MPC makes recommendations for improving housing choices for CHA residents - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC makes recommendations for improving housing choices for CHA residents

A 2002 research study commissioned by MPC for the CHA examines a critical issue in the CHA Plan for Transformation: maintaining contact with residents who move into private housing using a temporary Housing Choice Voucher with a right to return to CHA housing.

MPC released  Temporary Relocation, Permanent Choice: Serving Families with Vouchers During the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Plan for Transformation today, to recommend procedures to ensure that residents have regular access to full information from the CHA.  This should include:  progress of the Plan for Transformation, how to make an informed choice about their long-term housing prospects and all services essential to remaining lease compliant. Although there is strong interest in encouraging families with Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) to return to CHA housing, success in this aspect of the Plan for Transformation should be measured not by numbers returning, but by the extent to which families have received all information necessary to make informed decisions, and whether they received all the services they needed to remain in compliance with a CHA lease. Levels of informed choice and lease compliance are the appropriate yardsticks of goals met.

"The current leadership of the CHA is undertaking the largest overhaul of public housing ever, while they're combating a negative reputation — not of their own making, but nevertheless pervasive," said Kale Williams, one of the authors of the report and founding CEO of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. "The recommendations we've outlined and the new programs CHA staff have already set in motion will be essential to providing meaningful choices and support services to CHA residents, while improving public perceptions of the CHA itself," he added.

Temporary Relocation, Permanent Choice documents the innumerable challenges faced by residents during relocation, and illustrates how effective communication can complement the other services CHA provides to ensure residents make good housing choices. As such, the findings have implications beyond the original assignment and speak to the broader CHA relocation and service delivery strategy.

MPC will continue to monitor the progress of the Plan for Transformation — specifically, new development, relocation, services, communications and accountability. Ultimately, the success of the Plan will be gauged on the viability of communities in a) the new mixed-income sites, b) the renovated properties housing primarily former public housing residents, and c) the neighborhoods where former CHA households relocate.

For more information and resources on the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, visit  MPC's public housing page.

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