The Chicago Housing Initiative has worked with the National Alliance of HUD Tenants to identify ways to reverse the trend towards privatization. As a result of our leaders work, the coalition has been successful in securing support from United States Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and United States Senator Richard Durbin to pressure the Department of Housing and Urban Development to review its strategies. In a December 2011 internal newsletter, the Department of Housing and Urban Development administrators highlighted the vacancy issue within the housing authority as needing attention.
Our organization’s leaders were also influential in convincing Sandra Henriquez, the Assistant Secretary from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (who is directly responsible for public housing nationally), to come to Chicago to see first-hand the amount of vacancies within the housing authority’s portfolio. After her advance team gathered data we provided, and took pictures of vacant units that were fully habitable, she came to Chicago to participate in a meeting between herself, Cong. Schakowsky, Cong. Danny Davis, the housing authority, the Chicago Housing Initiative, and community stakeholders. In the meeting, the housing authority released a plan to lease its vacant properties over the next 2-3 years. The Chicago Housing Initiative continues to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to enforce this plan, and to ensure there is no demolition or further displacement of residents.