Although many HOPE VI sites have found the task of resident relocation very challenging, Chicago faced a set of circumstances that made relocation especially difficult. In this brief, we address the question of what has happened to the original residents, including the type of housing assistance they received and where they lived in 2009, eight years after the Madden/Wells redevelopment started.
Despite a number of challenges, we found that by 2009, all of the residents had relocated and nearly one in five former Madden/Wells residents was living in a new mixed-income housing development. Most of the former Madden/Wells residents—regardless of their type of housing assistance—reported that their current housing and neighborhood was better than Madden/Wells. However, only a minority lived in economically or racially diverse neighborhoods that offer real opportunities for themselves and their children.
The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full report in PDF format. Part of the CHA Families and the Plan for Transformation brief series.
Although many HOPE VI sites have found
the task of resident relocation very challenging,
Chicago faced a set of circumstances
that made relocation especially
difficult. Like most housing authorities,
when the Chicago Housing Authority
(CHA) began implementing its revitalization
plans, the agency had little experience
in providing case management or relocation
services. Adding to the lack of experience,
with 25,000 units to be “transformed”
and tens of thousands of households to
relocate, the magnitude of the problem was
daunting. Finally, CHA’s residents were
especially disadvantaged: because of the
terrible conditions in CHA’s family developments,
many tenants who had better
options had left long ago, leaving behind
a population dominated by extremely
vulnerable families (Popkin et al. 2000).
Not surprisingly, the CHA has struggled
with relocation, and the process was initially
very contentious, with two lawsuits filed
against the agency and a court-appointed
independent monitor overseeing relocation
The Relocation Rights Contract, negotiated
in 2000, formally spelled out the
CHA’s obligations to leaseholders during
the transformation process. The contract
defined the terms for lease compliance and
the steps residents could take to “cure”
lease violations and remain eligible to
move into replacement housing in the new
mixed-income developments. The contract
also specified the services to be offered to
residents while they waited for permanent
housing. By the time the CHA began largescale
relocation in Madden/Wells, the
agency’s relocation and supportive service
system evolved to become unusually comprehensive
and included relocation counseling
and case management (Popkin 2010).
The CHA’s HOPE VI plans for
Madden/Wells called for demolishing the
entire development—nearly 3,000 units in
three adjacent developments—and replacing
it with a new mixed-income community
called Oakwood Shores. In Madden/Wells,
unlike most of its other HOPE VI sites, the
CHAused a staged relocation plan, meaning
that the site was not cleared before new
construction began. Instead, the agency left
original buildings standing and occupied,
as other buildings were demolished and
new housing was constructed on the site
(Popkin 2010). The CHA did not complete
relocation and close the development until August 2008. In this brief, we address the
question of what has happened to the
original residents, including the type of
housing assistance they received and where
they lived in 2009, eight years after the
Madden/Wells redevelopment started.
(End of excerpt. The full report is available in PDF format.)
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