The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago:
Protest to Defend Public Housing

Apr 25, 2016

On March 20th, hundreds of protesters demonstrated against the development plans of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) for Lathrop Homes. This agency wants to turn 1,208 housing units over to a wealthy developer, Related Midwest. It’s part of an overall plan by the city to transform the whole area into an upper income area.

Lathrop Homes is a low rise complex of buildings built in the 1930s. It had been a decent place to live, with a lot of nice landscaping and solidly made buildings. But the CHA didn’t let new tenants into Lathrop as residents left, leaving the units to run down in order to prepare for the developer. This was done despite the fact that there are people who have been on the CHA waiting list for 20 years waiting for an apartment, which is a testament to how poor private housing is where they live.

The CHA says it will provide 525 units of low income housing elsewhere on the north side of Chicago. Nothing but a promise. And residents know all about false promises by the CHA.

In the meantime, while waiting, where do the Lathrop Homes people go? Out of the 3,600 homes in ABLA, there are only 1,000 today. Out of 4,400 in Robert Taylor Homes, only 305 were replaced.

The basic structures of the Lathrop buildings are fine. Tenants who demand to stay should be left to live there. Vacant units should be fixed up for the long list of people waiting for space.

Obviously one protest won’t change the CHA. But people are right to protest, and keep expanding their protest. Ordinary people should be able to enjoy a decent location in good publicly run housing. Why enrich a developer who’s lived off of Chicago workers’ tax money for years?