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Housing Thu May 13 2010
The Trib reported Monday that the Chicago Housing Authority is reopening the waiting list for public housing that it closed in 1999. Five thousand families are still on that list--families who make less than 80 percent of their area median income.
The article does not give any estimates on how many families will apply to the list, but if the recently reopened Section 8 waiting list is any indication, demand will far outstrip supply.
"In 2008 the CHA opened up its waiting list for Section 8 housing, which provides vouchers to help people pay for rent with federal and state money. For that waiting list, about 232,000 people applied for 40,000 slots," the article said.
D. Bradford Hunt, associate professor of social science at Roosevelt University and author of Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing, foresees a torrent of new applications.
"I have no doubt the waiting list will just explode," he said.
Chicago has been part of what Hunt called an "affordable housing crisis nationwide" for many years, and the city's attempts to mitigate the crisis are held up as how not to provide housing for poor residents. But with 5,000 low-income families still waiting for public housing after more than a decade and a ratio of Section 8 applicants-to-openings of nearly six to one, how are poor families in Chicago keeping a roof over their heads?
"I have no idea," said Hunt. "They're paying a lot of rent somewhere."