn into Section 8.

    The trapped yuppies will learn all about diversification. I find it funny that the voucher people’s end of the lease is only $100/mo to live in the same building some dumb yup is mortgaged almost a half a million dollars. That $100 is even less than the yups monthly asessment!

    What’s even funnier is that (esp in the Cabrini Grn area) the Realtor told the yups that “those people” will be moved out. Little did they know that they would be moving into the gsrden unit of thier 3 flat.

  • huh,

    Your predition, as usual, is worthless.