A screenshot of the BGA’s map illustrating the change in the number of suburban housing voucher and public-housing households between 2000 and 2015. || Below: The demolition of one of the Cabrini-Green housing project buildings. | Wikipedia Commons
A recent analysis by the Better Government Association has found that nearly 20 years after former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley promised “to transform public housing in Chicago” with the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation”— which entailed demolishing many of the city’s high-rise housing projects along expressways and encircling the Loop — most of the city’s surrounding suburbs have experienced an increase in the number of subsidized-housing households.
“Of 245 suburbs in the six-county metropolitan area, 193 — almost four of five — have seen an increase in the number of subsidized-housing households,” the June 25 BGA report notes. “As in the city, the overwhelming majority of those families are living in apartments, townhouses or single-family homes they rent with the aid of government subsidies known as Section 8 vouchers.”
According to Andrew Greenlee, an urban and regional planning associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Daley’s bold plan “was not only about transforming public housing but also fundamentally changing the neighborhoods across the entire city of Chicago,” but “in some ways,” Greenlee told the BGA, the plan “reinforced historical divisions,” moving families out of neighborhoods and reinforcing historical patterns of racial and economic segregation.
“Between 2000 and 2015,” according to the BGA analysis, “the number of subsidized households in the suburbs went up from about 32,300 to 41,500 — a 28 percent rise, with more than 84,000 people living in those households.”
During that time, the number of Section 8 housing vouchers in Maywood, Broadview and Melrose Park increased by 44, 31 and 26, respectively.
How the BGA conducted its analysis
“The Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s online portal, “A Picture of Subsidized Households.” The analysis included households living in public housing or receiving Section 8 vouchers to help pay their rent. HUD programs aimed at seniors were not included.”
To read the full article, click here. VFP