Chicago Housing Authority

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Chicago Housing Authority (CHA)
Chicago Housing Authority (logo).png
Agency overview
Formed 1937
Jurisdiction Chicago
Headquarters 60 E. Van Buren Street.
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Annual budget $881 million (2012)[1]
Agency executive Michael R. Merchant (2013),
Chief Executive Officer

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is a municipal corporation established by the State of Illinois in 1937 with jurisdiction for the administrative oversight of public housing within the City of Chicago. The agency's mission is guided by a Board of Commissioners appointed by the city's mayor, and has a budget independent from that of the City of Chicago. CHA is the largest rental landlord in Chicago, with more than 50,000 households. CHA owns over 21,000 apartments (9,200 units reserved for seniors and over 11,400 units in family and other housing types). It also oversees the administration of 37,000 Section 8 vouchers. The current CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority is Micheal R. Merchant.[2]


The Chicago Housing Authority has built a number of public housing projects over the years. The first director of CHA was Elizabeth Wood, from 1937 until 1954. The Lathrop Homes were built in 1939. The Francis Cabrini and William Green Homes was started in 1942, ABLA is a complex of buildings started in 1943, Stateway Gardens was started in 1955, and Robert Taylor Homes was started in 1962. Between 1950 and 1969, the housing authority built 11 high rise projects for public housing, which isolated the extreme poor in "superblocks" that were not easily patrolled by police vehicles. Most of the households were headed by females, and the developments were almost entirely African American. Cabrini–Green, Henry Horner, Harold Ickes were just some of the developments. The Robert Taylor Homes, constructed in 1962, was the largest public housing project in the United States, claiming more than 4,000 units. CHA created the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department (CHAPD) which was formed in 1989 and was dissolved in 1999.

Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority[edit]

In 1966, Dorothy Gautreaux and other CHA residents brought a suit against the CHA, in Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority. It was a long-running case that in 1996 resulted in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) taking over the CHA and the Gautreaux Project in which public housing families were relocated to the suburbs.


On average, a Chicago public housing development is made up of: 69% African-American, 27% Latino, and 4% White and Other.[3][clarification needed]


Housing Project Location Constructed Status
Cabrini–Green Homes Near-North 1942-62 William Green Homes and Cabrini Extensions (demolished), Francis Cabrini Row-houses (renovated).
Julia C. Lathrop Homes bordered by Bucktown and Roscoe Village Side 1937-38 awaiting re-development.
Robert Taylor Homes Bronzeville 1961-62 demolished, Replaced with a Mixed-income housing development Legends South.[4]
Wentworth Gardens Bronzeville/Fuller Park 1945 renovated.
Bridgeport Homes Bridgeport 1959-60 renovated.
Ida B. Wells Homes Bronzeville 1939-41 demolished, Replaced with Oakwood Shores.[5]
Stateway Gardens Bronzeville 1955-58 demolished, replaced with Mixed-income housing development Park Boulevard.
Trumbull Park Homes South Deering 1938-39 renovated.
Dearborn Homes Bronzeville 1949-50 renovated.
Altgeld Gardens Homes borderline of Chicago and Riverdale, Illinois 1945 renovated.
Madden Park Homes Bronzeville 1970 demolished, Replaced with Oakwood Shores.[5]
Prairie Courts South Commons 1951-52 demolished between 2000-2001.
Racine Courts Washington Heights 1953 redeveloped.
Harold Ickes Homes Bronzeville 1954-55 demolished.
Lawndale Gardens Little Village 1960 renovated.
Lowden Homes Princeton Park 1961-62 renovated.
Washington Park Homes Bronzeville 1962-64 demolished.
Henry Horner Homes West Town 1957-59 demolished.
Clarence Darrow Homes Bronzeville 1961 demolished, Replaced with Oakwood Shores.[5]
Lake Parc Place/Lake Michigan High-rises Bronzeville 1960-63 Lake Michigan High-rises (demolished), Lake Parc Place (renovated).
Jane Addams Homes University Village 1938-39 demolished, replaced with townhouses and condominiums under the name Roosevelt Square.
Rockwell Gardens East Garfield Park 1958-59 demolished, replaced with West End development.
Robert Brooks Homes/Extensions University Village 1943 Partially demolished.
Loomis Courts University Village 1951 Still Standing.
Harrison Courts East Garfield Park 1958 Still Standing.
Grace Abbott Homes University Village 1955 demolished.
LeClaire Courts Archer Heights 1958-59 demolished.
Judge Slater Apartments in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Lake Parc Place apartments high-rise buildings undergoing renovation.
Harsh Apartments in the Kenwood/Oakland neighborhood.

In addition to the traditional housing projects, CHA has 51 senior housing developments,[6] 61 scattered site housing[7] and 15 mixed-income housing developments.[8]

Notable residents[edit]

Plan for Transformation/Plan Forward[edit]

In 2000, the CHA began its Plan For Transformation, which called for the demolition of all of its gallery high-rise buildings because they failed HUD's viability test and proposed a renovated housing portfolio totaling 25,000 units. In April 2013, CHA created Plan Forward, the next phase of redeveloping public housing in Chicago. The plan includes the rehabilitation of homes, increasing economic sales around CHA developments and providing educational, job training to residents with Section 8 vouchers.[9]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]