This past Monday, I attended a meeting of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council. It was an interesting meeting as members discussed issues with representatives of the Chicago Housing Authority. Also three of our local politicians spoke from Ald. Roderick Sawyer 6th Ward to State Sen. Donne Trotter to finally State Rep. Elgie Sims. Finally before they served some food a presentation from representatives of Seaway Bank & Trust Co.
What I did want to discuss was some of the comments made from one of the CAPCC leaders. This is the first meeting I have ever attended of this significant neighborhood organization in Chatham. It's great to see the residents here passionate about their community.
What caught my ear was the statement of one of the members in fact a Vice President of the CAPCC during the discussion with representatives of the CHA. She outright said that the recent residents of that community has significantly diminished the quality of life in the Chatham neighborhood. Is it safe to say she's referring to section 8 tenants?
That is low-income people who may or may not have come from the many housing projects around the city who still need somewhere to live. Therefore they utilize a voucher in order to make their rent wherever they may be able to lease some housing.
They have often been a controversial issue in Chatham and have been blamed for some of the crime issues that occur in those communities that doesn't normally have serious issues with crime. The issue of section 8 renters was discussed at the CAPCC especially as a matter of contrasting the difference in culture of these renters and the neighbors that they'd have to live with. Indeed examples have been offered at this meeting that shows how bridge those difference and indeed one of the CHA reps offered his own example.
Still at the end of the meeting the lady above revisited the subject and made sure to note that people may call residents of the Chatham community "bougie" or "uppity". I recognize she's only saying things like this in her desire to maintain the community that she has known. The narrative is that many have worked hard to create the community that Chatham is currently known for.
In fact every community has the right to fight for the community that either they desire or wish to maintain. Since this is my first experience what was said in relation the CHA discussion would be considered very rough. One could call this very alienating to those who may wish to become active in Chatham?
Chatham does have many issues to address at this current point in time. The question here is to ask if it's wise to point the finger at a certain segment of the community as the cause of all problems and then expect this to be the solution to those problems.