Chapin Hall project examines availability of services in Chicago’s MidSouth community
As part of CHA’s Plan for Transformation, many of the
families relocating from the dilapidated public housing high-rises are moving
into new neighborhoods that offer opportunities to improve self-sufficiency. In
order to make these transitions successful, residents must be connected to
community resources throughout the relocation process and after their permanent
moves. The City of Chicago’s Service Connector Program
plays an important role
in this process: its staff and contractors, along with residents, benefit when
they have direct access to accurate information about social service agencies,
medical centers, religious institutions, schools, and local organizations in
In December 2005, the University of Chicago’s Chapin
Hall Center for Children completed the Chicago
MidSouth Community Resource Directory Project
. This project, funded by the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation, involved collecting and organizing community resource information
MidSouth area for use by relocating CHA residents, Service Connector agencies,
and the public in general.
that community services are dispersed among various government and community
institutions, and that no single source is sufficiently providing an adequate
and comprehensive array of resources.
Extensive research uncovered several facts about the service environment
in the MidSouth community, in terms of providers, services and populations.
There is a diversity of services, but they are unevenly distributed in the area.
There also is a mismatch between the location of CHA families and the
community resources. For example, Woodlawn and Washington Park, which are receiving the
largest number of families relocated via the CHA Plan for Transformation (more
than 300 as of September 2005), have considerably lower percentages of
resources. Moreover, almost a third of the resources in the MidSouth are located
in a single community area, Hyde Park, which had only received 22 families as of
September 2005. In addition to location discrepancies, certain types of
resources are limited in the MidSouth. In particular, while child care and
employment services are essential for CHA residents who are relocating and
working towards self-sufficiency, they show the lowest distribution percentages
in the area. This has implications on the Plan for Transformation as residents
moving into the Midsouth area are currently facing many challenges in finding
and maintaining employment.
The completed directory and its
associated research are valuable tools for providing reliable and accessible
information about social services and community organizations to both residents
and social service providers in the MidSouth and surrounding areas.
Innovative projects such as the
Chicago MidSouth Community Resource
reveal important information about resource distribution that has
direct impacts on the likelihood of successful resident transitions, allowing
public, private and nonprofit organizations to better plan their service
they can contribute to the overall success of CHA’s Plan for Transformation by
empowering residents to seek out the services they need to maintain
self-sufficiency and stability in their new communities.
MidSouth Community Resource Directory
is available for download from the