Monday, June 21, 2010

Recap of GCA June Meeting

The Greater Chatham Alliance(GCA) June monthly meeting was held at St. Marks. Lutheran Church. The organization interim officers gave their reports with the Crime and Safety chairperson report being of most interest. The organization has started a safety patrol covering from 79th State to 87th over to King Drive. They currently have 23 volunteers who patrol a 2 block area and are suppose to call the police department and report and suspicious activity. It was noted they are not police and do not have arrest authority. The organization is looking to expand past King Drive but currently have no members or volunteers.

Also, the membership chair Arthur Turnbull Jr. stated that he was having trouble verifying the group's actually membership total. Per Mr. Turnbull they did not receive an accurate total from the previous administration. They stated that they have records indicating 55-64 members but can only verify 7 paid memberships. They asked those in attendance to indicate if they had paid a membership fee.

The main reason most were in attendance was because the guest speaker was Janice Stewart, Executive Director of Housing Choice Programs (section 8) for the Chicago Housing Authority(CHA). Mrs. Stewart was very personable and gave some background information on CHA and Housing Choice as well as had one her assistant Mr. Bailey state that he was working with 6th district police to identify if any of CHA or voucher holders had or have been arrested. The President of GCA decided that she would moderate the questions. When questions came up concerning details on the number of housing vouchers issued, currently being used, where are they being used, she stated that she could not disclose that information because of privacy laws. This was the response to the majority of questions asked. The question was asked about steering and housing discrimination and she dismissed the question as a joke and started to talk about redlining. Overall the presentation was disappointing and some left before she finished. The only information she gave was if a resident had a complaint was to call a 800 number and leave a message with a voice mail and they would investigate the situation.

I do not understand why it was so hard to say that the 5th ward has a larger concentration of section 8 voucher holders than anywhere on the southside. Also, why they do not want residents to use a paper inspection form that is used outside the city limits as well as lie to us and tell us that CHA employees are not engageing in steering and encouraging housing discrinimation (ask our Alderman). It appears that we in Chatham are going to have to have our federally elected officials hold hearings and hold CHA feet to the fire because the patronizing of our community by CHA must stop.

BTW, they all seem to get a little irritated when Alderman Lyle's name was used. Hmmm?

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