The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Chicago Public Housing—“Mission Accomplished”

Oct 16, 2017

The head of the Chicago Housing Authority plans to declare “Mission Accomplished” on their signature project, the Plan for Transformation, by the end of the year. The plan was started by Mayor Daley in 1999. Current mayor Rahm Emanuel then served as the vice-chair of CHA’s board. It was called “the largest, most ambitious redevelopment of public housing in the United States.” But it’s not hard to see through the politicians’ BS to see what was actually “accomplished.” The shoddy state of the buildings was used as the excuse to drive many public housing residents out of the city.

The original plan was to replace or rehabilitate 25,000 public housing units over the course of 10 years. Daley’s “promise” was to replace all the housing that was torn down. Some of the biggest housing developments in the country, including the notorious Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini Green, were demolished, and quickly. But those units were not all rebuilt—the Sun Times reports CHA destroyed 13,000 units it never intended to replace. Add that to units promised but not yet built, and the city has 17,000 fewer units of family housing than it did at the beginning of the plan.

Armesha Jones, a former resident of the Cabrini Green project, who now lives in a mixed income “replacement” building, notes that developments like these “can’t camouflage what’s going on in the city.” And what’s going on is a purge: the black population in Chicago has fallen by 200,000 since 2000, when the plan began, and by 40,000 just last year alone.

The housing authority has a reserve fund of a quarter billion dollars that it could use to provide thousands of needed units quickly. Instead, CHA policy works in tandem with cuts to schools and other city services to gentrify the city for the benefit of wealthy people.