Chicago Housing Authority

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Chicago Housing Authority (CHA)
Chicago Housing Authority (logo).png
Agency overview
Formed 1937
Jurisdiction City of Chicago
Headquarters 60 East Van Buren Street
Chicago, Illinois
 United States
Annual budget $881 million (2012)[1]
Agency executive
  • Eugene "Gene" Jones, Jr.,
    Chief Executive Officer (acting)

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is a municipal corporation that oversees public housing within the city of Chicago. The agency's Board of Commissioners is 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 acting CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority is Eugene "Gene" Jones, Jr.[2]


Formed in 1937 by the state of Illinois, CHA was created to clear slums which were describe by most as unlivable in Chicago; also to provide affordable homes for war veterans. The housing authority came into existence after the Housing Act of 1937 was passed which was the public housing program that provided low-cost housing in the form of publicly-managed and owned multi-family housing developments. The first director of CHA was Elizabeth Wood, from 1937 until 1954. CHA first housing project to be constructed by the Public Works Administration (PWA) was the Lathrop Homes in 1937. The Francis Cabrini and William Green Homes was started in 1941 and all 3,607 units were completed by 1962, ABLA is a complex of buildings started in 1943 and completed in total in 1955, Stateway Gardens was started in 1955 and completed by 1957. Robert Taylor Homes was started in 1961 and completed by 1962, it was considered as the largest public housing development in the United States. 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.

CHA created the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department (CHAPD) which was formed in 1989 and was dissolved in 1999.

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.[3]

In 2015, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development criticized the Chicago Housing Authority for accumulating a cash reserve of $440 million, at a time when more than a quarter million people are on the agency’s waiting list for affordable housing.[4] The CHA actually holds an annual lottery for candidates to seek a spot on the waitlist.[5] CHA also faced criticism for leaving a large number of units vacant (16%) and for slowing its pace of adding units.[6][5][7]


From its beginning until the late-1950s, Most families that lived in Chicago housing projects were made up of mostly Italians immigrants. By the mid-1970s, 65% of the agency's housing projects were made up of African Americans. In 1975, A study showed that traditional mother and father families in CHA housing projects were almost non-existent and 93% of the households were headed by single females. In 2010, the head of households demographics were 88% African American, 12% White.[8] The population of children in CHA decreased by 15%, from 50% in 2000 to 35% by 2010. Today on average, a Chicago public housing development is made up of: 69% African-American, 27% Latino, and 4% White and Other.[9][clarification needed]


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.


Housing Projects[edit]

Name Location Constructed Notes/Status
Altgeld Gardens/Phillip Murray Homes Chicago/Riverdale, Illinois borderline
(Far–south side)
1944–46; 1954 Named for Illinois politician John Peter Altgeld and Labor movement leader Philip Murray. 1, 971 units of 2-story row-houses; Renovated.
Bridgeport Homes Bridgeport neighborhood
(South–west side)
1943–44 Named after its neighborhood location, Consist of 115 units of 2-story row-houses, Renovated.
Cabrini–Green Homes Near–North neighborhood 1942–45; 1957–62 Named for Italian nun Frances Cabrini and William Green. Consisted of 3,607 units, William Homes and Cabrini Extensions (Demolished; 1995–2011), Francis Cabrini Row-houses (140 of 584 Renovated; 2009–11).
Clarence Darrow Homes Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1961–62 Named for American lawyer Clarence Darrow, Consisted of 5 18-story buildings, Demolished in late–1998. Replaced with Mixed-income housing development Oakwood Shores.[10]
Dearborn Homes Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1949–50 Named for its street location Dearborn Street; Consist of 12 buildings made up of mid-rise, 6 and 9-stories, totaling 668 units, Renovated.
Grace Abbott Homes University Village
(Near–west side)
1952–55 Named for social worker Grace Abbott, Consisted of 7 15-story buildings and 33 2-story rowhouses, totaling 1,198 units. Demolished.
Harold Ickes Homes Bronzeville
(South side)
1953–55 Named for Illinois politician Harold LeClair Ickes, 11 9-story high-rise buildings, totaling 738 units, Demolished.
Harrison Courts East Garfield Park neighborhood
(West side)
1958 Named after its street location; Consist of 4 7-story buildings; Renovated.
Ogden Courts North Lawndale neighborhood
(West side)
1953 Named after William B. Ogden location; Consist of 2 7-story buildings; Demolished.
Henry Horner Homes Near–West Side neighborhood 1955–57; 1959–61 Named for Illinois governor Henry Horner, Consisted of 16 high-rise buildings, 2 15-story buildings, 8 7-story buildings, 4 14-story and 2 8-story buildings, totaling 1,655 units ; Demolished. Replaced with Mixed-income housing development West Haven.
Ida B. Wells Homes Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1939–41 Named for African-American journalist Ida Barnett Wells, Consisted of 1,662 units (800 row-houses and 862 mid-rise apartments); Demolished. Replaced with a Mixed-income housing development named Oakwood Shores.[10]
Jane Addams Homes University Village
(Near–west side)
1938–39 Named for social worker Jane Addams, Consisted of 32 buildings of 2, 3, and 4 stories, totaling 987 units; Demolished. Replaced with townhouses and condominiums under the name Roosevelt Square.
Julia C. Lathrop Homes North Center neighborhood
(North side)
1937–38 Named for social reformer Julia Clifford Lathrop, Consist of 925 units made up of 2-story row-houses, mid-rise buildings; Renovated.
Lake Parc Place/Lake Michigan High-Rises Oakland neighborhood
(South side)
1959–61 Named after its location, Consisted of 5 buildings; Lake Michigan high-rises (3 18-story buildings; demolished; 12/12/1998[11]) and Lake Parc Place (2 15-story buildings; renovated)
Lawndale Gardens Little Village neighborhood
(South–west side)
April–December 1942 Named for its street location, Consist of 123 units of 2-story row-houses, Renovated.
LeClaire Courts Archer Heights neighborhood
(South–west side)
1949–50; 1953–54[12] Consisted 314 units of 2-story row-houses;[13] Demolished.
Loomis Courts University Village neighborhood
(Near–west side)
1951 Named for its street location, Consist of 2 7-story building, totaling 126 units.
Lowden Homes Princeton Park neighborhood
(South side)
1951–52 Named for Illinois governor Frank Lowden, Consist of 127 units of 2-story row-houses; Renovated.
Madden Park Homes Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1968–69; 1970 Consisted of 6 buildings (9 and 3-stories), totaling 279 units; Demolished. Replaced with a Mixed-income housing development named Oakwood Shores.[10]
Prairie Courts South Commons neighborhood
(South side)
1950–52 Consisted of 5 7 and 14-story buildings, 230 units made up of row-houses, totaling 877 units; Demolished. Replaced with new development which was constructed between 2000–2002.
Racine Courts Washington Heights neighborhood
(Far–south side)
1953 Named for its street location, Consisted of 122 units made up of 2-story row-houses,[14] Demolished.
Raymond Hilliard Homes Near–South Side neighborhood 1964–66 Consist of a 3 buildings, 22-story building; 16-story building and 11-story building, totaling 1,077 units. Renovated in phases, Phase I: 2003–04; Phase II: 2006–07.
Robert Brooks Homes/Extensions University Village neighborhood
(Near–west side)
1942–43; 1960–61 Consist of 835 row-houses (Reconstructed in phases: Phase I: 1997–99, Phase II: 2000), 3 16-story buildings (450 units; Demolished between 1998–2001) .
Robert Taylor Homes Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1960–62 Named for named the first African American chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority Robert Rochon Taylor, Consisted of 28 16–story high rises, totaling 4, 415 units; Demolished between 1998–2007. Replaced with a Mixed-income housing development named Legends South.[15]
Rockwell Gardens East Garfield Park neighborhood
(West side)
1958–60 Named for its street location; Consisted of 1,126 units made up of 11 buildings (16, 14-stories); Demolished between 2003–2007. Replaced with a Mixed-income housing development named West End.
Stateway Gardens Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1955–58 Named for its location along State street, Consisted of 8 buildings (17-13 stories); Demolished between 1996–2007, Replaced with a Mixed-income housing development named Park Boulevard.
Trumbull Park Homes South Deering neighborhood
(Far–south side)
1938–39 Consist of 434 units made up of 2-story row-houses and 3-story buildings; Renovated.
Wentworth Gardens Armour Square[16] neighborhood
(South side)
1944–45 Named for its street location, Consist of 4 block area of 2-story row-houses, 2 mid-rise buildings; Renovated.
Washington Park Homes Bronzeville neighborhood
(South side)
1962–64 Named for nearby Chicago Park District park and neighborhood, Consisted of 5 17-story buildings located between 45th and 44th Streets, Cottage Grove Avenue and Evans Street; Demolished between 1999– mid-2002.

Other housing[edit]

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,[17] 61 scattered site housing[18] and 15 mixed-income housing developments.[19]

Notable Residents[edit]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]