CHICAGO (AP) -- For decades, Chicago's infamous Cabrini-Green high-rises -- with their fenced-in balconies and horrific high-profile crimes -- were a symbol of the failure of public housing in America.
Their closure this month ends an ugly era. But for the last of the Cabrini residents moving out, the shuttering also marks the start of an uncertain time. While some families who have already left the complex are faring better, it's still difficult to track whether the plan to overhaul Chicago's public housing is improving the lives of those low-income families relocated.
More than 1,700 families have been moved from Cabrini-Green since the Chicago Public Housing Authority's sweeping "Plan for Transformation" started in 2000. With just one building set to fall, a federal judge has given the two remaining families at Cabrini's last high-rise until Dec. 10 to move out.
"Are people better off? That's still an open question," said D. Bradford Hunt, a Roosevelt University social science professor who's written a book about public housing in Chicago. "Some people are worse off. For some people, not much has changed. And some people are better off. The question is what percentage, and we don't know that."
About half of the Cabrini residents who have relocated live in homes that are still close to their old complex, the Housing Authority said. The rest are scattered across the region.
Mary Johns, editor
of the Residents' Journal, a publication produced for and by public housing residents, said crime reports suggest some of the neighborhoods where residents have moved are as dangerous as Cabrini had been.Advertisement
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Chicago shutters infamous public housing complex
Why do some have no better place to live than a run down, thug invested government housing project? And why do people keep voting for politicians who want to continue these practices that do not worked.