Defacto Shelters

Research Report

Defacto Shelters

Homeless Living in Vacant Public Housing Units


As Chicago's public housing is demolished to make way for new mixed-income communities, an unknown number of homeless squatters living illegally in vacant public housing units will also lose their housing. As illegal squatters, these residents have neither legal right to relocation services nor the right to return to revitalized developments. This study has two main research objectives. The first is to count the number of homeless people illegally living in Ida B. Wells, a public housing development slated for demolition. We hope that quantifying the extent of the homelessness problem at Wells will assist policymakers in developing an effective response. The second objective is to understand the squatters' current living situations, the factors that contributed to their homelessness, and their service needs.

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