Encyclopedia ofChicago
MAPS : MAPS CREATED BY ENCYCLOPEDIA STAFF
MAPS : MAPS CREATED BY ENCYCLOPEDIA STAFF
C
Chicago Housing Authority Family Projects

 

 

 

Chicago Housing Authority Family Projects

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) was established in 1937 to provide housing for poor and low-income city residents. From 1938 to 1968, the CHA built numerous apartment complexes, initially low-rise, and operated by managers empowered to exclude potential tenants whom they thought might be troublesome. A few were racially diverse. At first, projects were placed in both white and black areas, but white aldermen later blocked their construction in white areas. After 1955 most public housing was built in tower projects on superblocks placed in or on the margins of black neighborhoods in spaces opened up through urban renewal programs. Under pressure to relocate residents displaced by freeway construction and urban renewal, the CHA abandoned tenant selection, and long-term maintenance of the no-frills structures became highly problematic, especially given the unusually high proportion of children in the buildings and inadequate maintenance by the agency. After charges that the city perpetuated racial segregation through its public housing policy of building only in black areas, and the withdrawal of significant federal funding for new construction, the existing pattern was frozen in space. As high-rise public housing has been declared a broad failure, policy since 1996 has led to the demolition of several prominent projects, including many units of the Robert Taylor Homes, Stateway Gardens, and Cabrini-Green complexes.