Apartments’ demise hurts vulnerable tenants

SHARE Apartments’ demise hurts vulnerable tenants

Sebrina Cummings has made strides since moving into supportive housing seven years ago.

Two of her eight children are in college. Another child is about to graduate from high school. Cummings, 47, works as a home care provider for the disabled and elderly. In many ways, she is the typical working-poor. When she moved into the Harriet Tubman Apartments at 5759 S. Michigan in 2007, Cummings was homeless and jumped at the opportunity to leave a shelter.

Now, Cummings is again facing homelessness through no real fault of her own.

Because the private non-profit organization, Brand New Beginnings, failed to fulfill the requirements of a grant to operate the city’s subsidized housing program known as Shelter Care Plus, fragile families are being dumped on the street.

Della Mitchell (no relation), the founder of Brand New Beginnings, declined to comment about the troubled program.

Unlike the intense scrutiny given Gov. Pat Quinn’s scarred Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, few questions are being raised about how a taxpayer funded housing program that opened with such fanfare seven years ago, has ended up in such a mess.

Last April, 40 families residing in two adjacent buildings were notified that the not-for-profit had lost its grant and the residents would have to move elsewhere.

But that same month, the city required Cummings to sign a “Shelter Plus Care Program and Supportive Housing Program Termination of Assistance and Appeal Policy and Procedure” agreement apparently unaware Brand New Beginnings had lost its subsidy.

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