I am writing on behalf of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance in response to the article, “Chicago’s public housing divide, a Watchdogs / BGA special report.” As a housing professional working in the field of Fair and Affordable Housing across the Chicago region, I find myself deeply disappointed in this disjointed and poorly executed piece. I cannot begin to fathom the motivation for showcasing the extremely rare circumstances of a nominal number of voucher holders.
I can tell you with a high degree of certainty rooted in my professional experiences that this article will do nothing other than insight anger and a wholesale backlash against mobility programs — programs that have a proven track record of linking impoverished voucher holders with the fundamental opportunities needed to alter one’s life course. The very essence of the voucher program is to afford housing seekers greater “choice” in where to live; however it seems that voucher holders face a catch 22 — when they choose to live in resource-poor communities, they are chided for laziness, complacency, and an unwillingness to create a better environment for their children; conversely, when they look to rent in communities rich with opportunity, seeking a way up and out of poverty, they are criticized for getting something they didn’t work for or having an unfair advantage on the tax payers’ dime. Well it can’t be both ways and this article plays into those distorted ideations quite nicely.
The inevitable fallout will only serve to draw a line between “taxpayers” and the “undeserving poor” and deflect attention from the root causes of poverty, racial inequity, and segregation.
Moreover, as was noted several times in the article, the exception rent program has been drastically changed, and many, including the woman in your article, will have to move from the more costly units. So again, the point is moot. I am not sure who the “watchdogs” are looking out for, but if it’s the tax payers of Illinois, they’re barking up the wrong tree.
Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
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There has been only one candidate, from one party, in the presidential primary contests who has repeatedly urged violence by his supporters with statements such as, “I love the old days you know what they used to do with guys like that when they were at a place like this, they’d be carried out on a stretcher.” and “I’d like to punch him in the face.” and “Knock the crap out of them would you, seriously, OK, just knock the hell out of them, I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.” That has been Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
Until the remaining Republican candidates and Reince Preibus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, publicly, uncategorically and repeatedly denounce Mr. Trump’s calls to violence, any violence and bloodshed that occurs will be on their heads as well as Mr. Trump’s.
Walter R. Kowalczyk, Jefferson Park