Report #5 of the Independent Monitor

January 8, 2003

To:

  • Meghan K. Harte
  • Mary E. Wiggins

cc:

  • R. Olomenji O’Connor
  • Richard M. Wheelock
  • Robert D. Whitfield

Re: Independent Monitor’s Report No. 5

My first three reports dealt with the ongoing relocation process in Phase II (2002). My fourth report addressed the timing of future phases of the process. This report deals with my recommendations as to how various aspects of the process might be improved in future years.

Let me first repeat a thought contained in my third report: Throughout the past seven months, my associates Robert J. Blazejowski and Zubair A. Khan and I have come to know the persons who are responsible for the Phase II relocation of approximately 1,000 families. They are employed by the CHA and many outside firms. We have observed them often working under difficult conditions. We have a great respect for them. We have been impressed with their sincerity, their good intentions, and their fine motivations. They have worked diligently to carry out the Phase II relocation in accordance with the contract, the regulations, and the schedules imposed by their superiors.

Similarly, we have come to know many of the tenants who are being relocated, and the persons who represent the tenants or who speak and act on the tenants’ behalf, as well as representatives of the many organizations which have a role or interest in the relocation process. These persons likewise are well motivated and sincere, and have provided us with important, valuable help, caution and criticism.

The relocation process is complex. It contains many facets, and involves many people and organizations. As in any human endeavor, there are some who perform in a splendid manner, some who are mediocre, and some whose level of performance leaves much to be desired. While we may strive for uniform efficiency, compassion and good spirit, this is an unattainable goal. It is not my intention to criticize unfairly or to pick at minor flaws. Rather, I have attempted as best I am able to learn in a brief time about this complicated matter, and state my considered, honest views. But I realize that I may not have all relevant facts at hand, that I may express subconscious biases, and that my opinions, judgments and conclusions may be faulty.

Part II of my contract with the CHA and the Central Advisory Council (CAC) calls upon me to review and report on the following subjects:

  • “Do CHA and its agents act to minimize undue hardship when implementing the process?
  • “Did CHA attain the goals and objectives for each part of the process?
  • “Do CHA and its agents present information in an understandable way to residents? This includes oral presentations and written materials.
  • “Did CHA ensure that residents received information about the relocation process?
  • “Was the method used to deliver the information effective?
  • “Was the relocation carried out in a manner that complied with the Contract?”

The contract provides that I will supply “recommendations to improve the relocation process where appropriate,” in order to provide “feedback to improve the process, and inform CHA and CAC whether CHA is meeting its obligations” under the CHA Leaseholder Housing Choice and Relation Rights Contract, and the CHA Relocation Rights Contract for Families with Initial Occupancy after 10/1/99. The Contract also requires me “to convey any interim recommendations [I] may have for improvements to the relocation process.”

This report is submitted in the hope and expectation that my recommendations will be considered by representatives of the CHA and CAC, and perhaps by other interested persons and groups, for implementation in Phase III (2003) and future phases of the relocation process. It is divided among the major events involved in the relocation process, namely:

  1. The 2003-Phase III Plan for Transformation (pp. 1 to 6).
  2. The initial meetings with families in buildings to be vacated (pp. 7 to 10).
  3. The process of assisting families to become lease compliant (pp. 11 to 15).
  4. The process of and timing for moving residents who will remain in public housing (pp. 16 to 20)
  5. The process of and timing for moving residents who will move with Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) (pp. 21 to 31)
  6. The explanation of potential moves to opportunity neighborhoods (pp. 32 to 39)
  7. The Service Connector Program (pp. 40 to 61)
  8. The role of the property managers (pp. 62 to 64)
  9. The relocation building meetings (pp. 65 to 66)
  10. The Good Neighbor training (pp. 67 to 68)
  11. The relocation team meetings (pp. 69 to 72)
  12. The physical moving process (p. 73)
  13. The matter of gangs and police protection (pp. 74 to 78)
  14. Relations among representatives of the CHA, CAC, LACs, and the tenants (pp. 79 to 80)
  15. The organization of the CHA Relocation Department (pp. 81 to 82)
  16. Appointment of the Independent Monitor for Phase III-2003 (p. 83).

Appendix 1 is a list of my recommendations, which are interspersed at appropriate places throughout this report.

Appendix 2 is a list of the persons to whom my associates and I have spoken or interviewed during the course of my duties as Independent Monitor. Many of these persons were directly involved in the Phase III relocation process. Others are associated with organizations which are interested in the well being of the residents, and who study or work with those involved in the relocation process. We have received cooperation from virtually all, and we thank them for their suggestions and assistance. We promised them anonymity unless they specifically authorized disclosure of their identities; some authorized us to use their names, but in the end I decided (with one exception) against including direct attributions.

In addition to the persons named in Appendix 2, my associates and I have interviewed many residents who were relocated during Phase II. The interviews took place during our visits to various buildings, and at building meetings, and also when we made home visits to make-ready units and to the new residences of HCV holders. We thank them all for their friendly cooperation.

Appendix 3 is a description of the various relocation counseling agencies’ current mobility programs for moves to opportunity neighborhoods.

As with the prior reports, this report is my work product, and I personally accept full responsibility for errors or inaccuracies.

1. The 2003-Phase III Plan For Transformation.

According to the information I have been given as I write this report, the following buildings and residents are to be involved in the 2003-Phase III transformation. This information is as of January 3, 2003, and may change:

Development Address Families
ABLA 1433 W. 13th 69
Bridgeport Homes (rehab) Various 78
Cabrini Extension South 364 W. Oak 52
Lowden Homes (rehab) Various 101
Rockwell Gardens 2514 W. Van Buren 67
Rockwell Gardens 340 S. Western 63
Stateway Gardens (not confirmed) 3616-18 S. State 92
Stateway Gardens (only residents who chose HCVs) 3651-53 S. Federal 69
Robert Taylor Homes 4037 S. Federal 103
Robert Taylor Homes 4946 S. State 92
Trumbull Park (rehab) Various 304
Wentworth Gardens (rehab) Various 307
Total families 1,397

As shown on this chart, there are 790 families residing in buildings to be rehabilitated (Bridgeport, Lowden, Trumbull and Wentworth). These families will be offered the opportunity to move temporarily within their same developments while the rehabilitation is taking place, and then move back into one of the rehabilitated units. The other 607 families will be relocated to make-ready units in public housing, or to the private rental market with HCVs.

As explained in detail in Report No. 4, many of the difficulties encountered during Phase II were a direct and inevitable result of the tight timetable for building closures — all set for September 30, except ABLA which was set for October 12 — coupled with the lack of adequate personnel to handle the rush to move families during the last few weeks of the schedule. That timeline was negotiated by representatives of the CHA and the CAC. Recently, a new schedule has been agreed to by representatives of the CHA and the CAC, resulting in a revised timetable which allows the relocation process to begin immediately, rather than (as in Phase II) with the sending of the 180-day notices, which triggers the rest of the removal process. CHA officials have also arranged for the building closure dates to be staggered, so that not all of the buildings will have to be emptied on the same day next fall.

The representatives of both the CHA and the CAC are to be congratulated for making these changes, which should help to correct many of the problems that were encountered during Phase II.

2. The initial meetings with families in buildings to be vacated.

While the residents involved in relocation are separated into two general categories–those who select public housing, and those who select an HCV–each group having certain distinct concerns, duties and interests, all residents of the buildings to be demolished have a number of common rights and responsibilities:

  • They are advised well in advance of their rights and responsibilities with respect to the coming moves, including the need to become lease compliant.
  • Those who choose temporary or public housing are told about the potential locations and times for availability of make-ready units, and their desires for locations solicited, including physical dangers they foresee with respect to gang involvement.
  • Those who choose temporary or permanent HCVs are told about the process they will undergo, and they too are consulted about where they would like to rent. They are urged to begin immediately to decide where they wish to relocate, and to look for available rental units in those locations.

The importance of early beginnings of the searches for the families’ replacement housing is hard to overstate. To avoid a last-minute rush, such as occurred in Phase II, the searches should get started as soon as feasible. This is especially true of families who have selected temporary or permanent HCVs, in order that they have ample time to look in various neighborhoods, consult with families and counselors, and reflect upon their choices before committing to a decision. If carried out properly, the selection process in the private market will be far more demanding, varied and time consuming than that involved in relocating to units in public housing.

Pursuant to the expedited timing recently adopted for Phase III by the CHA and the CAC, meetings with residents of buildings to be demolished have already begun. I have been told that the CHA relocation project managers are now in the process of contacting and personally interviewing the heads of families in the targeted buildings; and that in these interviews the managers (1) emphasize the fact that the building will be emptied during 2003, (2) call attention to the choice the family previously made on their Housing Choice Survey, offer an opportunity to the family to change that choice, and discuss the various choices and their potential consequences to the family, (3) determine whether the family prefers temporary or permanent public housing, and if so, inquire where the family wishes to relocate within the choices presently available in CHA public housing, (4) determine whether the family prefers a temporary or permanent rental unit in the private market with an HCV, and if so encourage the family to begin the search for an appropriate unit without delay, and call attention to the services offered to assist the family by the relocation counseling agencies, including CHAC, the company which administers the HCV program for the CHA, (5) explain what is meant by “opportunity areas,” and the benefits and availability of moves to opportunity areas, and (6) inquire about lease compliance, employment or other issues facing the family that require attention, and make appropriate referrals, for example, to a service connector, building manager, LAC representative, etc.

These interviews should go a long way to begin a timely and orderly relocation process for Phase III. Consistency in the message conveyed in these meetings is very important. Whenever several persons are sent forth to convey a message, there exists the danger that the messages will vary with the identity of the messenger. One of the problems I frequently heard during Phase II was that too many different persons and organizations were involved in telling residents about the same aspects of the relocation process, often providing inconsistent and sometimes contradictory information and advice. Therefore, as the interviews progress, the relocation project managers should frequently consult and compare notes with one another, and with their supervisors, to assure that they are conveying the same ideas and information to the families.

During the course of our discussions with various persons involved in the 2002 relocation, we have been told that many residents obtain a great deal of information about the relocation process (in addition to the local rumor mill) from the building property manager, the LAC president or her aides, and relocation coaches. Accordingly, consideration should be given to having these persons present at these early meetings with residents, in order to repeat and underline the messages being given by the managers. Here too, advance coordination is essential to assure that all of the speakers have the same understanding of the process, and that the messages given to residents are positive, accurate and consistent.

As to the family heads who will not be reached by this interviewing process — and there inevitably will be those who will not respond despite the best efforts of the managers — it will be necessary to enlist the aid of the building managers, the relocation coaches, and the LAC representatives, to obtain the attention and cooperation of the recalcitrant residents, and perhaps to hold small group meetings designed specifically for those with whom contact was not made for individual interviews.

Following these initial sessions, additional meetings will be held with residents in groups or “town hall” meetings at the buildings or in nearby locations. Precautions should be taken to avoid the risk that inaccurate, misleading, confusing and contradictory information will be given. Well thought out videotapes would go a long way to avoid this problem. In any event, the main speakers should present just a few “big ideas” — the vital points — to the residents, and leave the details to later explanation. (See also Part 9 b
elow.) In all of these meetings, the speakers should adopt an optimistic and enthusiastic tone, and dispense information in clear, understandable terms.

Recommendation 1: Those involved in the initial meetings with the residents who are to be relocated in Phase III should consult frequently with one another and with their supervisors, to assure that the information being conveyed to residents is consistent and thorough, and that the messages are being delivered in an enthusiastic, positive tone.

Recommendation 2: The relocation project managers should enlist the aid of the building managers, relocation coaches and LAC representatives, to make contact with any residents who have not been reached through the initial individual or building meetings.

3. The process of assisting families to become lease compliant.

The CHA Leaseholder Housing Choice and Relocation Rights Contract provides for the relocation and right of return to public housing to all families who resided in CHA public housing on October 1, 1999, provided the families are “lease compliant.” Lease compliance problems often relate to criminal records of persons in the family unit, substance abuse, poor housekeeping skills, unemployment, unpaid utility bills, and the like.

Families who are relocated on a temporary basis (which is the way in which most families have elected to be relocated thus far in the process), but who are not lease compliant when the time comes for their move to public housing on a permanent basis, will not be entitled to return to CHA public housing. Thus, it is of signal importance for the families who are being relocated in the various phases of the process to achieve and retain a lease compliant status. As stated in the Plan for Transformation for 2003 (p. 35), “Lease compliance is not only the key to families remaining where they are, but it’s also key to families’ right to return to their permanent housing choice.”

There are several special twists to the “lease compliance” condition as applied to the many families who have elected to move into the private housing market with HCVs on a temporary basis, thus retaining the option of returning to CHA public housing permanently when it becomes available. In the first place, if a family has elected to move temporarily with an HCV, but is not lease compliant, the family does not qualify for an HCV, and thus cannot make the move to the private rental market. These families are instead moved to make-ready units in public housing buildings; if they later become lease compliant, they may then pursue the temporary HCV option. If they do not become lease compliant, they are entitled to remain in public housing unless and until they are evicted by court order. The second caveat is that families who have relocated into the private market with HCVs, but who are evicted by their private landlords for violations of the lease, lose the right of permanent return to CHA public housing.

In any event, all families who have elected to move back to public housing on a permanent basis will have to be lease compliant. Depending upon the housing to which they seek to move permanently, they must also comply with site specific criteria, which may be quite strict. The foregoing analysis makes clear the importance to relocating families of being and remaining lease compliant.

To what extent does the CHA have the duty to assist residents in becoming lease compliant?

  • Some of those whom we interviewed have expressed the view that the residents are themselves responsible for their conditions, and that unless and until they take charge of their lives, and achieve the necessary ambition, energy, motivation and resolve to help themselves, they are doomed (and perhaps they deserve) to remain in their current debilitated status. This attitude suggests that families are themselves responsible to learn how to become and remain in compliance with their leases.
  • Others we have spoken with acknowledge the inability of many residents to cope and compete, but point out that most of them came to this sad state of affairs as a result of years of poor planning and execution by government agencies, especially past generations of City officials and CHA management. They say that governmental agencies and employees, having in large part caused the problems, have a responsibility to render extraordinary assistance to enable this group of citizens to integrate into current society.
  • Terry Peterson, the CEO of the CHA, put the issue in these words: “The question is, at what point do we stop investing resources in those who refuse to participate in relocation, refuse to seek work and refuse to stop engaging in criminal behavior, so we can invest more in those who are willing to work hard?” Voice of the People, Chicago Tribune (Mar. 23, 2002).

Underlying the CHA’s relocation of families under the Plan for Transformation are many complex social issues, which are beyond the reach of my contractual duties, and also are outside my area of expertise. I do not believe it profitable for me to opine on the question of what to do with the most deeply troubled of the relocating tenants. Rather, I will cite and rely on the relevant statutes, regulations and contracts, which fix the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Their provisions state that the CHA will bring to bear resources needed to assist residents in becoming lease compliant, and help them obtain the counseling and assistance they need to avoid eviction, obtain the skills, education, employment and income they require to leave public housing and enter the mainstream of society. These are the announced goals of the current CHA administration. To its credit, the current CHA management has frankly acknowledged the very serious problems facing many of the City’s public housing residents.

There are a number of sources of help for families to become lease compliant: the building managers, the LAC representatives, the CHA relocation specialists and project managers, personnel from the staffs of CHAC and the HCV relocation counseling agencies, the service connectors, and the Good Neighbor Programs. A serious shortcoming in this respect arose in Phase II relating to service connectors, one of whose primary functions is to assist families in achieving lease compliance. This is dealt with in more detail in Part 7 below.

A problem that was repeatedly called to our attention, by almost every LAC president and many others, is that of many residents’ large unpaid, overdue utility bills. The utility companies apparently allowed these bills to accumulate over the years. When families were attempting to achieve lease compliance in preparation for relocation, these bills were encountered, and presented a serious impediment. Many families have not been able to resolve these bills; others have agreed to payment plans with which they are financially unable to comply. I have been told that the CHA Chief Executive Officer, Terry Peterson, has undertaken personally to discuss this matter with executives of the utility companies, but I do not know the status or results of those discussions. This is obviously a matter of great concern, the roots of which will likely be found in the past history of gallery buildings, which ought to be resolved promptly.

Recommendation 3: Responsible officials at the CHA, and the agencies with whom the CHA has contracted, should continue their efforts to assist all relocating families to become and remain lease compliant.

Recommendation 4: As soon as feasible, CHA management should attempt to resolve with the utility companies the matter of residents’ old unpaid utility bills.

4. The process of and timing for moving residents who will remain in public
housing.

The residents who have been and will be relocated to other public housing units include those who chose public housing on their surveys, and those who chose HCVs but who did not obtain a voucher or did not locate a unit by the time the building was to be emptied, or were not able to meet HCV lease compliance requirements.

During Phase II, certain problems arose as to this group of residents, which should be avoided in coming years:

First. A number of residents were not moved until the last few weeks of the relocation process. There were different reasons for this situation, including delays in obtaining and confirming residents’ lease compliance, lack of resident cooperation in the relocation process, shortage of available make-ready units, and — eventually the most significant reason — the building closure dates of September 30, 2002 versus the large number of families to be relocated in the short time remaining. (See Report No. 4.) A great many of these problems were directly traceable to the late start of the Phase II relocation process.

As mentioned in Part 1, the Phase III process has already begun. I presume that this will result in the CHA Operations Department completing the financing for and beginning preparation of make-ready units in the appropriate CHA buildings early in 2003. This should assist in avoiding repetition of the delays that characterized the 2002 process, and permit families to be moved promptly when they are determined to be qualified and ready. This will also result in cost savings through less overtime being paid to contractors.

Second. I was told that there should be better coordination among the various parties involved in the selection of locations for and preparation of make-ready units, including the LAC presidents, the CHA Operations and Relocation departments, and outside contractors. They should consult with one another, to the end that the make-ready units are prepared in buildings to which the relocating residents are willing to move, and that the bedroom sizes are appropriate to the needs of the moving families.

Third. The CHA Leaseholder Housing Choice and Relocation Rights Contract provides in paragraphs 10a that all relocated families will be provided with replacement housing which (among other things) “is decent, safe, and sanitary, functionally equivalent to the Leaseholder’s original dwelling unit, adequate in size to accommodate the Leaseholder’s household, [and] located in an area not subject to unreasonable adverse environmental conditions…” See also pars. 6e and 9a of the Contract, and pages 2 and 3 of the CHA Information Booklet for Residents to be Relocated, Abt Assoc. (Oct. 1, 1999).

We have spoken with many residents who were pleased with their make-ready units. We have also been told, and have personally observed, that during Phase II some residents were moved into make-ready units that were decrepit and substandard. Several of the buildings to which the residents were moved were aged, containing units that had not been inhabited for years, with plumbing and electrical systems in poor, undependable condition. This situation, coupled with the tight time schedules for building closures and the rigid adherence to those dates, led inevitably to the ascendance of quantity over quality in the preparation of make-ready units. The resulting “crunch” is reflected in the number of make-ready units prepared between April 1 and September 30, 2002: 52 units in the second quarter (April 1 to June 30), compared to 375 units in the third quarter (July 1 to September 30). There was insufficient time to do the necessary work to put all of the make-ready units into proper, habitable condition.

A building manager employee described several units which had passed inspection at Stateway Gardens as “almost like a horror movie” — apartments in which noxious black liquid shot from faucets and drains; with dangerous sharp objects within reach of children; with rickety carpentry and substandard materials; with cabinets, doors and windows missing; etc. This employee named Oakley Construction Company as particularly blameworthy, owing to its staff’s failure to do their assigned work in a proper, timely manner, and their lack of responsiveness to the resulting complaints, which led to the building manager and staff having to spend late night hours on an emergency basis in attempting to correct defective and dangerous conditions.

Members of the CHA Operations Department have conceded that these and other similar problems existed in Phase II, and that contractors sometimes cut corners during the waning days before the building were scheduled to be emptied. They say that the contractors were required to return to make needed repairs. They have explained that the last minute rush was due in large part to residents not advising the CHA representatives early on that they did not want to move to certain buildings because of safety (gang-related) problems, which required the Operations Department to switch over to preparing units in other buildings, sometimes during the last few weeks of the process. They acknowledged that several of these buildings, like those at Stateway Gardens and Washington Park, were in very poor condition, and required extensive and expensive repair work. Another contributing factor which I observed was the inflexible adherence by the CHA relocation team to the prefixed dates for emptying the buildings.

My hope and expectation is that, as a result of the recently adopted time schedule, the individual meetings now being conducted as described above in Part 1, and sequential closing of the buildings, these last minute-rush conditions will not recur in Phase III. I have been told that preparation of make-ready units for Phase III will begin soon. Since this involves chiefly inside work, it can be carried on during the winter months. The danger of having gangs or squatters break into and use empty make-ready units can be avoided by the use of VPS doors, which I am told are virtually impregnable when properly installed.

As to the quality of the units as “decent, safe and sanitary,” it is my understanding that before the make-ready units were approved for occupancy in Phase II, they were supposed to be inspected and approved by (1) the building’s property manager, (2) a member of CHA’s Operations Department, (3) a representative of the general contractor, and (4) the construction company manager. In addition, a representative of the LAC was offered an opportunity to make a pre-occupancy inspection. It appears that during Phase II, some units were approved that should not have been. I trust that these inspections, especially those which occur toward the end of Phase III, will be carried out with the same attention to detail and with the same critical eyes as those done at earlier, less rushed times.

Fourth. As noted above, the contract requires that the replacement units be safe. In some instances that were reported to us during Phase II, residents were moved to make-ready units in buildings inhabited by members of gangs antagonistic to members, relatives or friends of the moving families. We have been told of several violent incidents resulting from such moves. (See Reports No. 2, par. 5; No. 3, par. 7; and No. 4, par. 2. See also Part 13 below.) We have also been told that violence is almost certain to occur if residents of Rockwell Gardens living in the building at 340 S. Western are moved into make-ready units at the Rockwell Gardens building at 2450 W. Monroe. These dangerous gang rivalries should be taken into account when relocation sites are selected, particularly for the safety of innocent family members, other residents, and bystanders.

In some instances, the CHA did attempt to respond to residents’ concerns about gang-related dangers by preparing make-ready units in “s
afe” buildings. However, some residents failed to voice their fears until their moves to “unsafe” buildings were imminent, which in turn forced the Operations Department to make hurried alterations to their construction plans. This is a problem which should be better dealt with during Phase III, because the process has started earlier, and in the individual sessions now being held by the project managers with the residents attempts will be made to determine their justifiable concerns about moves to particular buildings, and the LAC presidents will have time to ferret out concerns not disclosed during those sessions.

Recommendation 5: Preparation of make-ready units for Phase III should begin promptly. When appropriate, VPS doors should be used to secure the doors of the units that have been completed.

Recommendation 6: The relocation of residents to make-ready units in Phase III should be spaced out throughout 2003, so as to avoid the kind of last minute rush that occurred in Phase II.

Recommendation 7: There should be better coordination among the various parties involved in the selection of locations for and preparation of make-ready units, including the LAC presidents, the CHA Operations and Relocation departments, and outside contractors. They should consult with one another, to the end that the make-ready units are prepared in buildings to which the relocating residents are willing to move, and that the bedroom sizes are appropriate to the needs of the moving families.

Recommendation 8: The inspection and approval processes for all make-ready units in Phase III should be carried out so as to assure that every unit is in a decent, safe and sanitary condition. Standards should not be lowered as the building-empty dates approach.

Recommendation 9: Contractors that do not do acceptable work on make-ready units should be terminated.

Recommendation 10: In allocating make-ready units in Phase III, attention should be given and appropriate adjustments made so as to avoid potential dangers to residents arising out of gang rivalries.

5. The process of and timing for residents who will move with Housing Choice Vouchers.

This group of residents presents a more complicated group of problems. Many have not previously been tenants in the private rental market, which is a far different experience than residing in public housing. The process of locating a private housing rental unit with an HCV is more time-consuming and complex than moving to a make-ready unit in public housing. This difference will be even more pronounced if procedures are put in place, as I recommend in Part 6 below, to encourage relocating families to consider moving to opportunity neighborhoods, that is, less racially segregated areas populated by fewer families having income below the poverty level.

Part II, Section B 2 of the Memorandum of Approval and Resident Protection Agreement, entered into between HUD and the CHA, dated February 6, 2000, provides, “…families who must move from buildings to be demolished or redeveloped under the Plan for Transformation will receive extensive pre-move counseling, assistance in accessing services, Section 8 [now HCV] mobility counseling so that they can make informed choices and secure adequate housing, and post-move counseling.” The contract between the tenants and the CHA, the CHA Leaseholder Housing Choice and Relocation Rights Contract, provides in Section 6c, “…the CHA shall allow the Leaseholder adequate time to enter into a lease for the [HCV] unit selected. Adequate time for public housing Leaseholders will be defined as one (1) year.”

The contracts between the CHA and the firms retained during Phase II to assist in the HCV relocation process – E. F. Ghoughan and Associates, Inc. (EFG), and Changing Patterns for Families, Inc. (CPF) — provided that each family which chose to relocate with an HCV was entitled to have five prospective units identified, based on family information (usually bedroom size or disability), and to have information provided as to the neighborhoods in which the units were located. Families were encouraged to conduct their own searches for rental units; however, many of the families lacked the motivation, sophistication or means of transportation to search on their own.

EFG and CPF were compensated by completed placements, without consideration to the number of units shown, their condition or location. Both firms had previously established contacts with a certain group of landlords who were willing to rent to HCV holders. Almost all of the rental units were in financially depressed, racially segregated areas on the west and south sides of Chicago.

We have heard repeatedly, from residents, LAC representatives, and members of the CHA relocation teams, that, in general, EFG and CPF asked residents to which area in the City they wished to move, the number of bedrooms required by the family, and about physical disability needs. Many family heads had limited knowledge of Chicago neighborhoods. They had lived isolated lives in and around their developments, and had extremely limited knowledge of the numerous neighborhoods in Chicago, and the various opportunities offered in them. Many simply limited their housing searches to neighborhoods near their CHA residences, and made no effort to explore other options. Others looked to the counselors for suggestions. Most families were shown only a few potential units. Those who first entered the HCV search process when the building closures were imminent often accepted the first unit offered, in order to avoid the alternative of moving to a make-ready unit, and having to move again when they found an acceptable HCV unit. Many families were taken only to units in the segregated areas described above, in which the counselors had close relations with certain landlords, which were heavily populated by poor families and by many other HCV holders.

In July, August and September 2002, the large number of HCV-eligible families still in the CHA buildings, coupled with imminent building-empty dates, and the relatively small number of relocation counselors, caused a rush to place families in rental units. This in turn led inevitably to placing families hurriedly, and to relocating families into racially segregated areas already overwhelmingly populated by low income families. Housing quality was overlooked or given little attention. We were told, and our experiences at many weekly team meetings confirmed, that toward the end of the Phase II process, residents were moved to HCV units without having had any real opportunities to make thorough and thoughtful surveys of available private rental units.

Thus, during Phase II, for many families the contractual requirement of extensive counseling designed to produce informed housing choices was not fulfilled. There were too few counselors and too little time to do this job properly. And, as discussed in Part 6 below, there was for all practical purposes no counseling about moves to opportunity areas.

A properly operated HCV program for relocatees takes time, and substantial personal contact with the relocating family. We have been told that the CHA will contract with four additional counseling agencies to assist in the HCV process in Phase III-2003, namely, Chicago Connections/Heartland Alliance, East Lake Management and Development Corp., Housing Choice Partners, and the Spanish Coalition for Housing. Most of these firms have excellent credentials in relocating families, and employ persons with experience in assisting in moves with HCVs. It is my expectation that the availability of these additional agencies should help prevent repetition of the unfortunate crunch that occurred in August and September 2002.

There are a few other matters relevant to the HCV
process:

First. As noted above, a persistent criticism of the HCV program in the CHA relocation process is that most of the families have been relocated to highly segregated areas inhabited largely by families whose income is below the poverty level. A potential conflict of interest arises from the contractual provision that pays the counseling firms on the basis of placements, coupled with the firms’ existing relationships with landlords in highly segregated and high poverty areas. The result has been that the vertical ghettos from which the families are being moved are being replaced with horizontal ghettos, located in well defined, highly segregated neighborhoods on the west and south sides of Chicago.

A related problem is that many landlords in other areas will not rent to HCV holders. Discrimination against African-American CHA residents takes many disguised forms.

There are indications that these problems will be addressed in Phase III. The relocation counseling contracts for Phase III- 2003 require the counselors to identify prospective units in “Low-Poverty Areas” (census tracts with no more than 23.5% of families having income below the poverty level), and “Opportunity Areas” (Low-Poverty Areas with no more than 30% of resident families being African-American), and prohibit identification of units in “Moderately Subsidized Areas” (census tracts with a high percent of HCV holders, and more than 23.5% of families with income below the poverty level). The counseling agencies are penalized financially if they place families in units in Moderately Subsidized Areas, and are rewarded for placements in Opportunity or Low Poverty areas (see Part 6 below, for a further explanation).

Time will tell whether these provisions will alter the established pattern of the vast majority of HCV rentals being in the two racially segregated areas on the south and west sides of Chicago containing a high percent of families who are below the poverty line, many of whom are HCV holders. The contractual provisions noted above should provide a powerful incentive to the counselors to attempt to break the pattern, and begin dispersal of HCV holders throughout the City. Compliance with these provisions will also prolong the time needed for each family’s search, thus again emphasizing the need for generous amounts of lead time, and for beginning the HCV process for Phase III now. Compliance will also underline the importance of counseling to prepare residents for life in more affluent, less segregated communities.

The new contracts also require the counseling agencies to develop landlord outreach programs, designed to increase the number of landlords with units in Opportunity and Low-Poverty Areas, and not those with units in Moderately Subsidized Areas. Consideration should be given to retaining an outside agency, not connected to the counseling firms, to conduct additional landlord outreach, and provide leads to the counselors and relocating families.

Second. A related matter concerns landlord discrimination against HCV holders (see footnote 13 above). In Report No. 3 (p. 3, par. 3), I recommended that CHA management consider engaging in legal proceedings to enforce the City of Chicago ordinance requiring landlords to rent on a non-discriminatory basis. I am told that a bill to that effect is now pending in the Illinois legislature (92nd General Assembly, HB 2280). I have also been told that members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners are considering proposing an amendment to the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance, that would explicitly prohibit discrimination against HCV holders.

I urge the CHA Chief Executive Officer and Board of Commissioners, to give vigorous support to these bills, and to propose that significant penalties be imposed on landlords who do not comply. Enactment of these laws should help integration of the HCV holders throughout the community. According to a November 2001 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research, “…all else equal, enrollees in [HCV] programs that are in jurisdictions with laws that bar discrimination based on source of income (with or without Section 8) had a significantly higher probability of success of over 12 percentage points.”

I also urge the CEO and Board to support tax abatements for landlords who participate in the HCV program, as recommended in the Plan for Transformation for 2000, p. 38.

I repeat my earlier recommendation that the CHA Board and CEO mount a public relations campaign to encourage communities and landlords to make decent housing available to HCV holders on a non-discriminatory basis. (See Report No. 2, p.3.)

Third. One knowledgeable CHA employee told me that some members of the Phase II relocation counseling agencies were not familiar with the various social services available in Chicago. Because the counselors often have substantial contact with the relocating families, it has been suggested, and I concur, that the counselors be given training on this subject by selected service connector personnel.

Fourth. A CHA relocation project manager recommended that each relocating family be provided a packet of information explaining the stores, churches, social services, recreational areas, and the like, in their new neighborhoods. This seems like a good idea to me, similar to the Welcome Wagon used in many Chicago suburbs.

Fifth. Attention must be paid to the housing quality inspections conducted of units to be occupied by HCV holders. We personally found serious defects in a number of units which the various inspectors had approved. We were told of other unacceptable conditions which were observed by the CHA relocation specialists when they did their final pre-move inspections. One knowledgeable CHA employee — probably engaging in hyperbole in order to make a point — told us that the quality of some units into which residents with vouchers were moved was so deplorable that the inspectors “must have been taking money under the table.” Others told us that some of these units were probably approved despite their poor quality because the building-empty dates were drawing near. We were also told about requests for emergency inspections which were not responded to in a timely fashion.

When we discussed these matters with CHAC officials, we were told that their personnel did the best they could to conduct proper inspections, but the inspectors became overburdened as the deadlines for closing the buildings approached at the end of Phase II. We were also told that CHAC’s emergency inspection system — which is intended to have a CHAC inspector available to make an inspection of any occupied unit within 24 hours — was hindered by the large numbers of families being relocated at about the same time, which in turn caused delays in CHAC’s data entry, so that in some cases requests for emergency inspections were not received and acted upon promptly.

I do not wish to overstate the case. Having personally been through many of the CHA high rise buildings which were emptied in preparation for demolition in Phase II, it is my firm opinion that these buildings ought to be eradicated, and not replaced with anything similar to their present form. They are decrepit, dirty, and dangerous. They are not fit places for humans to live. They are an abomination, a blot on the good name of the City of Chicago. The replacement housing in the private HCV market which my associates and I have seen is superior to that from which the families moved.

Nevertheless, a rigorous program of quality control should be instituted by CHAC, and enforced by the CHA, to assure that the inspections are performed in a thorough and consistent manner. CHAC’s data entry system should be reviewed so that emergency inspections are
done promptly; failure to do so could present a potentially dangerous situation for residents who may have no heat, electricity or other necessities. Some of these problems ought to be avoided in Phase III owing to the earlier start to the process and the staggered building closing dates.

Sixth. During Phase II, CHAC sent letters to all lease compliant residents who selected HCV housing as their temporary or permanent housing choice, and passed a criminal background check. The letters instructed the residents to bring a variety of documents (including social security cards, birth certificates, proofs of income, etc.) with them to their scheduled interviews at CHAC. Residents often came to the interviews without the proper documents, which required rescheduling the interviews, with resultant loss of time and momentum. After the resident interviews, CHAC personnel had to verify the residents’ income by contacting their employers or other sources of income.

Residents who choose HCVs as their housing option, after being declared lease compliant and passing police background checks, receive letters from CHAC instructing them to bring various documents to scheduled CHAC interviews. These documents include birth certificates, social security cards, and records showing their sources of income (pay stubs, public aid statements, etc.). Many residents have difficulty obtaining all of the required documents, and often come to their CHAC interviews without the proper documentation. When this occurs, the CHAC interviews have to be rescheduled until the full set of documents is assembled. The property managers obtain the same documents required by CHAC during their annual tenant recertifications, and also verify the residents’ income. Therefore, if the property managers sent the documents and income verifications directly to CHAC, delays and needless trips could be avoided, and weeks shaved off CHAC’s processing time.

This efficiency can only be accomplished if property managers are diligent in conducting their annual recertifications, keeping their resident files updated and accurate, and sending the files to CHAC, as I discuss more fully in Part 8 below.

Seventh. We were told that many families did not want to move to certain locations in the private rental market because of fear of gang affiliations in those areas. This is dealt with in more detail in Part 13 below.

Eighth. I was informed that no funds have been authorized to pay landlords to hold units while the CHAC rent, lease, and inspection processes are concluded. This puts acceptable units at risk, and they are sometimes lost, because the landlords are unwilling to wait to rent the units while CHA and CHAC complete the approval process. I have been told that housing authorities in other cities have a fund available to pay landlords a prorated portion of the rent as a holding fee. Several knowledgeable persons have cautioned that this could become an expensive, abused system, because many landlords, knowing of the availability of the funds, will demand a holding fee even when without the fee they would be willing to hold the unit for a reasonable time for the HCV process to conclude.

I lack sufficient knowledge to opine on this matter, but I urge that CHA and HUD officials consider this issue.

Ninth. I was told that residents who select HCVs but who have no income, are normally provided with a stipend with which to pay monthly utility bills when the rent does not include utilities. However, when this is done, the amount of the stipend is deducted from the amount CHAC has to pay for rent, so that the units available to those families tend to be in less desirable, more distressed areas of the City. Hence, I urge that consideration be given to setting aside funds, separate from those allocated for the payment of rent, to assist zero income residents with the payment for utilities.

Recommendation 11: The process of moving families with HCVs in Phase III should begin now, and should be spaced out throughout 2003 so as to avoid the kind of last minute rush that occurred in Phase II.

Recommendation 12: The relocation counselors should make strenuous efforts to show families rental units in racially integrated areas that are not already saturated with families whose income is below the poverty level, or who are HCV holders.

Recommendation 13: Responsible CHA officials and representatives of the CAC and LACs should carefully monitor the counseling agencies’ adherence to the terms of their contracts with respect to identifying units in Low-Poverty and Opportunity areas.

Recommendation 14: An outside agency, not connected to the relocation counseling firms, should be retained to do supplemental landlord outreach in racially and economically integrated areas of Chicago.

Recommendation 15: CHA management and the CHA Board of Commissioners should give vigorous support to local and state legislation which will prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to HCV holders, and which will provide tax abatements for landlords who participate in the HCV program.

Recommendation 16: CHA management and the CHA Board of Commissioners should mount a public relations campaign to encourage communities and landlords to make decent housing available to HCV holders on a non-discriminatory basis.

Recommendation 17: Where appropriate, the relocation counselors should be given training by selected service connector personnel on the various social services available in Chicago.

Recommendation 18: Each relocating family should be provided a packet of information explaining the services available in the family’s new neighborhood.

Recommendation 19: The inspection and approval processes for all HCV units in Phase III should be carried out so as to assure that every unit is in a decent, safe and sanitary condition. Counselors should be prohibited from showing units owned by landlords who provide unacceptable units.

Recommendation 20: CHAC should assure that its data entry on resident moves is done on a current basis, so that when emergency inspections are requested they will be made promptly.

Recommendation 21: In order to save time, and to avoid the potential for rescheduling residents’ interviews, CHAC should obtain all of the residents’ available preliminary HCV documentation directly from the property managers.

Recommendation 22: CHA and HUD officials should consider making a fund available for payments to landlords to keep desirable units available while the HCV approval process is ongoing.

Recommendation 23: CHA officials should give consideration to setting aside funds, separate from those allocated for payment of rent, to assist zero income residents with the payment of utilities.

6. The explanation of potential moves to opportunity areas.

The CHA Leaseholder Housing Choice and Relocation Rights Contract provides in Section 6a:

“Mobility Counseling is available for Leaseholders interested in moving to opportunity areas,” defined as “census tracts with no more than 23.49% of families with incomes below the poverty level (‘low poverty census tract’) and no more than 30% African-American population (‘racially diverse census tract’). Mobility Counseling is available for Leaseholders who indicate an interest in moving to opportunity areas or to low poverty or racially diverse census tracts.”

Section 6b requires that the CHA shall provide “transportation assistance for mobility moves sufficient to allow the Leaseholder in each case to inspect up to three Section 8 units.”

In the Plan for Transformation for 2000, the services to be rende
red to families who were relocating from public housing with HCVs were described as including “…mobility counseling, including assistance in finding a unit, neighborhood choice options, and visits to possible opportunity areas” (p. 39).

The Memorandum of Approval and Resident Protection Agreement, dated February 6, 2000, states in Part II, par. B 2:

“Relocation Counseling: CHA’s Plan for Transformation includes various protections for relocatees. As CHA has stated, families who must move from buildings to be demolished or redeveloped under the Plan for Transformation will receive extensive pre-move counseling, assistance in accessing services, Section 8 mobility counseling so that they can make informed choices and secure adequate housing, and post-move counseling….”

In the CHA Information Booklet for Residents to be Relocated, Abt Assoc. (Oct. 1, 1999), it was stated (p. 11): “CHA has contractors who will help each family with their housing search. This help will include not just the names of landlords in Chicago, but also Mobility Counseling to help families consider other locations that might have better job prospects, schools, be closer to family or friends, etc.”

Despite these written promises and representations, mobility counseling for moves to opportunity areas was not offered to the families who relocated with HCVs during Phase II. In Report No. 4, I stated that during Phase II, “As a practical matter, counseling for opportunity moves was a dead letter.” To be more direct about the matter, to my knowledge and that of my associates, during Phase II there was hardly even brief mention made of the notion of potential moves to opportunity areas, and absolutely no counseling on the subject.

  • In my interviews with various persons involved in the relocation process, I have encountered disparate views as to whether it is worthwhile to explain the potential for mobility moves to opportunity areas to families who are being relocated under the Plan for Transformation:
  • Some say that all of the relocating families ought to be told about moves to opportunity areas at the very outset, even though they may not take advantage of the program at the time of their first move from the buildings which are being vacated. They argue that the option of moving to neighborhoods that are not populated with so many families living in poverty, and that are less segregated, should be explained early on, with the hope that eventually many of the families will give serious consideration to doing so.
  • Others say that, as a practical matter, those making their first move from public housing whether to other public housing or to the private rental market with HCVs should not be burdened with the complications of mobility programs. They point out that the data show that most first relocatees choose to move either to other public housing developments, or with HCVs to well defined, highly segregated areas on the south and west sides of Chicago, populated largely by families who are below the poverty level. They contend that the families who have elected to move into the private housing market have enough to contend with in making their initial move, without being burdened with the additional complication of considering moving to areas inhabited by families who do not share their low income levels or ethnic backgrounds. They conclude that to encourage moves to opportunity areas with first time HCV movers will result in confusion and “overload,” without accomplishing any real good; and that it is far wiser to postpone the encouragement of moves to opportunity neighborhoods until the family has had at least one year of experience in the private rental market.

As noted above, this was a moot issue during Phase II, because no serious effort was made to explain the availability of moves to opportunity areas, or provide counseling on the subject.

In light of the foregoing, I was somewhat taken aback when, on October 9, I received the CHA response to my Report No. 2 (August 5, 2002), in which the CHA stated:

“… at the beginning of the relocation process, each resident learned about mobility moves at the Relocation Planning Meetings. Then at the voucher briefing CHAC provided another mobility overview. These informal sessions occurred prior to residents looking for housing with the counseling agencies.”

This was surprising because, prior to receiving the CHA’s response, my associates and I had attended a number of Relocation Planning Meetings, and we had observed either no mention of mobility moves or opportunity areas, or references so vague and fleeting as to be meaningless to the uninitiated audience. We had not, however, attended a CHAC voucher briefing, so I was not able to verify the assertion that in those sessions “CHAC provided another mobility review.” Accordingly, on October 11, I sat in on a CHAC voucher briefing, attended by a number of residents who were being relocated in Phase II. The CHAC presenter made no reference whatsoever to mobility moves or opportunity areas. In response to my specific question, he said he had no knowledge of or information about opportunity areas. As a result, a meeting was held soon thereafter to discuss this situation, attended by CHAC personnel, Meghan Harte and myself. Differing opinions were expressed as to the risk of “overloading” first time relocatees with explanations about moving to an opportunity area, and the wisdom of doing so. In the end, it was agreed that no such explanation was then being given at CHAC voucher briefings, and that henceforth the initial CHAC briefings should include an explanation of moves to opportunity areas.

After that, I attended sessions given to heads of families at CHAC (second mover briefing), the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities (LCMOC), and Housing Choice Partners (HCP). During all of these meetings there were extensive explanations given about mobility moves to opportunity areas. A meeting then was convened among representatives of those three organizations Jennifer O’Neil of CHAC, Christine Klepper of HCP, and Mary Davis of LCOMC together with Hector Gamboa of the Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH), and Meghan Harte. We talked about the varying opportunity counseling programs, their problems, approaches, clienteles, geographical areas, and landlords. (See Appendix 3 to this report.) We did not discuss the advisability of presenting the opportunity neighborhood concept to the relocating families in Phase III.

As a result of this meeting, it was agreed that a professional videotape should be prepared which these organizations could show to families who receive a briefing for moves to opportunity areas. While there are differences in these organizations’ programs, which might require tweaking of the video presentation for each, the main message is the same, and all have the same general goal in mind: to encourage families to consider moving to areas in which most residents are not in the low poverty category, and in the cases of LCMOC and HCP in which most residents are not African-American. Soon thereafter, Susan Lloyd of the MacArthur Foundation agreed to fund this project, and she authorized the Chicago Video Project to produce the video. The process is now underway. The product of this effort promises to be an excellent tool for presenting an accurate, consistent, and enthusiastic explanation about the opportunity neighborhood programs.

As mentioned in Part 2 above, during the project managers’ initial meetings with residents, a brief explanation is being given about moves to opportunity areas. Also, as noted in Part 5 above, CHA will contract with several additional agencies to assist in the HCV counseling function in Phase III, and the contracts pro
vide incentives for placements of HCV families in low poverty areas, and disincentives for placements in high poverty areas. The contracts with four of the agencies contain an “Opportunity Relocation Program,” under which moves to Opportunity Areas (census tracts with no more than 23.5% of families having income below the poverty level, and with no more than 30% of the families being African-American), will be described at a Relocation Planning Meeting to the families who are to be relocated in Phase III. For example, the CPF contract provides:

“Each family that lives in a building that is scheduled for consolidation in the Plan for Transformation will attend a Relocation Planning Meeting. At these Planning Meetings, Contractor shall describe Opportunity Moves, moves to Low-Poverty Areas and the services available to assist residents in making Opportunity Moves and moves to Low-Poverty Areas. The goal of the overview is that each family sufficiently understands the potential benefits of moving to an Opportunity area or Low-Poverty Area and the assistance Opportunity Counseling provides so that they can make informed decisions about whether to choose Opportunity Counseling.

“At the Relocation Planning Meeting, Contractor shall provide or coordinate an oral presentation regarding education and economic opportunity in the Opportunity Areas and information regarding relocation to Low-Poverty Areas. Counselors who are experienced and believe the opportunity moves can be successful will share their experience with successful opportunity moves.”

The contract requires that CPF identify at least five units in Opportunity or Low-Poverty Areas, based on each family’s preference, and CPF must escort the family to at least three of the units. The contract prohibits identification of units in certain areas already saturated with a high percentage of poor residents and HCV holders (East Garfield, Englewood, Grand Boulevard, Washington Park, West Englewood and Woodlawn). The contract provides that the counseling agencies will not receive a $500 placement fee unless the unit is in an Opportunity or Low-Poverty area.

There remains the question, discussed above, whether it is worthwhile, or counterproductive, to give detailed briefings or explanations about potential moves to opportunity areas to first-time relocatees. Judging from the response which the Leadership Council received in November 2001 to its offer of the Gautreaux II Program to CHA residents living in public housing, there appears to be great potential interest in moves to opportunity areas by first-time relocatees. I therefore endorse the view, now reflected in the four counseling agencies’ contracts, that the explanation should be made at the very outset of the relocation process.

As noted above, I have sat through several opportunity move explanations, and I observed first hand wide variations in content and form. Therefore, I urge that those who will make the presentations be required to use a uniform script, and hold practice sessions with one another. The video being prepared by the Chicago Video Project should be presented when it is ready. The oral presentations should be delivered in an enthusiastic, affirmative fashion, with vivid descriptions of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, and their varied resources such as schools, churches, stores, transportation, employment opportunities, hospitals, and the like. Articulate family members who have made successful moves to opportunity areas should be enlisted to speak at these meetings.

My experience leads me to believe in the importance of the monitoring of this process, to make certain that the presentations are being conducted in the fashion intended.

These sessions, at the outset of the relocation process, should act as a proving ground to assess whether presentation of mobility moves to opportunity areas to “first movers” results in understanding or confusion. Experienced observers should be able to judge whether or not the opportunity move concept is appropriate for presentation to first time relocating families, or whether it should be reserved for families who have already had experience living in the private rental market. There appears no “downside” to following this plan in Phase III, and it will in all likelihood result in identifying families who desire and are qualified to participate in moving to opportunity neighborhoods.

Recommendation 24: Explanations about moves to opportunity areas should be made at the outset of the relocation process to all families involved in Phase III. The presenters should use a common script, and should hold joint practice sessions. The oral presentations should be given in an enthusiastic, affirmative fashion, with vivid descriptions of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, and their varied, attractive resources, such as schools, churches, stores, parks, transportation, employment opportunities, hospitals, and the like. Articulate family members who have made successful moves to opportunity areas should be enlisted to speak at these meetings. When it becomes available, the video tape being prepared by the Chicago Video Project about mobility moves to opportunity areas (with appropriate changes to fit the situations of first time relocatees from public housing) should be shown.

Recommendation 25: Representatives of the CHA and the residents should monitor these presentations, to make certain that they are being conducted properly.

7. The Service Connector Program.

In the Plan for Transformation for 2000, the CHA announced that a new model was being put in place, the main strategy of which “is the establishment of development-based community workers – ‘service connectors’- who will assist residents in identifying and accessing services that already exist or are provided in close collaboration with other public and private agencies” (p. 33). An annual commitment of approximately $7.1 million was made to establish service connectors at each CHA property (p. 33).

This model evolved into what is now known as the Service Connector Program, which was put into place in the spring of 2001. In the Plan for Transformation for 2002, it is stated that by December 31, 2001, the CHA expected to have implemented the program at all family properties; to have developed performance standards to ensure that residents received referrals to and assistance from service providers; to have measured the performance of the service connector model to ensure the satisfactory delivery of social services to CHA residents; and to have developed a service plan for every leaseholder who is unemployed (pp. 5 and 9). “The program is designed to connect residents to services and ensure that they stay or become lease compliant, employed and integrated into the community” (p. 34).

The program is administered and monitored by the Chicago Department of Human Services (CDHS) under a contract with the CHA, with assistance from personnel in the CHA Community Development/Supportive Services Department. The CDHS has a staff of six to implement and manage the program. The CHA has a staff of three cluster managers, each of whom is assigned to oversee the service connector agencies located in one or two areas or clusters in Chicago, and three supervisors. The CHA-CDHS contract provides that the program is intended to serve families in 23 CHA developments (“Family Developments”), and that CDHS will (among other things):

“5. Administer to the Family Development resident population an assessment tool developed specifically to demographically address, identify and prioritize resident support service needs.

“6. Generate referrals to CDHS and outside service providers for the following in accordance with the completed assessments:

  • Continuing Education

  • Adult Education
  • Literacy Programs
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Mental Health Services
  • Child Care
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Supplemental Food
  • Domestic Violence Counseling
  • Employment
  • Training and Apprenticeship Programs
  • Job Placement
  • Substance and Alcohol Abuse
  • Medical Services
  • Child Protective Services
  • Advocacy Services

“7. Work with each private property manager at the Family Developments to ensure that corrective action plans are developed and implemented to help residents navigate issues that impact the overall management of property, such as lease compliance, property maintenance, social behavior and financial stability.”

Four organizations were selected to act as the service connectors lead agencies. The contracts are dated June 1, 2001, and have been extended to December 31, 2002 (further extensions to June 30, 2003 are now in process). Their responsibilities were divided into geographical areas in Chicago related to the locations of the CHA housing developments involved:

  • Abraham Lincoln Center: Madden, Wells and Lake Parc Place.
  • Employment & Employer Services: Cabrini-Green, Lathrop Homes, Robert Taylor, Stateway Gardens, Wentworth Gardens, Washington Park and Randolph Tower.
  • Marcy Newberry & Associates, Inc.: ABLA, Rockwell Gardens, Maplewood Courts, LeClaire Courts, Ogden Courts, Lawndale Gardens, Harrison Courts and Henry Horner Homes.
  • The Woodlawn Organization: Altgeld/Murray, Dearborn, Ickes, Lowden Homes, Hilliard, Bridgeport, Prairie Courts and Trumbull Park.

The concept of the Service Connector Program was that personnel of the lead agencies would be available to residents to assist them in trying to solve specific social problems, such as unemployment, lack of lease compliance, overdue utility bills, drug and alcohol addiction, bad credit ratings, child care, domestic violence, medical needs, depression, and the like. The connectors were to reach out to residents to provide information to them about available resources in the community, to refer residents to governmental or private agencies that could respond to residents’ needs, and to verify that satisfactory outcomes were achieved. The outcomes focused chiefly on four areas employment, lease compliance, community integration and family stability ( which included alcohol and drug addiction, and disability counseling). Service connectors were to be made available to all of the approximately 36,000 CHA public housing residents (including the residents of six so-called City-State developments), not just those scheduled for relocation in Phase II.

The program was funded in Phase II with $5.9 million. The RFP issued in 2002 stated, “Under the Service Connector Program, Contractors will ensure the CHA families are employed, lease compliant and receive the necessary services to sustain their family stability. These services will be provided through a comprehensive approach that links CHA families to services meeting the unique needs of each family.” The service connector firms’ employees were designated as Resident Services Advocates, Service Coordinators and Case Managers, the latter two being social work professionals. The job description of the case managers was to serve “as a provider of longer-term, intensive, and direct services to CHA residents,” including assisting “residents in the acquisition of skills necessary to successfully function in everyday life, such as, life skills, budgeting and finance, household management, personal hygiene, and presentation of self,” and to develop “a set of strategic goals, objectives, and strategies to guide residents in creating and achieving housing permanence, economic self-sufficiency and family stability.” The job description of the service coordinators included providing “motivation and encouragement to residents as they pursue life plans”; assisting “families by making referral appointments, accompanying as necessary, and following up that the services were provided”; and developing “a set of strategic goals, objectives, and strategies to guide residents in maintaining housing stability.”

“Case Management” was defined as follows:

“Residents needing extensive services are linked to Case Managers who work closely with the families until the problems identified are out of the crisis phase and it is evident that the resident is engaged in problem resolution. Case Management is provided for those families with long-term, complex issues requiring intensive service provision, referral and follow-up services. Case Management is intended to support clients through crisis resolution of complex barriers to the outcomes of housing permanence, economic self-sufficiency and family stability.”

CHA entered into similar contracts with the four connector agencies. For example, the Abraham Lincoln Centre contract stated:

“Summary of Proposed Services

“Abraham Lincoln Centre proposes to be the lead agency for the Service Connector project that serves Wells, Madden, and Lake Parc Place. As lead agency, ALC will utilize its 95 years of experience in the community to partner with the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Department of Human Services to provide quality, supportive services on site to residents of CHA’s Family Developments. Through comprehensive assessments, intensive case management, quality service delivery, and coordinated community linkages, ALC will assure that CHA families are employed, lease compliant, and receive the service necessary to sustain family stability.

The Wells, Madden, Lake Parc Place clusters have 1,406 families that will be eligible for services. The residents will be served from a site at 631 E. 37th Street. The program will consist of six major components.

  1. Outreach
  2. Screening
  3. Information and referral
  4. Service coordination
  5. Case management
  6. Data collection

“The goal of the program is to enable CHA residents to move toward and achieve housing permanence and economic self-sufficiency. The program will help assure that the residents are lease compliant, employed, have stable family relations, and will be integrated into the current and new community.” (Emphasis added.)

Offices were prepared for the firms in the various CHA developments, including in the buildings scheduled for demolition or rehabilitation in Phase II. Although the program was not limited to families being relocated during the Plan for Transformation, priority was to be given by the service connector firms to families that were about to begin the relocation process. Residents were encouraged but not required to participate in the program. They were urged to contact their local service connector representatives for assistance with their problems. The service connectors were committed to reach out to the families in their assigned buildings. The program was publicized widely. In the brochure used by the CHA and CDHS to announce the program, it was stated:

“Whether it’s a simple answer to a specific question or support dealing with more serious issues, Service Connector can link you to the right resources related to:

  • Job training and employment
  • Lease compliance
  • Child care and after-school activities
  • Substance abuse
  • Health and mental health problems
  • Family conflict
  • Domestic violence
  • Budgeting and personal finances
  • Household management
  • Recreation and community activities.”

< /blockquote>

The Plan for Transformation for 2002 contains the following about the program (pp. 34-35):

“This program is designed to connect residents to services and ensure that they stay or become lease-compliant, employed and integrated into the community.

* * *

“The Goals for 2002 are:

  • Initiate contact with every CHA household;
  • Complete a service plan for every household that requests one;
  • Provide an appropriate referral for all households with service plans and for others requesting specific services;
  • Assist families in becoming lease-compliant, where necessary; and
  • Gather baseline data that CDHS will use to define performance measures.”

Clearly, this was an ambitious program with far reaching, lofty, laudable goals.

The Plan for Transformation for 2003, Phase III, contains an enthusiastic description of the results obtained through the Service Connector Program during Phase II. For example:

“… ‘Outreach’ starts with a family assessment that focuses on removing obstacles to personal goals. Counselors working on this system provide information, interagency referrals, service coordination and case management for all residents in senior and family developments. The Service Connector places a high priority on facilitating easy access to assistance, however, use of the services are (sic) the responsibility of the residents. Progress is monitored and intensive follow-up is provided to ensure CHA families are getting the targeted help they require.”

(At p. 33; see also p. 35 regarding employment and lease compliance, and the discussion in Part e below).

a. Contacts with families before they move.

The description of the intended purposes of the Service Connector Program which appears in the Plan for Transformation for 2002, and the laudatory summary of the program which appears in the 2003 Plan, are not at all consistent with the way the program was described by almost every person we talked to about the program. The almost unanimous view of the many persons with whom we spoke is that, insofar as families relocated in Phase II were concerned, the Service Connector Program did not accomplish or even come close to accomplishing its announced objectives as described above.

The information I received from many, many sources is that the Service Connector Program in Phase II was grossly underfunded, and therefore was grossly understaffed, with the result that it was only marginally effective in assisting a relatively few residents. I have been told that the number of successful long term outcomes was minimal.

Those who have told me of the serious shortcomings of this program are not only those who are generally critical of the CHA relocation process. Rather, they include tenants, tenant advocacy groups, service connector personnel (some of whom have been quoted in the press on this subject), and personnel of the CHA and the CDHS. They made no bones about the fact that the program did not achieve its goals in Phase II, largely because the funding was woefully inadequate.

Service connector personnel responded to residents’ requests for help, and attempted in many instances to make personal contact with the families in their assigned buildings, but the number of assigned families was so great, the number of connector personnel so few, and the problems of many residents so extensive, that it was a practical impossibility for them to establish the kind of personal, one-on-one relationships with families necessary to succeed in their assigned jobs. According to most reports we received, the Service Connector Program was a positive force, but a very limited one, during Phase II.

The problems with this program were many and varied. Here are evaluations of the Service Connector Program as described to me by many knowledgeable persons:

(1) The underlying concept of the program as funded was flawed. The relatively few connector personnel had insufficient time to establish meaningful relationships with most of the families in their assigned developments. In order to develop the kind of close, credible, trusting relationship necessary to provide effective services even the limited service of linking residents to other social agencies the case managers must make contact with the residents on a continuous basis. The residents must be persuaded to be forthcoming about problems that are often intimate and embarrassing. Trust in the case manager can only be built up over time. This was not possible in light of the large number of families and the few case managers involved in Phase II.

(2) The case managers’ tasks were made more difficult because of the deep seated, longstanding distrust many residents have of the CHA, owing to its repeated unkept promises that services being offered were intended to and would benefit residents.

(3) As to the residents who sought assistance, case workers had little time to devote to their problems, or to follow up on referrals so as to ascertain that appointments were kept, appropriate services were provided, progress was being made, and appropriate results obtained.

(4) A great many of the families housed in the CHA, including a large percentage of those now undergoing relocation, are dysfunctional, and problem-ridden in the extreme. “Self-selection” would not get the job done for them, because it was precisely those families who were least likely to request help, or to respond to a written notice, or even to a personal approach. Many of these residents were not prepared to try to deal with and remedy their longstanding, deeply ingrained problems. To achieve success with this group of persons, persistence was required: doors had to be knocked on; interviews had to be sought; help had to be offered in person, repeatedly. Trust had to be established. This process takes time, patience, talent and experience.

Strapped for time and personnel, the limited number of connector personnel devoted their energies to those who sought them out. The service connector personnel had virtually no time to pursue those who did not affirmatively ask for or respond to offers of aid the residents who most needed their help.

(5) A primary emphasis of the Service Connector Program was finding employment for adult family members. But lack of jobs was just a part of larger, deeper problems facing many residents. Many of those in need of social services had problems so severe that they required extensive counseling and a variety of intensive social services before they could become employable, even at menial, routine jobs. Depending on the development, estimates of this group run from 40 to 80%. Many of the residents the connectors helped place in jobs were unable to hold them for more than a few weeks.

(6) The amount allocated for salaries for case managers, advocates, and service coordinators was so low that it was difficult to find qualified professional personnel.

(7) All City and State social service providers were encouraged to give priority to CHA residents. However, this message was given almost two years ago, and apparently did not reach many of the agencies, who did not give (and perhaps did not desire to give) preference to CHA residents.

(8) Some of the outside agencies to whom service connector personnel referred CHA residents responded that they were already overburdened, so that they could not give the residents priority. Other social service providers told the service connectors that they were servicing the CHA residents, but were unwilling or unable to provide supporting evidence.

(9) Service connector personnel were required to spend a substantial amount of time completing paper work, and attending multiple meetings, much of which they considered unproductive and unnecessary
. Some estimates of what the service connectors believed to be excessive paperwork and meetings run as high as 50% of case managers’ time. These activities diverted them from their fundamental task of dealing personally with residents. A related problem was that understaffing resulted in case managers having to do routine tasks such as data entry, which further reduced their available time for residents.

(10) The priorities, requirements, and procedures of the program were altered abruptly from time to time (e.g., referral procedures, job placement requirements, and resident assessment forms), causing loss of focus and momentum in the lead service connector agencies. Conflicting and sometimes contradictory instructions were received from CHA on the one hand and CDHS on the other, causing irritation and frustration among service connector personnel. They spent substantial amounts of time responding to directions that were later revoked or replaced. There was confusion and consternation as to whether CDHS or CHA was in charge of the program. It appeared to service connector personnel that the program was not planned thoughtfully, thoroughly, and realistically, and that CHA and CDHS were not working collaboratively.

(11) Great emphasis was put by the CHA and CDHS on the service connectors’ reporting the number of their job placements, referrals to outside agencies and case files opened. However, these numbers have very little real meaning, because they did not establish whether or not any benefit to the residents was achieved. For example, some residents were referred to outside agencies as a result of initial assessments conducted by service connector personnel; these referrals counted toward the agencies’ performance evaluations, but the residents often failed to make contact with the outside agency, or did not pursue the outside agency’s recommendations or plans. Thus, those referral numbers reflected activities, but not results.

Let me return to where I began. The consistent view and experience of those to whom I spoke confirmed the importance of extensive personal interaction and strong personal relationships between case managers and residents. They emphasized again and again that without the trust resulting from those contacts, it was (and will be) difficult and often impossible for caseworkers to convince residents to undergo meaningful assessments by service connector personnel, to accept and act on suggestions for referrals to outside agencies, and to cooperate in activities designed to determine whether progress has been made and positive outcomes have been achieved.

As noted above, this was conceived as a “connector” program, with the four agencies’ personnel making referrals to other agencies who would help the residents deal with and solve their problems, and the connectors assuring that the services were properly provided, and appropriate outcomes achieved. But that template grossly oversimplified the nature of the situation, especially the time and persistency required in reaching and persuading residents to seek help, and then following through to see that the referrals yielded the intended results. The case managers were overwhelmed by the number of families, the breadth and depth of many families’ problems, the lack of resources available to the connector agencies, and the time they spent on paperwork and at meetings.

For this program to achieve its announced objectives, it will be necessary to hire many additional case managers. Various knowledgeable persons in this field have told me that in dealing with troubled clients, a ratio of families served to case managers should be no greater than 40 actively participating families to 1 case manager. During Phase II, the ratio of connector personnel to resident families needing their services was grossly out of kilter. Here are some ratios we were told obtained during 2002:

  • Three staff members served a development of 500 families, a ratio of 166 to 1.
  • A development of between 400 and 500 families was served by one resident services advocate, one service coordinator, and one case manager, a ratio of approximately 150 to 1.
  • In a development of 2,000 residents, many of whom have serious financial and social problems, the service connector had a staff of four persons, including two case managers, a ratio of 500 to 1.
  • The average resident family to case manager ratio of one of the lead service connector agencies was 200 to 1.
  • Three developments of approximately 1,500 families were served by three case managers, three resident services advocates, and one service coordinator, making the overall ratio 215 to 1.

I was told repeatedly, and I am persuaded, that with these ratios the objectives of the Service Connector Program could not be and were not accomplished. With the current ratios, the program as publicized is doomed to continued failure.

It is not necessary to inquire whether it is or is not the public’s responsibility to help CHA residents with their social problems, including families being relocated under the Plan for Transformation. Governmental authorities have already undertaken that responsibility by legislation, regulation and contract. The CHA has trumpeted its intention to do so. Accordingly, as to Phase III and future relocation phases, the question is how will the responsible government agencies assist these people in the process of moving from their current public housing residences to their replacement homes, and achieve the commendable published objectives of the Service Connector Program.

For service connectors’ personnel to do their assigned tasks properly and here I mean the tasks as defined in the CDHS’ RFP, the service connectors’ contracts, and the publicity distributed about the program they must understand the full range of difficulties each relocating family is encountering, and stay personally and closely in touch with the family, both before and after referrals. They must establish personal knowledge of the needs of each family member, and spend time assessing and addressing those needs. They must ensure that the agencies to whom the family members are referred have responded appropriately. They must get and stay connected. They must verify results over time.

In order for this to occur, substantial additional funding will be required, far beyond the amounts currently allocated and approved by the CHA Board of Commissioners.

Recommendation 26: The Mayor’s office, the CHA and the CDHS should convene another meeting of all City and State social service providers, to emphasize again that priority should be given to referrals of CHA residents, particularly those who are in the process of relocation under the Plan for Transformation.

Recommendation 27: All service connector lead agencies should be monitored by CDHS and CHA to assure that they are aggressively establishing relationships with the social service providers in their assigned areas, and are doing the required tracking and follow through to determine whether or not appropriate services have been provided to the CHA residents they have referred.

Recommendation 28: The social service providers should be requested and urged to create systems to track separately the services they provide to CHA residents, and make their tracking systems available to the lead service connector agencies, the CDHS and the CHA.

Recommendation 29: Quarterly meetings should be convened by CHA and CDHS with representatives of the service connector lead agencies and of a public-private provider network, in order to provide information to each other, share common concerns, determine ways in which the Service Connector Program can be improved, and ways to coordinate and streamline the delivery of services.

b. Contacts with f
amilies who choose HCVs after they move.

There is another aspect of the Service Connector Program which requires fixing the continued contact with families who have moved to the private housing rental market with HCVs. It is my understanding that during Phase II, three kinds of services were provided to families after they moved with an HCV into a private rental unit:

First, each relocated HCV family was provided with a toll free telephone number for United Way/Crusade of Mercy, and told to call that number in the event they were in need of services of the kind provided by the service connectors.

Second, if a service connector had an open file on a family that moved with an HCV, connector personnel were (and still are) responsible to follow through to ascertain whether appropriate results were attained, and if not, to attempt to find solutions.

Third, each family was to be contacted by the relocation counseling agency which placed them in the unit (Changing Patterns For Families or E. F. Ghoughan) after 30, 60, 90, 180 and 270 days. Several of these contacts were to be home visits, and the rest by telephone, unless problems arose requiring a personal visit. During these contacts, the counselor was to observe how the family was getting along, and whether issues arose requiring further handling by the counselor or a different agency; if the latter, the counselor was to make an appropriate referral. The counseling agencies’ personnel who are to make these contacts are usually not professional social workers and, as noted in Part 5 above, are often unfamiliar with available social services.

Service Connector personnel told me that traveling to the residents’ new HCV locations consumed a great deal of time, much of which was wasted, because many residents did not have telephones in their new units, and were not at home when the visits were attempted. We have been told that the agencies were sometimes unable to obtain accurate current addresses for the relocated families.

The net result was that during Phase II service connector personnel had very little contact with families after they were relocated with HCVs.

The Plan for Transformation for 2003 states (p. 40), “During relocation, the Service Connector will track the weekly progress of all relocated families who may not be lease compliant.” Here again, with all due respect, I must register my most serious doubts that this promise will be fulfilled in Phase III with the Program’s current funding.

Recommendation 30: The CHA should establish a system by which service connector lead agencies will be advised on a current basis of the addresses to which the residents of their respective developments have moved with HCVs, so that CDHS and the lead agency staffs may readily identify the social service providers in the new community areas.

c. Future funding and objectives.

I have been told that additional funds will be allocated to the Service Connector Program during 2003, bringing the total to $7.1 million, and that additional personnel will be employed by CDHS and the service connectors.

This greater financial commitment is a good development, and if competent persons are assigned to the tasks, will provide a partial, albeit limited, answer to the concerns expressed above. Bear in mind that the additional funding authorized by the CHA Board of Commissioners will not be used exclusively for relocating families. Rather, as in Phase II, the funds will be used to provide services for all of the many thousands of current CHA public housing residents, as well as those involved in the Phase III relocation process.

A number of knowledgeable commentators have concluded that in order for many if not most of the families who have relocated with HCVs to succeed in the private housing market, and thus remain eligible to return to public housing, they will require repeated personal contact and services, far beyond those now offered to them. Otherwise, those families are at risk of being evicted from the units to which they have relocated, losing their HCVs, and thereby their right of return to CHA housing when it becomes available.

As Independent Monitor, I believe it appropriate to voice my serious doubts as to whether this relatively modest additional funding will be adequate to meet the needs of the CHA families who have relocated and will relocate under the Plan for Transformation, including those slated for Phase III.

Based upon the information I have before me, I believe the CHA should put into place a program for case managers to be assigned to all families who have moved or are scheduled to move to CHA make-ready units, and to all families who have or will move temporarily into the private housing market with HCVs, pursuant to the Plan for Transformation. This includes all families who have already relocated, and families who are currently being relocated, pursuant to the Plan for Transformation, except those who have relocated permanently with HCVs. The case managers should not have responsibility for any other families. They would supplement the contacts with HCV families by the relocation counselors, and replace the United Way/Crusade of Mercy toll free call-in number.

The case managers should maintain close contact with their assigned families, and assist them in handling problems that arise, such as employment, credit, domestic violence, substance abuse, conflicts with the landlords, and the like. They should also coach the families who intend to return to CHA housing about the relevant site specific criteria the families will be expected to meet, and how to achieve compliance.

These recommendations are intended to enable the CHA to accomplish its own highly publicized purposes of the Service Connector Program. They will require that action be taken as so many of those to whom we have spoken have confirmed to add substantial additional funding, and to contract with additional qualified agencies, or have the existing agencies employ additional trained, experienced staff.

Recommendation 31: Substantial additional funding should be provided for the Service Connector Program during Phase III, to the end that case managers will be assigned to all families who have moved or are scheduled to move to CHA make-ready units, and to all families who have or will move temporarily into the private housing market with HCVs, pursuant to the Plan for Transformation. This includes all families who have already relocated, and families who are currently being relocated, pursuant to the Plan for Transformation, except those who have moved permanently with HCVs. The case managers should not have responsibility for any other families. They should supplement the contacts with HCV families by the relocation counselors, and replace the United Way/Crusade of Mercy toll free call-in number. The case managers should maintain close contact with their assigned families, and assist them in handling problems that arise, such as employment, credit, domestic violence, substance abuse, conflicts with the landlords, and the like. They should also coach the families who intend to return to CHA housing about the relevant site specific criteria the families will be expected to meet, and how to achieve compliance.

d. Relations between CHA and CDHS.

As noted above, the CHA entered into a contract with CDHS under which CDHS undertook responsibility to administer and monitor the service connectors’ performance, and to ensure that the service connectors were accomplishing the objectives of the program. CDHS was obligated to meet regularly with CHA staff to determine the progress and implementation of the program, and to make periodic reports about the program to the CHA staff.

I have been told that the CHA has not yet shared with the CDHS the tracking reports which s
how the locations to which CHA residents moved in Phase II, but that this is to be done in the near future.

In the interviews we conducted of the different persons involved, it became obvious that considerable tension has developed between the CHA and CDHS personnel assigned to oversee and administer the program. I do not know the background or details of this problem, nor is it appropriate for me to act as judge or referee.

The relation between CHA and CDHS in this program is much like a partnership, requiring open and full communication and consultation on both sides, and the involvement of their respective chief administrators if necessary to ensure good working relationships. With patience and openness on both sides, I am confident this can and will be accomplished in 2003.

Recommendation 32: Responsible supervisors of CHA and CDHS should attempt with good spirit to improve their communications; and to consult with and involve each other in advance with regard to current problems, potential program and policy changes, communications and directions to the service connector agencies, and the like.

Recommendation 33: The CHA should provide CDHS, on a current basis, computerized tracking information showing the addresses to which residents have moved in the relocation process.

e. Candor in reporting.

When looking into the operation of the Service Connector Program during Phase II, I had no subpoena power or other methods to require that my inquiries be answered. The persons I spoke with cooperated voluntarily, without compulsion, although often with assurances of anonymity. Almost everyone was clear and open in discussing the shortcomings of the program. In addition, I read a number of stories in the local media that recounted some of the program’s faults.

Accordingly, I believe that the officials of the CHA and the CDHS, who are responsible for the program, were and are well aware of what I have written in Parts a and b above. They surely know that during Phase II the Service Connector Program did not accomplish its published goals, and was to a large extent a failure.

With this in mind, I call attention to the descriptions of the program contained in the Plan for Transformation for 2003 (pp. 33, 40):

“The CHA will help residents attain self sufficiency by providing residents with links to a variety of human services in their community. The CHA’s Service Connector System incorporates resident outreach with access to a broad network of successful human service agencies. The network includes access to a wide variety of occupational training, job opportunities and other supportive services intended to promote sustained employment, lease compliance, community integration and family stability. These efforts are designed to address the risk factors that hamper the residents’ goal of self sufficiency, specifically: insufficient networks for family support, inadequate family management practices, high unemployment and deteriorating community conditions.

* * *

“The Service Connector System is designed to enable CHA residents to achieve economic self sufficiency, gain housing permanence and participate fully in their communities. The Service Connector System is based on the premise that every family should be connected to services that support movement towards permanent housing and economic self sufficiency. Although the CHA has outsourced its programs that provide direct services, the Service Connector remains a critical connector between the CHA and its residents.

“The Service Connector System is a network of well-established, skilled social service agencies. The system is administered through contracts with the Chicago Department of Human Services (CDHS) and the Chicago Department on Aging (CDOA). The Service Connector reaches residents in a variety of formal and informal ways and aims to enable residents to address challenges. ‘Outreach’ starts with a family assessment that focuses on removing obstacles to personal goals. Counselors working with this system provide information, interagency referrals, service coordination and case management for all residents in senior and family developments. The Service Connector places a high priority on facilitating easy access to assistance, however, use of the services are the responsibility of the residents. Progress is monitored and intensive follow-up is provided to ensure CHA families are getting the targeted help they require.

* * *

“The CHA understands that families may need assistance in managing issues associated with lease compliance. Service Connectors play an instrumental role in this capacity. During relocation, the Service Connector will track the weekly progress of all relocated families who may not be lease-compliant.” (Emphasis added.)

These descriptions are obviously designed to convey the impression that during Phase II the Service Connector Program was a complete success, and by implication that a 17% ($1.2 million) increase in funding for Phase III will assure that the program continues to achieve the published goals (see Plan for Transformation for 2003, p. 34).

This is very far from an accurate portrayal of the facts as I learned them from many persons who were directly employed in the supervision and operation of the program in Phase II.

Not only are candor and honesty virtues in themselves, they also enhance the overall credibility of the author. After all, no program, government or private, works without glitches, and there should be no shame attached to admissions that shortcomings were discovered requiring corrective action. Forthright accounts of the failures as well as successes of our endeavors convey their own verity. On the other hand, glowing but inaccurate and misleading descriptions, like those quoted above and in the letter referred to in footnote 22, inevitably call into question the reliability of the CHA as to all its other claims of success for the Plan for Transformation.

Let me state here my great respect for the good work Mr. Peterson has done as CEO of the CHA. He deserves the thanks of all Chicagoans for the tremendous efforts he has made in the past several years to resuscitate the CHA, eradicate the awful gallery buildings, and help the residents achieve better homes and lives. But he ought not and he need not engage in partisan “cheerleading” in the face of contrary facts, thus exposing himself to justifiable criticism, tarnishing his own credibility, and diminishing the impact of the splendid job he and his staff have done.

Recommendation 34: CHA management should be candid, forthright and complete in describing the progress and results of the Plan for Transformation, including where applicable its shortcomings and failures.

8. The role of the property managers.

The resident property managers play an important role in the relocation process. Most public housing residents have regular and continuous contact with the staff of the property management. Residents routinely look to the property managers staff for assistance with day-to-day problems, and as a major source of information about matters of interest and concern to building residents.

Needless to say, some of the property management staff are held in higher esteem than others. We have been told of property managers who are extremely helpful and responsive. We have heard of others who are disdainful and harsh toward residents, and in those instances tenants tend not to rely on or trust the management staff. Fortunately, this appears to be the exception and not the rule. We have also heard of a few managers who resist cooperation with service connector pe
rsonnel. I will not name names; the tenants and CHA management staff are no doubt aware of those to whom I refer. Tenants and tenant leaders should tell the CHA officials of property managers who do not measure up to expectations, and the CHA should take prompt steps to investigate, and if warranted replace them.

It is important to engage the staff of the property manager of each building to be demolished in the relocation process. As noted, they play a large part in the daily activities in the developments, and are considered by many residents to be a source of solid information about “what’s going on.” That is why I have urged that representatives of the property management companies be expected to attend building meetings (see Parts 2 above and 9 below), and be made an integral part of the service connector network (Part 7 above).

As mentioned in Part 5 above, significant time could be saved in the HCV process if property managers sent resident documentation from their files to CHAC. This requires property managers to complete their annual recertifications on time, maintain organized, updated resident files, and send the necessary documents to CHAC at the appropriate time. We have been informed that many of the property management personnel cannot be relied on to successfully complete these tasks. The CHA must make proper filing and record keeping a top priority for property management firms. The responsible CHA personnel should regularly check to ensure that recertifications are promptly completed, and files are updated and ready to send to CHAC when needed.

It is also important that the building managers make data entries into the Relocation Management and Tracking System (RMTS) on a current basis, which I was told by a relocation project manager was often not done in Phase II.

I have heard from a number of persons that the various CHA property management firms do not enforce the conditions contained in the standard CHA lease Admissions and Occupancy (A&O) policy in a consistent manner: conduct that was acceptable during one month can cause the same resident to become non-lease compliant in the next month; and conduct that made a resident in one building non-lease compliant had no effect on the status of residents of another building. While property managers may feel that they are doing residents a favor by not strictly or uniformly enforcing the A&O policy, they may be doing them a disservice, by allowing them to become accustomed to not having to comply with their lease terms. These residents may thereby be rendered unprepared to deal with private landlords, and the managers of the new, mixed income replacement housing, who may be less tolerant of lease violations. In order to prepare the residents to survive in the private sector and the “new” CHA, a greater effort should be made by the CHA’s property management companies to apply and enforce the A&O policies fairly and consistently.

One final comment: Commander Charles Williams, head of the Chicago Police Department Public Housing Unit, told me that some members of the staff of the resident management corporation at 1230 N. Burling, in the Cabrini development, have been identified as assisting gang members that operate in and around that building.

Recommendation 35: Representatives of the property management companies should be expected to attend building meetings, and should be made an integral part of the service connector network.

Recommendation 36: CHA management should take prompt steps to replace property managers who do not perform their duties in an acceptable manner. Tenants and tenant leaders should assist by identifying to CHA officials the property managers who do not measure up to expectations.

Recommendation 37: Responsible CHA officials should check regularly to make certain that property managers are keeping current, well organized files; that they are making timely annual tenant recertifications; and that they are making accurate data entries into the RMTS on a current basis.

Recommendation 38: When tenants who are to be relocated with HCVs have been determined to be lease compliant and have passed the police background check, property managers should send to CHAC the documents from the managers’ files which CHAC requires to complete the HCV process.

Recommendation 39: Property managers should apply and enforce the CHA lease Admissions and Occupancy policies fairly and consistently.

9. The relocation building meetings.

During Phase II, meetings of the residents remaining in the buildings to be demolished were held, usually monthly or bi-weekly, on the first floor of the building or in a nearby location. In addition to building residents, the meetings were usually attended by some or all of the following persons: a CHA relocation project manager and relocation specialist; representatives of the relocation counseling agency (EFG or CPF); the service connector assigned to the development; a representative of the LAC, and of the building’s property management firm; and occasionally a CHA lawyer, an asset manager, or a representative of the developer designated by the CHA to build the replacement housing. As the building empty dates neared, the CHA relocation project managers began holding weekly building meetings for the residents of most of the buildings scheduled to close.

Near the end of the Phase II moving process, my associates and I attended more than 15 of these weekly meetings. We believe the residents who attended found them to be helpful. They afforded residents an opportunity to address their questions and express their concerns to knowledgeable persons, and receive current, accurate information, rather than rumors and speculation. They could talk face-to-face with those who could help them be assigned to a make-ready unit, find an HCV unit, schedule a move, or assist with lease compliance problems.

In order to obtain better attendance, the responsibility for notification of the meetings was often placed in the hands of the building manager, and tenants hired for that purpose. However, despite the efforts of CHA and LAC personnel, the meetings were often not well attended by residents.

Although there will always be some residents who will not attend regardless of the methods used to induce them, those involved in the process should make it a point to urge the residents to attend. This is a special responsibility of the LAC representatives, the service connectors, the relocation counselors and the building managers.

At initial building meetings we attended during Phase II, tables were set up for those who wanted more information about various aspects of the relocation process. In some instances the time allocated to the residents to present their questions and hold one-on-one discussions was insufficient; this should be remedied in Phase III.

In order to review the procedures to be followed and the messages to be conveyed to residents, prepatory sessions should be arranged of the personnel from the various agencies who will attend the building meetings. Practice runs, with critiques by the others in attendance, will go a long way to ensure that the information provided at the building meetings will be presented in an accurate, positive, enthusiastic manner. Here again, as suggested in Part 2 above, the speakers should emphasize the few important points to be made, such as lease compliance, the ongoing moving process, the importance of making new housing choices, and the availability of social services. Good visual aids containing those few “big” points will be particularly helpful to those who learn visually rather than orally.

Recommendation 40: Those involved in the Phase III relocation process should persuade residents who have not yet relocated
to attend the periodic building meetings.

Recommendation 41: Speakers at building meetings should hold preparatory “dress rehearsal” sessions, at which they consult with one another, and perform practice runs, so as to assure that the information given to the residents will be accurate and consistent, and delivered in a positive, enthusiastic manner. Consideration should be given to the use of well planned visual aids.

Recommendation 42: At initial building meetings where stations are set up for each facet of the relocation process, residents should be given ample time to have their questions answered.

10. The Good Neighbor training.

The CHA instituted “Good Neighbor” training workshops to provide relocating CHA residents with practical instructions on various “life skills” that many of the residents lacked. All residents who were to be relocated in Phase II those going to public housing make-ready units, as well as those moving with HCVs were required to attend Good Neighbor sessions.

My associates attended two sessions. They were somewhat different in methods and styles, but the content was fairly consistent. The materials dealt with family organization and leadership, housekeeping, budgeting, relationships with landlords, and integration into new communities. The materials handed out at the sessions were well-organized and informative, and on the whole it appeared that the program was well operated and effective.

Some have suggested that the content and tone of the sessions are condescending towards the residents. Our observations regarding the Good Neighbor sessions we attended do not support this view. The speakers we observed used a constructive tone, emphasizing the self-sufficiency of the residents, rather than talking down to them. Residents who had no need to be taught basic life skills might have found it belittling to be required to attend the training sessions, but that was the result of the CHA’s desire to make certain that all residents understood in advance some of the expectations that would be placed on them in their new neighborhoods, rather than the content of the program or the manner of the presenters.

The Good Neighbor sessions provided a great deal of information for residents to digest in a relatively short time period. During Phase II, there was extensive counseling on lease compliance and the relocation process. At one of the sessions that one of my associates attended, the presenters attempted to discuss lease compliance, the HCV process, and the Relocation Rights Contract. Unfortunately, the presenter was unable to answer many basic questions regarding these subjects; at one point, the presenter asked my associate to answer a resident’s relocation question. Needless to say, this led to confusion among the residents. This incident emphasizes the importance of the presenters staying within their assigned topics, and not straying or being led into other areas about which they may not have accurate and complete information. In the interest of conveying a consistent and clear message regarding the relocation process to the residents, the presenters should attempt to limit discussion to general life skills training. The residents will have ample opportunity to learn about the relocation process at the relocation planning meetings and town hall meetings, and in their interactions with CHA personnel, property managers, relocation counselors, relocation coaches, service connector staff, LAC personnel and others. Alternatively, a knowledgeable CHA representative should be present to respond to questions which may arise about the relocation process.

Despite the quality of the materials or effectiveness of the presenters, the physical settings for the sessions one of my associates attended significantly affected the session’s overall benefit. It was held in an extremely hot gymnasium, with poor acoustics. This environment curtailed the abilities of the speaker, who was otherwise an excellent choice, to motivate and connect with the residents. The speaker agreed that the setting made a difference in her ability to maintain the interests of the residents and to make the presentation more interactive. During Phase III, the sessions should be held in smaller, more intimate rooms with proper sound, lighting and temperature.

One other observation was made to me that warrants consideration to the extent feasible, the Good Neighbor training sessions should be scheduled relatively near the time of the residents’ moving dates, so that the helpful messages conveyed will more likely be retained in the residents’ consciousness when their moves occur.

Recommendation 43: The Good Neighbor sessions should attempt to limit discussion to general life skills training. Alternatively, a knowledgeable CHA representative should be present to respond to questions which may arise about the relocation process.

Recommendation 44: During Phase III, the Good Neighbor sessions should be held in small, intimate rooms with proper sound, lighting, and temperature.

11. The relocation team meetings.

My associates and I attended more than 100 relocation team meetings during Phase II. We began attending on a regular basis while my contract with the CHA and the CAC was being negotiated in late June and early July 2002. The meetings were usually held weekly in or near the buildings being emptied, and continued until after the buildings were empty. Those in attendance, with variations from week to week, were a CHA relocation project manager; a CHA relocation specialist; a CHA cluster manager (related to the Service Connector Program); a representative of the building’s property management firm; a representative of the service connector lead agency assigned to the building; a representative of the HCV relocation counseling firm assigned to the building (CPF or EFG); a CDHS area manager, as overseer of the Service Connector Program; the LAC president or a representative of the development’s LAC; a member of the CHA’s Office of General Counsel; and occasionally the CHA asset manager assigned to the building (overseer of the building’s property manager).

The meetings usually lasted about one hour. The discussions, commonly led by the CHA project manager, consisted mainly of reports from those present as to the status of the moving process related to each remaining tenant. As time went on, the list of tenants to be moved, and therefore the length of most of the meetings, became shorter. The discussions tended to concentrate on what needed to be done to facilitate moves of families still residing in the buildings, for example, whether there were lease compliance issues; setting up appointments with the relocation counselors; preparation of paper work for CHAC; the availability of a make-ready unit with the correct number of bedrooms; problems with elevators on moving days; and problems with gangs and violence that impaired counselors and connectors from making contacts with residents.

Most of the team meetings we attended were dedicated to reports on moving residents out of the buildings. Success was measured by the number of families moved since the last meeting. Very seldom was mention made of the quality or appropriateness of the units or areas to which families moved. As noted in Report No. 4 (p. 6, par. 6), “…the emphasis was on the quantity of moves, not the quality or appropriateness of the new location or unit.” As the deadlines for closing the buildings neared, the meetings became even more focused on the need for speed in the moving process. The statistics recounted in Report No. 4 (pp. 2-3, 8) graphically illustrate what happened. The rush to clear the buildings took precedence over all other considerations.

The important fact here is what we did not observe during the team meetings: hardly
ever did anyone in the room speak up on behalf of the residents. Occasionally an LAC representative asked a question or two about the location or quality of the move, but that occurred sporadically, and usually with no discernible effect on the proceedings. I do not mean to suggest that the persons present did not take quality and appropriateness into consideration. Rather, I am saying that, if they did and I assume they did they seldom verbalized their thoughts during the team meetings.

As I pointed out in Report No. 4 (Part 8, pp. 8-9), the result of the accelerated pace was that in many instances, particularly as the building closing dates approached, units to which residents were moved – in both pubic housing make-ready units, and private housing HCV units – were not selected in an orderly, thoughtful fashion, sometimes to the serious detriment of the families involved.

It is accordingly my belief that a designated representative of the tenants, with authority to speak on their behalf, should be present at all future team meetings, to inquire as to the quality and appropriateness of all proposed or scheduled moves. The person designated, a kind of tenant ombudsman, might be the LAC president or her representative, an LAC lawyer, or the Independent Monitor.

My purpose here is to inject the topic of the quality and location of each unit into the team meetings. A check list should be addressed as to each family. For example, as to those moving with HCVs, how many units were viewed, where, and what opportunity areas were considered? As to those moving to make-ready units, what buildings were considered, what floor, are the elevators operable, and are there rival gang problems?

It is important that the persons present at team meetings discuss those matters, in addition to the topics we heard discussed during Phase II, which dealt almost exclusively about the number of moves, and the need for more and quicker moves in light of the targeted closing dates. This additional discussion ought to help each participant to bear firmly in mind that he or she has a responsibility to locate and secure for each family the best accommodations available and appropriate for the family’s individual needs. If inquiries on these subjects are made on a regular basis by a person with authority, it will serve to sensitize the participants to the need continuously to ask themselves, as they go about the business of selecting new homes for the relocating families what kind of housing, and in what area, is best suited for this particular family?

The adoption of this procedure will undoubtedly cause the relocation process to move somewhat more slowly, but it will also proceed more thoughtfully and deliberately, and with greater emphasis on the needs and wishes of the families who are being required to move.

One final thought: the heads of the CHA’s Relocation, Operations, Community Development/Supportive Services, Asset Management and Section 8 departments, should periodically attend team meetings (as Rayne Martin did during Phase II). Their presence will emphasize the accountability of those present, and boost team morale.

Recommendation 45: At all relocation team meetings, a designated representative of the tenants, with authority to speak on their behalf, should inquire as to the quality and appropriateness of each of the proposed or scheduled moves to make-ready or HCV units.

Recommendation 46: The heads of the CHA departments involved in the relocation process should from time to time attend team meetings.

12. The physical moving process.

In addition to learning of the day-to-day and night-to-night dangers inherent in living in many CHA buildings (see Part 13 below), my associates and I heard accounts of difficulties involved in the moving process from a number of sources, including from persons present at various team meetings. On several occasions we went to the buildings to observe moves. We did not notice anything we considered drastically wrong or out of the ordinary. However, by that time we had become somewhat accustomed to the buildings’ filthy, chaotic conditions, the dark, winding cement staircases, and the unreliable, poorly lit elevators.

In previous reports, I called attention to problems which others have reported to us concerning the moving process. ( Report No. 2, par. 5; Report No. 3, par. 6; Report No. 4, par. 4.) The problems seem to be twofold:

First. The elevators in many of the gallery buildings were and still are often inoperable. To address this problem, the CHA relocation specialists have made it a practice to notify the elevator company to send representatives to the buildings on moving days, who remain on the premises during the entire moving process, and are available to assist in repairing any mechanical difficulties which may arise. This seems to have worked satisfactorily, in most instances, although we were told that on several moving days at buildings in the Robert Taylor and Stateway Gardens developments the elevators would not work, and the movers had to carry the residents’ belongings down the narrow stairways.

This situation presents a sad commentary on the state of decrepitude into which these buildings have fallen. Reflect for a moment of the impact which the lack of elevator service must have on the quality of life for building residents, particularly those who are elderly or disabled, those who live on upper floors, and those who are responsible on a regular basis for leaving the building for school, work, shopping, laundering and other daily routines, all of which become major hurdles without reliable elevators.

Second. Gangs have been said to interfere with the moving process. This subject is addressed in the following section of this report.

13. The matter of gangs and police protection.

In the Plan for Transformation for 2000, it is stated (p.35): “…all city residents, including CHA residents, deserve the same high quality of police protection.”

In Report No. 3 (par. 7, p. 3), I called attention to the dangers posed to residents from the violent, lawless gangs which infest many of the CHA gallery buildings. I stated that “…the government must accept the responsibility to assure the safety of the relocated residents, and to provide make-ready units in buildings which do not present risks to life or limb.” I stand by that statement today.

In the CHA’s response to this statement, the following assertion appears:

“CHA has provided a higher level of security for CHA residents than any citizen of Chicago receives through the Chicago Police Department.”

This statement — which describes a condition of affairs dramatically different from what I have observed and learned — is especially troubling because it is included in an official, formal CHA document, presumably written after thoughtful consideration; the CHA response was sent to me more than three weeks after Report No. 3 was issued.

Let me turn to the facts my associates and I have observed and learned:

We have personally observed men, apparently gang members, acting as lookouts at gallery buildings, and others conducting what clearly appeared to be illicit drug transactions.

We have spoken with police officials, residents, CHA employees, buildings managers, news reporters, and other knowledgeable persons. Commander Charles Williams, head of the CPD Public Housing Unit, and several of his ranking staff, generously spent hours with us. We learned that gangs, often bitter rivals, infest many if not most of the CHA gallery buildings. These men and boys, who in years past engaged in rowdy, youthful behavior, have formed gangs, devoted to trafficking in illegal drugs, and the use of deadly weapons to enforce selling boundaries, to coll
ect accounts payable, and to ensure loyalty of members. Even young children have been enlisted into gang activities.

We have been told in graphic terms about the dangers in many of the CHA gallery buildings, how the buildings are controlled by organized gangs whose chief occupation is selling drugs, and whose reckless, wanton use of weapons often results in deaths and serious injuries to rival gang members and their families, as well as to innocent bystanders, including children and elderly residents. They described some of the weapons confiscated from the buildings and gang members, including high-powered, sniper-type weapons, some equipped with silencers. They acknowledged that in the past, certain buildings have essentially been ceded to the gangs, with little or no effort made to patrol the buildings, to prevent violence in them, or to arrest the drug dealers.

We were told that the police are sometimes fearful of entering certain CHA buildings after dark, and how buildings have been “shut down” by gang members from time to time because rival gangs were engaged in violent confrontations. I was told that this very thing occurred at Stateway Gardens for two days during my tenure. I was personally escorted from a meeting at Rockwell Gardens one sunny day because gunfire was heard in the area. Another day, one of my associates arrived at a Robert Taylor A building moments after gang members from rival buildings (4429 S. Federal and 4525 S. Federal) had exchanged gunfire. He was told by one of the residents he came to meet that he should “come back another day.”

A recent publication, entitled The Hidden War – Crime and the Tragedy of Public Housing in Chicago, Susan J. Popkin, et al.(Rutgers Univ. Press 2000), recounts numerous specific incidents of violence and danger during the 1990s in the Rockwell Gardens, Henry Horner and Harold Ickes developments, two of which were involved in the Phase II relocation.

The descriptions given by the police and in Ms. Popkin’s recent book have been verified to us, and brought current, by many residents, as well as those who work in and around the buildings, and others who have made studies of the buildings. Residents have told us of the dangers involved in the simple matter of living in these buildings, of the risks and threats they and their children face each day and night. Service connector personnel have told us of encountering interference from gangs, and thieves who broke into their offices at night. Similar accounts of the sorry condition and dangers of CHA housing have been repeatedly and thoroughly documented in the local and national media.

Having in mind the facts as I found them, and their ready availability, it seems not amiss to wonder who wrote the incredible sentence quoted above from the CHA’s response to Report No. 3, and who reviewed and approved it before it was sent to me.

In Report No. 2 (p. 4, par. 5), I suggested that the police monitor the buildings “…on a 24-hour basis until it is clear that the residents and their guests may have access to the buildings and the elevators free from interference of gang members.” I added that this suggestion may not be a feasible one, and that “…the better part of wisdom may be to finish the moves without unnecessary confrontations.” The point has become largely moot, because most of the gallery buildings involved in Phase II have been emptied and demolished. From all reports that have come to me, the Chicago Police Department did a creditable job in controlling gang interference with the moving process.

We have been told that the current police protection at the Dearborn and Ickes developments — into which many Phase II residents have been relocated in make-ready units — is extremely effective, owing in large part to the success of a recently implemented CPD program that created extra patrols for these two developments. As part of the program, Public Housing Unit officers volunteer, on an overtime basis, to patrol the developments that have been identified as needing extra protection due to the relocation activities that took place during Phase II. The program began in mid-October 2002, and is slated to continue through mid-February 2003. However, beginning January 2003 and continuing through mid-February, the extra patrols are to be transferred from Dearborn and Ickes to Rockwell Gardens. As of the time that I am preparing this report, no funding has been approved to continue this overtime program past mid-February. Commander Williams has informed us that he expects a spike in violence resulting from the relocation activity that is scheduled to take place in Phase III. He believes, and I agree with him, that funding should be made available to continue the overtime program throughout 2003. It would also be useful for the police department to have flexibility built into the program, so that the extra patrols can be dispatched to different developments in response to increases in violence or special requests for protection resulting from the relocation process.

Commander Williams has authorized me to state in this report that, in his opinion, the CHA is wasting money in hiring private security guards, because they have no long term commitment to their firms or profession, and are low paid, and so are easily intimidated and corrupted by the gangs. He believes the CHA’s money would be better spent paying the Chicago Police Department to continue the overtime program described above. I have no way of determining the accuracy of this information, except to say that it comes from a very credible source, and therefore in my opinion Commander Williams’ views should provoke serious inquiry by responsible CHA and CPD officials.

Phase III will present new challenges to the police, especially as the number of gallery buildings are closed and demolished, which will probably create gang competition and violence for control of the remaining buildings. In addition, the gangs, and the dangers they bring with them, may themselves “relocate” along with the residents, especially to the areas on the west and south sides where so many of the HCV residents are moving. Concerns have been expressed to me by police officials, CHA personnel, tenants, and others interested in the welfare of the tenants, as to whether the areas into which most of the residents are moving have already become, or will soon become, unsafe and unsanitary. Apparently this is already happening. I have been told, for example, that HCV relocation counselors have been asked by residents looking for HCV units to drive through alleys in various neighborhoods so they could check for graffiti of rival gangs.

While these matters are not within my direct area of responsibility, they are of sufficient importance to mention in this report. This may be unnecessary, because the police are well aware of this situation, and are required to take the necessary precautions to prevent these dire predictions from becoming reality. In any event, this phenomenon further underscores the importance of encouraging law-abiding families to move to opportunity areas which have a lower incidence of crime (see Part 6 above).

Recommendation 47: Funding for the Chicago Police Department overtime patrols in developments affected by relocation should be continued throughout 2003. Flexibility should be built into the program so that the extra patrols can be dispatched to different developments as needed.

Recommendation 48: CHA management should consider terminating private security guards, and replacing them with Chicago Police Department personnel.

14. Relations among representatives of the CHA, the CAC, the LACs, and the tenants.

As noted above, during the past few months, my associates and I have had the opportunity and pleasure to get to know personally many of the CHA pe
rsonnel assigned to the Phase II relocation, as well as the LAC presidents who make up the CAC, members of their staffs. We have enjoyed good working relationships with the lawyers for the CAC, Richard M. Wheelock and Robert D. Whitfield. We have also gotten to know a great many residents and representatives of organizations who have an interest in these matters. Almost without exception they have extended generous cooperation to us.

We observed a marked difference in the effectiveness of the various LAC presidents and representatives in Phase II. Some were strong, involved and influential, and advocated firmly and effectively for the interests of the residents of their developments. Others appeared to be looking out chiefly for themselves. Some few opposed and actively interfered with the relocation process in Phase II. Some did not participate in or have any influence on matters which affect the buildings or residents in their developments. I will not name names; the persons to whom this report is addressed probably know as well as or better than I who fits into these categories.

As the relocation-demolition process proceeds, and as more and more residents move into the private housing market with HCVs, the number of public housing residents will decrease. The roles of the LAC presidents will change, in the sense that they will have fewer constituents on site, but they will retain an important roles in the redevelopment working groups which have been formed to oversee construction of the new housing to replace the demolished buildings.

The CAC, which is made up of the LAC presidents, would be well advised to establish a mechanism to assist its members in their individual developments during the relocation process. This will make available to each LAC president the advice and experience of their fellow CAC members, provide a formal means for LAC presidents to monitor and evaluate the relocation process in all developments, and enable the presidents to give technical aid to one another when needed.

In Report No. 3 (par. 5, p. 2), I called attention to the importance of having the LAC president or a representative present at the team, building and working group meetings. If the LAC president is employed during the hours these meetings are held, or cannot otherwise attend, a representative should be appointed to attend. The LAC representatives might well perform the function described in Part 11 above, of inquiring about quality and appropriateness of each move at the team meetings. They should keep a finger on the pulse of Phase III, report to residents at the building meetings, and represent the residents’ interests at the working group meetings.

Needless to say, these functions require a substantial degree of knowledge, verve and commitment, so that the person assigned should be carefully selected. Some LAC presidents and their aides we have encountered could carry out these duties very well, and others not at all.

Recommendation 49: The residents of the buildings involved in Phase III and future years of the Plan for Transformation should elect representatives who will act on their behalf selflessly, and with verve and commitment.

Recommendation 50: The CAC should establish a mechanism to assist the members during the relocation process in their individual developments, to provide monitoring and evaluation of the process, and technical aid to one another when needed.

Recommendation 51: The LAC president or a designated representative should attend all team, building and working group meetings, and when appropriate speak out and vigorously advocate for the best interests of the residents.

15. The organization of the CHA Relocation Department.

I would be remiss if I did not express my admiration for the vigor, good spirit and very hard work done by Meghan Harte; by Rayne Martin and her staff of relocation project managers – – Sonya Franklin, Keira Hill, Shaun Reed, Benjamin Todd and Bryce White; and by the relocation specialists – – Pamela Chambers, Ronald Crouch, Homer Gary, Brenda Hunter, Kamaron Jarmon, Charles Pettis and David Robinson. They deserve praise for their splendid contributions to the relocation process.

The contract employing me as Independent Monitor does not directly call upon me to opine upon the organization of the CHA’s relocation staffing, but it implies that I should do so. One of the questions I am asked to answer is, “Did CHA attain the goals and objectives for each part of the process?” Since efficient organization is obviously an important part of the process, I include this recommendation for a modest reorganization at the CHA, which, if adopted, I believe will result in greater efficiencies and more effective delivery of services to all concerned in the relocation process.

In the course of my work as Independent Monitor, I have encountered a number of complaints about the “bureaucracy” at the CHA, relating to the process for applying for and receiving HCVs. The problem as explained to me is that there is an unnecessary double layer of CHA personnel to process HCVs, and an inefficient division of authority of certain CHA personnel who are involved in the relocation process. There is sometimes inconsistent information given to residents by different sections of the CHA staff. The first line of reporting for the HCV relocation counseling firms was to the Section 8 Department, which has responsibility for the entire CHA HCV program, rather than to the Relocation Department, which has responsibility only for the families who are being relocated under the Plan for Transformation. The HCV counseling firms’ functions, however, are limited to the relocating families. Accordingly, I believe it would be more appropriate and efficient to have the HCV counseling firms report to the Relocation Department, rather than the Section 8 Department.

I believe also that the relocation specialists, now assigned to the Section 8 Department, should be reassigned to work in the Relocation Department under Rayne Martin. These persons’ responsibilities are limited to the relocating families, and have nothing to do with other families who participate in the larger CHA HCV program. Hence, their appropriate reporting and responsibility should be to the Relocation Department.

Recommendation 52: The relocation counseling firms involved in the HCV process should report to personnel of the CHA Relocation Department, rather than to the Section 8 Department.

Recommendation 53: The CHA relocation specialists, now assigned to the Section 8 Department, should be reassigned to the Relocation Department.

16. Appointment of the Independent Monitor for Phase III-2003.

This report contains my recommendations for improvements in the Phase II relocation process, as required by Part II of my contract of July 18, 2002 with the CHA and CAC. I am still obligated to do the following:

  • Report on the NORC survey results. (Contract, part II, p. 3.)
  • Report on the accuracy and completeness of the CHA Relocation Management and Tracking System (RMTS), and the CHA’s method for finding persons who left CHA housing prior to implementation of the RMTS. (Contract, parts I and III.)

I will endeavor to complete these reports promptly. As noted above in Parts 1 and 2, important activities relating to Phase III are already in progress. Accordingly, I believe the Independent Monitor for Phase III should be appointed now, so that he or she will have the opportunity to review and participate in the process from the outset.

Recommendation 54: The CHA and CAC should arrange promptly for the appointment of the Independent Monitor for Phase III-2003.

As heretofore, I am available t
o discuss this matter with you at any mutually convenient time.

Respectfully submitted,
Thomas P. Sullivan

Independent Monitor, Phase II
One IBM Plaza
Chicago, IL
60611 312-923-2928

January 8, 2003.

APPENDIX 1: LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS

2. The initial meetings with families in buildings to be vacated.

Recommendation 1: Those involved in the initial meetings with the residents who are to be relocated in Phase III should consult frequently with one another and with their supervisors, to assure that the information being conveyed to residents is consistent and thorough, and that the messages are being delivered in an enthusiastic, positive tone.

Recommendation 2: The relocation project managers should enlist the aid of the building managers, relocation coaches and LAC representatives, to make contact with any residents who have not been reached through the initial individual or building meetings.

3. The process of assisting families to become lease compliant.

Recommendation 3: Responsible officials at the CHA, and the agencies with whom the CHA has contracted, should continue their efforts to assist all relocating families to become and remain lease compliant.

Recommendation 4: As soon as feasible, CHA management should attempt to resolve with the utility companies the matter of residents’ old unpaid utility bills.

4. The process of and timing for moving residents who will remain in public housing.

Recommendation 5: Preparation of make-ready units for Phase III should begin promptly. When appropriate, VPS doors should be used to secure the doors of the units that have been completed.

Recommendation 6: The relocation of residents to make-ready units in Phase III should be spaced out throughout 2003, so as to avoid the kind of last minute rush that occurred in Phase II.

Recommendation 7: There should be better coordination among the various parties involved in the selection of locations for and preparation of make-ready units, including the LAC presidents, the CHA Operations and Relocation departments, and outside contractors. They should consult with one another, to the end that the make-ready units are prepared in buildings to which the relocating residents are willing to move, and that the bedroom sizes are appropriate to the needs of the moving families.

Recommendation 8: The inspection and approval processes for all make-ready units in Phase III should be carried out so as to assure that every unit is in a decent, safe and sanitary condition. Standards should not be lowered as the building-empty dates approach.

Recommendation 9: Contractors that do not do acceptable work on make-ready units should be terminated.

Recommendation 10: In allocating make-ready units in Phase III, attention should be given and appropriate adjustments made so as to avoid potential dangers to residents arising out of gang rivalries.

5. The process of and timing for residents who will move with Housing Choice Vouchers.

Recommendation 11: The process of moving families with HCVs in Phase III should begin now, and should be spaced out throughout 2003 so as to avoid the kind of last minute rush that occurred in Phase II.

Recommendation 12: The relocation counselors should make strenuous efforts to show families rental units in racially integrated areas that are not already saturated with families whose income is below the poverty level, or who are HCV holders.

Recommendation 13: Responsible CHA officials and representatives of the CAC and LACs should carefully monitor the counseling agencies’ adherence to the terms of their contracts with respect to identifying units in Low-Poverty and Opportunity areas.

Recommendation 14: An outside agency, not connected to the relocation counseling firms, should be retained to do supplemental landlord outreach in racially and economically integrated areas of Chicago.

Recommendation 15: CHA management and the CHA Board of Commissioners should give vigorous support to local and state legislation which will prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to HCV holders, and which will provide tax abatements for landlords who participate in the HCV program.

Recommendation 16: CHA management and the CHA Board of Commissioners should mount a public relations campaign to encourage communities and landlords to make decent housing available to HCV holders on a non-discriminatory basis.

Recommendation 17: Where appropriate, the relocation counselors should be given training by selected service connector personnel on the various social services available in Chicago.

Recommendation 18: Each relocating family should be provided a packet of information explaining the services available in the family’s new neighborhood.

Recommendation 19: The inspection and approval processes for all HCV units in Phase III should be carried out so as to assure that every unit is in a decent, safe and sanitary condition. Counselors should be prohibited from showing units owned by landlords who provide unacceptable units.

Recommendation 20: CHAC should assure that its data entry on resident moves is done on a current basis, so that when emergency inspections are requested they will be made promptly.

Recommendation 21: In order to save time, and to avoid the potential for rescheduling residents’ interviews, CHAC should obtain all of the residents’ available preliminary HCV documentation directly from the property managers.

Recommendation 22: CHA and HUD officials should consider making a fund available for payments to landlords to keep desirable units available while the HCV approval process is ongoing.

Recommendation 23: CHA officials should give consideration to setting aside funds, separate from those allocated for payment of rent, to assist zero income residents with the payment of utilities.

6. The explanation of potential moves to opportunity areas.

Recommendation 24: Explanations about moves to opportunity areas should be made at the outset of the relocation process to all families involved in Phase III. The presenters should use a common script, and should hold joint practice sessions. The oral presentations should be given in an enthusiastic, affirmative fashion, with vivid descriptions of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, and their varied, attractive resources, such as schools, churches, stores, parks, transportation, employment opportunities, hospitals, and the like. Articulate family members who have made successful moves to opportunity areas should be enlisted to speak at these meetings. When it becomes available, the video tape being prepared by the Chicago Video Project about mobility moves to opportunity areas (with appropriate changes to fit the situations of first time relocatees from public housing) should be shown.

Recommendation 25: Representatives of the CHA and the residents should monitor these presentations, to make certain that they are being conducted properly.

7. The Service Connector Program.

a. Contacts with families before they move.

Recommendation 26: The Mayor’s office, the CHA and the CDHS should convene another meeting of all City and State social service providers, to emphasize again that priority should be given to referrals of CHA residents, particularly those who are in the process of relocation under the Plan for Transformation.

Recommendation 27: All service connector lead agencies should be monitored by CDHS and CHA to assure that they are aggressively establishing relationships with the social service providers in their a
ssigned areas, and are doing the required tracking and follow through to determine whether or not appropriate services have been provided to the CHA residents they have referred.

Recommendation 28: The social service providers should be requested and urged to create systems to track separately the services they provide to CHA residents, and make their tracking systems available to the lead service connector agencies, the CDHS and the CHA.

Recommendation 29: Quarterly meetings should be convened by CHA and CDHS with representatives of the service connector lead agencies and of a public-private provider network, in order to provide information to each other, share common concerns, determine ways in which the Service Connector Program can be improved, and ways to coordinate and streamline the delivery of services.

b. Contacts with families who choose HCVs after they move.

Recommendation 30: The CHA should establish a system by which service connector lead agencies will be advised on a current basis of the addresses to which the residents of their respective developments have moved with HCVs, so that CDHS and the lead agency staffs may readily identify the social service providers in the new community areas.

c. Future funding and objectives.

Recommendation 31: Substantial additional funding should be provided for the Service Connector Program during Phase III, to the end that case managers will be assigned to all families who have moved or are scheduled to move to CHA make-ready units, and to all families who have or will move temporarily into the private housing market with HCVs, pursuant to the Plan for Transformation. This includes all families who have already relocated, and families who are currently being relocated, pursuant to the Plan for Transformation, except those who have moved permanently with HCVs. The case managers should not have responsibility for any other families. They should supplement the contacts with HCV families by the relocation counselors, and replace the United Way/Crusade of Mercy toll free call-in number. The case managers should maintain close contact with their assigned families, and assist them in handling problems that arise, such as employment, credit, domestic violence, substance abuse, conflicts with the landlords, and the like. They should also coach the families who intend to return to CHA housing about the relevant site specific criteria the families will be expected to meet, and how to achieve compliance.

d. Relations between CHA and CDHS.

Recommendation 32: Responsible supervisors of CHA and CDHS should attempt with good spirit to improve their communications; and to consult with and involve each other in advance with regard to current problems, potential program and policy changes, communications and directions to the service connector agencies, and the like.

Recommendation 33: The CHA should provide CDHS, on a current basis, computerized tracking information showing the addresses to which residents have moved in the relocation process.

e. Candor in reporting.

Recommendation 34: CHA management should be candid, forthright and complete in describing the progress and results of the Plan for Transformation, including where applicable its shortcomings and failures.

8. The role of the property managers.

Recommendation 35: Representatives of the property management companies should be expected to attend building meetings, and should be made an integral part of the service connector network.

Recommendation 36: CHA management should take prompt steps to replace property managers who do not perform their duties in an acceptable manner. Tenants and tenant leaders should assist by identifying to CHA officials the property managers who do not measure up to expectations.

Recommendation 37: Responsible CHA officials should check regularly to make certain that property managers are keeping current, well organized files; that they are making timely annual tenant recertifications; and that they are making accurate data entries into the RMTS on a current basis.

Recommendation 38: When tenants who are to be relocated with HCVs have been determined to be lease compliant and have passed the police background check, property managers should send to CHAC the documents from the managers’ files which CHAC requires to complete the HCV process.

Recommendation 39: Property managers should apply and enforce the CHA lease Admissions and Occupancy policies fairly and consistently.

9. The relocation building meetings.

Recommendation 40: Those involved in the Phase III relocation process should persuade residents who have not yet relocated to attend the periodic building meetings.

Recommendation 41: Speakers at building meetings should hold preparatory “dress rehearsal” sessions, at which they consult with one another, and perform practice runs, so as to assure that the information given to the residents will be accurate and consistent, and delivered in a positive, enthusiastic manner. Consideration should be given to the use of well planned visual aids.

Recommendation 42: At initial building meetings where stations are set up for each facet of the relocation process, residents should be given ample time to have their questions answered.

10. The Good Neighbor training.

Recommendation 43: The Good Neighbor sessions should attempt to limit discussion to general life skills training. Alternatively, a knowledgeable CHA representative should be present to respond to questions which may arise about the relocation process.

Recommendation 44: During Phase III, the Good Neighbor sessions should be held in small, intimate rooms with proper sound, lighting, and temperature.

11. The relocation team meetings.

Recommendation 45: At all relocation team meetings, a designated representative of the tenants, with authority to speak on their behalf, should inquire as to the quality and appropriateness of each of the proposed or scheduled moves to make-ready or HCV units.

Recommendation 46: The heads of the CHA departments involved in the relocation process should from time to time attend team meetings.

13. The matter of gangs and police protection.

Recommendation 47: Funding for the Chicago Police Department overtime patrols in developments affected by relocation should be continued throughout 2003. Flexibility should be built into the program so that the extra patrols can be dispatched to different developments as needed.

Recommendation 48: CHA management should consider terminating private security guards, and replacing them with Chicago Police Department personnel.

14. Relations among representatives of the CHA, the CAC, the LACs, and the tenants.

Recommendation 49: The residents of the buildings involved in Phase III and future years of the Plan for Transformation should elect representatives who will act on their behalf selflessly, and with verve and commitment.

Recommendation 50: The CAC should establish a mechanism to assist the members during the relocation process in their individual developments, to provide monitoring and evaluation of the process, and technical aid to one another when needed.

Recommendation 51: The LAC president or a designated representative should attend all team, building and working group meetings, and when appropriate speak out and vigorously advocate for the best interests of the residents.

15. The organization of the CHA Relocation Department.

Recommendation 52: The relocation counseling firms involved in the HCV process should report to personnel of the CHA Relocation Department, rather than to the Section
8 Department.

Recommendation 53: The CHA relocation specialists, now assigned to the Section 8 Department, should be reassigned to the Relocation Department.

16. Appointment of the Independent Monitor for Phase III-2003.

Recommendation 54: The CHA and CAC should arrange promptly for the appointment of the Independent Monitor for Phase III-2003.

APPENDIX 2: LIST OF PERSONS TO WHOM WE HAVE SPOKEN

NAME POSITION DEPARTMENT/AFFILIATION
Annunzio, Frank Special Project Manager Operations Department, CHA
Antolin, Joseph A. Vice President and Executive Officer Chicago Connections/Heartland Alliance
Bailey, Angela Program Director The Woodlawn Organization
Baldwin, Mary President Local Advisory Council-Rockwell Gardens
  Secretary Central Advisory Council
Barnes, Diana Property Management, Stateway Gardens Urban Property Advisors LLC
Battle, Henrietta Area Manager Chicago Department of Human Services
Bennett, Angela Property Management, Rockwell Gardens East Lake Management & Development Corporation
Beverly, Deverra President Local Advisory Council-ABLA
Vice Chairperson Central Advisory Council
Blackman, Philip Director of Programs E.F. Ghoughan and Associates, Inc.
Blanco, Isabel Director Community Development/Supportive Services Department, CHA
Boy, Joanne P. Staff Counsel Office of the General Counsel, CHA
Cain, David Property Management, ABLA H. J. Russell Company
Chambers, Pamela Relocation Specialist Section 8 Department, CHA
Clark, Kathleen K. Executive Director Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing
Clinton, Frank J. Social Services Supervisor Changing Patterns for Families, Inc.
Coleman, Jennifer Resident Services Advocate Employment & Employer Services, Inc.
Coles, Kenneth Manager CHAC
Crockett, Ruth Vice President Local Advisory Council-ABLA
Crouch, Ronald Relocation Specialist Section 8 Department, CHA
Davis, Allison S. Partner The Davis Group, LLC.
Davis, Cullen J. Chief Executive Officer Urban Property Advisors LLC
Davis, Lt. Theodore Site Commanding Officer Chicago Police Department
Davis, Mary A. Senior Vice President Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities
Dennis, Mildred President Local Advisory Council-Robert Taylor B
  Member Central Advisory Council
Farrell, Christine Attorney Cabrini-Green Legal Aid Clinic
Farrow, Pastell Vice President Local Advisory Council-Ickes
Finney, Janice Assistant Director Chicago Department of Human Services
Fischer, Paul B. Professor of Politics Lake Forest University
Fitzgerald, Lt. Michael Site Commanding Officer Chicago Police Department
Forman, Thomas A. Vice President West Side Consortium
Franklin, Sonya Project Manager Relocation Department, CHA
Gainer, Maureen Senior Project Manager Relocation Department, CHA
Gamboa, Hector Program Coordinator Spanish Coalition for Housing
Gary, Homer C. Relocation Specialist Section 8 Department, CHA
Gibson, Sharon Assistant Director Community Development/Supportive Services Department, CHA
Gilliam, Sharon Gist Chairperson Board of Commissioners, CHA
Glenn, Sharon L. Director Section 8 Department, CHA
Gross, Adam Staff Counsel Business and Professional People for the Public Interest
Guthrie, Doug Partner Stateway Associates, LLC
Haggerty, Catherine Senior Survey Director National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago
Hall, Alexander Vice President Local Advisory Council-Dearborn Homes
Harper, Doran O. Property Management, Stateway Gardens DSSA
Harris, Denise Property Management, Washington Park Woodlawn Community Development Corporation
Harte, Meghan Managing Director Resident Services, CHA
Heeren, Geoffrey Staff Attorney National Center on Poverty Law
Hill, Keira L. Relocation Project Manager Relocation Department, CHA
Holsten, Peter President Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation
Howard, Mary Director, Women’s and Family Services Chicago Connections/Heartland Alliance
Hunter, Brenda Relocation Specialist Section 8 Department, CHA
Hunter, Mattie Project Director Chicago Department of Human Services
Ignatio, Alex C. Cluster Manager Community Development/Supportive Services Department, CHA
Jarmon, Kamaron Special Project Coordinator Section 8 Department, CHA
Johnson, Denise Y. Senior Manager Section 8 Department, CHA
Johns, Mary C. Editor-in-Chief Residents’ Journal
Jones, Cessler Q. Supervisor E.F. Ghoughan and Associates, Inc.
Kalven, Jamie Author/Resident Advisor Stateway Gardens
Kendrick, Benjamin J. Executive Director Marcy-Newberry Association, Inc.
Kinczyk, Richard First Deputy Commissioner Department of Transportation, City of Chicago
King, Myra President Local Advisory Council-Lowden Homes
  Member Central Adv
isory Council
Klepner, Tobe Member Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade
Klepper, Christine Executive Director Housing Choice Partners of Illinois
Knox, Rochelle President/Chief Executive Officer Changing Patterns for Families, Inc.
Lacy, Loretta Property Management, Cabrini Green It’s Time for a Change RMC
Lambi, Kristofer A. Chief Operating Officer The Woodlawn Organization
Lawlor, Edward F. Dean School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
Levavi, Peter Senior Vice President Brinshore Development L.L.C.
Lloyd, Susan Program Director MacArthur Foundation
Lukehart, John Vice President Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities
Martin, Rayne Director Relocation Department, CHA
Matthews, Dierdre Member Coalition to Protect Public Housing
McCoy, Je-Taun Vice President Changing Patterns for Families, Inc.
McCoy, Kandyse Property Manager, Rockwell Gardens East Lake Management & Development Corporation
McCoy, Mattie President Local Advisory Council-Robert Taylor A
  Member Central Advisory Council
Mervine, Sarah N. Staff Attorney Legal Assistance Foundation
Michaeli, Ethan Publisher Residents’ Journal
Miles, Arvile Vice President Local Advisory Council-Stateway Gardens
Moore, Christopher Area Manager Chicago Department of Human Services
Murado, Lt. Juan Site Commanding Officer Chicago Police Department
Navarro, Ofelia Executive Director Spanish Coalition for Housing
Newman, Gordon Case Manager Employment & Employer Services, Inc.
O’Connor, R. Olomenji Executive Director Central Advisory Council
O’Muircheartaigh, Colm Vice President National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago
O’Neil, Jennifer Lee Deputy Director CHAC
Page, Nina Social Worker Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation
Pennick, Aurie A. President and Chief Executive Officer Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities
Peterson, Terry Chief Executive Officer CHA
Pettis, Charles Relocation Specialist Section 8 Department, CHA
Polikoff, Alexander Senior Staff Counsel Business and Professional People for the Public Interest
Ponce de Leon, Maricruz Housing Associate Metropolitan Planning Council
Popkin, Susan J. Senior Research Associate The Urban Institute
Ragland, Joseph Case Manager Marcy-Newberry Association, Inc.
Ratliff, Gladys Cluster Manager Community Development/Supportive Services Department, CHA
Reed, Shaun T. Senior Manager Relocation Department, CHA
Rigsby, Melissa Case Manager Employment & Employer Services, Inc.
Riley, William T. Executive Director CHAC
Robinson, David Relocation Specialist Section 8 Department, CHA
Rogal, Brian J. Reporter The Chicago Reporter
Romero, Daniel Organizer Community Renewal Society
  Organizer Coalition to Protect Public Housing
Rubin, Richard M. Vice President National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago
Rubinowitz, Leonard S. Professor of Law Northwestern University School of Law
Saffold, Cecilia L. Paralegal National Center on Poverty Law
Samuelson, Don S. President DSSA
Seabrook, Gloria Senior Monitor Community Development/Supportives Services Department, CHA
Shields, Clint Property Management, Ickes Woodlawn Property Community Development Corporation
Showers, Wendy Case Manager Employment & Employer Services, Inc.
Shuldiner, Joseph President Joseph Shuldner & Associates Inc.
Silas, Elizabeth M. Senior Staff Counsel Office of the General Counsel, CHA
Singleton, Gail D. President Local Advisory Council-Dearborn
  Member Central Advisory Council
Snyderman, Robin Housing Director Metropolitan Planning Council
Solsberry, Rev. Learna Administrative Assistant Changing Patterns for Families, Inc.
Stanback, Howard Partner Stateway Associates, LLC
Steele, Carol President Local Advisory Council-Cabrini Green
  Member Central Advisory Council
  Chairperson Coalition to Protect Public Housing
Stern, Stephen Litigation Director Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities
Strom, Rev. Robert C. Community Economic Development Coordinator Executive Service Corps
Taylor, Jackie Vice President Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation
Thomas, Artra Case Manager Employment & Employer Services, Inc.
Todd, Benjamin Project Manager Relocation Department, CHA
Trainor, Kathleen Director Quadel Consulting Corporation
Turner, Beauty Assistant Editor Residents’ Journal
Tyus, Darnetta Secretary to the Board Chairperson CHA
Venkatesh, Sudhir A. Associate Professor of Sociology Columbia University
Walker, B.J. Chief of Human Infrastucture City of Chicago
Walz, Katherine Housing Staff Attorney National Center on Poverty Law
Washington, Francine President Local Advisory Council-Stateway Gardens
  Member Central Advisory Council
Washington, Larry Quality Control Specialist Operations Department, CHA
Watkins, Bobby Advertising/Circulation Manager Residents’ Journal
Watkins, Nannette Property Management, Cabrini Green It’s Time for a Change RMC
Wheelock, Richard M. Supervising Attorney Legal Assistance Foundation
White, Bryce Project Manager Relocation Department, CHA
Whitfield, Robert D. Attorney Central Advisory Council
Wiggins, Mary President Local Advisory Council-Washington Park
  Chairperson Central Advisory Council
Wilen, William P. Housing Supervisor National Center on Poverty Law
Williams, Charles L. Commander Public Housing Section, Chicago Police Department
Williams, Eddie Resident Services Advocate Marcy-Newberry Association, Inc.
Williams, Emma Assistant Senior Supervisor E.F. Ghoughan & Associates
Williams, Gloria President Local Advisory Council-Ickes, Prairie Courts, Lawndale and Bridgeport
  Member Central Advisory Council
Williams, Leston Property Management, Ickes Woodlawn Community Development Corporation
Wilson, Lisa President/Chief Executive Officer E.F. Ghoughan and Associates, Inc.
Woods, Brenda Cluster Manager Community Development/Supportive Services Department, CHA
Woods, Kathy Executive Director Abraham Lincoln Centre
Young, Sandra Commissioner Board of Commissioners, CHA
  President Local Advisory Council-Ida B. Wells
  Treasurer Central Advisory Council

APPENDIX 3

CHAC operates what it calls its Mobility Program, known colloquially as its "second mover program." This is directed to families who have been in the private rental market for at least one year, who have decided to move or who have to move because the unit they occupy has failed a housing quality inspection. The family head must attend a briefing at CHAC in order to obtain a new HCV, and at this briefing an announcement is made about the availability of potential moves to “Opportunity Neighborhoods,” defined in Chicago as “areas where less than 24% of the population falls below the poverty line,” and in surrounding suburbs as “fewer than 10% of the population falls below the poverty line.” This program is described in detail in a recent study entitled CHAC Mobility Counseling Assessment, Mary Cunningham and Susan J. Popkin, Urban Institute (Oct. 2002).

The Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH), operating under a subcontract with CHAC, operates a similar program intended mainly for HCV holders who are Latino. A vast majority of the HCVs are used in Chicago, and of the HCV holders who are “ported” out (that is, transferred), most go to Cicero.

Housing Choice Partners (HCP), under a contract with the Housing Authority of Cook County (CHAC), provides counseling to families who for the most part live in Cook County outside Chicago, who have either become eligible to obtain HCVs for the first time from the HAC waiting list, or who are already tenants with HCV’s and desire to move to a different unit. As part of this counseling, HCP urges families to enroll in its “Mobility Program,” which encourages moves from “traditional” to “non-traditional” areas. Traditional areas are those having more than 10% of the population below the poverty line and more than 13% African-American population; non-traditional areas are those having less that 10% of families below the poverty level, and less than 13% African-American.

The Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities (LCMOC) has been allocated 500 HCVs for use in the so-called Gautreaux Program, which is available to those current public housing residents who registered for the program in November 2001. LCMOC defines opportunity areas as those located anywhere in the United States (most are used in the greater Chicagoland area) in census tracts which have an African-American population of less than 30%, and less than 23.49% of families below the poverty level.

Thus, with one exception, the programs now available which encourage moves to Opportunity Neighborhoods, however defined, are directed almost entirely to families that are not current residents of CHA public housing. The exception is the Gautreaux II Program, which involves persons who self-selected by volunteering in the fall of 2001 (some of whom may, by coincidence, be involved in the Phase II or III moves). Almost all of those who attend the other programs have had prior experience in the private rental market. None of these programs is directed specially or specifically to the families who were or are being relocated during Phase II, or who will be relocated in Phase III.

INDEX TO REPORT NO. 5

This section has been included for completeness and does not necessarily reflect the page numbers of a user printed version of this report. Please use the online index to navigate the report on the web.

  Page
Introduction 1
1. The 2003-Phase III Plan For Transformation 5
2. The initial meetings with families in buildings to be vacated 7

Recommendation 1

10

Recommendation 2

10
3. The process of assisting families to become lease compliant 11

Recommendation 3

15

Recommendation 4

15
4. The process of and timing for moving residents who will remain in public housing 16

Recommendation 5

19

Recommendation 6

19

Recommendation 7

19

Recommendation 8

20

Recommendation 9

20

Recommendation 10

20
5. The process of and timing for residents who will move with Housing Choice Vouchers 21

Recommendation 11

30

Recommendation 12

30

Recommendation 13

30

Recommendation 14

30

Recommendation 15

30

Recommendation 16

30

Recommendation 17

30

Recommendation 18

30

Recommendation 19

31

Recommendation 20

31

Recommendation 21

31

Recommendation 22

31

Recommendation 23

31
6. The explanation of potential moves to opportunity areas 32

Recommendation 24

38

Recommendation 25

39
7. The Service Connector Program 40

a. Contacts with families before they move.

46

Recommendation 26

53

Recommendation 27

53

Recommendation 28

53

Recommendation 29

53

b. Contacts with families who choose HCVs after they move.

53

Recommendation 30

55

c. Future funding and objectives.

55

Recommendation 31

57

d. Relations between CHA and CDHS.

57

Recommendation 32

58

Recommendation 33

58

e. Candor in reporting

58

Recommendation 34

61
8. The role of the property managers 62

Recommendation 35

63

Recommendation 36

63

Recommendation 37

64

Recommendation 38

64

Recommendation 39

64

9. The relocation building meetings 65

Recommendation 40

66

Recommendation 41

66

Recommendation 42

66

10. The Good Neighbor training 67

Recommendation 43

68

Recommendation 44

68

11. The relocation team meetings 69

Recommendation 45

72

Recommendation 46

72
12. The physical moving process 73
13. The matter of gangs and police protection 74

Recommendation 47

78

Recommendation 48

78
14. Relations among representatives of the CHA, the CAC, the LACs, and the tenants 79

Recommendation 49

80

Recommendation 50

80

Recommendation 51

80
15. The organization of the CHA Relocation Department 81

Recommendation 52

82

Recommendation 53

82
16. Appointment of the Independent Monitor for Phase III-2003. 83

Recommendation 54

83
Appendix 1 – List of recommendations 85
Appendix 2 – List of persons to whom we have spoken 96
Appendix 3 – Summary description of mobility programs for moves to opportunity neighborhoods 105