MidSouth Directory catalogs services available to relocating CHA residents - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MidSouth Directory catalogs services available to relocating CHA residents

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 their community.

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 in Chicago’s MidSouth area for use by relocating CHA residents, Service Connector agencies, and the public in general. It found 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 Directory 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 delivery strategies. In addition, 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.

The Chicago MidSouth Community Resource Directory is available for download from the Web.

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