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After Wells: Where Are the Residents Now?

CHA Families and the Plan for Transformation Series

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Document date: August 11, 2010
Released online: August 11, 2010

Abstract

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.

Introduction

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 (Popkin 2006).

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.)



Topics/Tags: | Cities and Neighborhoods | Crime/Justice | Employment | Families and Parenting


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