Aldermen reintroduce “Keeping the Promise” ordinance

Courtesy of CHA
Courtesy of CHA

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ld. Joe Moreno and fourteen other City Council members held a press conference before the July 29 of the City Council. It was to announce the reintroduction of the “Keeping the Promise” ordinance, a motion designed to provide over 12,000 families access to affordable housing without drain on the city’s budget. The motion would strengthen the City Council’s oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority in order to allow more transparency of CHA’s stockpiled funds and future revenues.

While Latinos comprise 22 percent of the City’s population only 9 percent of people receiving any form of housing assistance from CHA are Latino.

“The lack of access for Latino residents to the CHA’s sizable resources extends all the way back to 1989, when Latinos filed a lawsuit demanding equitable access to CHA’s programs,” said Maria Ayala, the Associate Director of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization states. “Not much has changed since then. A CHA that is more transparent and accountable to ALL City residents should benefit many more families needing housing support, including poor Latinos seeking Section Eight vouchers and other forms of housing support.”

Last summer the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability released a report showing the CHA failed to spend an average of $107 million annually allocated to its housing voucher program each year between FY2008 and FY2012. The CHA left thousands of public housing units vacant, and rebuilt only a fraction of promised units, accumulating over $440 million in surplus cash by the close of FY2014 with no explanation, while constructing its financial reports in ways that made it look like the agency was running at a sizable deficit.

Twenty-three aldermen, including 10 members of the City Council’s Latino Caucus, supported the “Keeping the Promise” ordinance when it was reintroduced on Wednesday.

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