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Added Jan 23 2012

There is way too much affordable housing in Woodlawn, we are over run, the numbers are staggering and the crime is uncontrollable. Something must be done if this community is to survive.

  • Laura Hussein Hyde Park community activist

    Can you detail what is happening? Are you and neighbors calling the police? So sorry :(

  • We are but the problem is with the elected officials

  • How can you say that when people are losing their homes to foreclosures left and right? the U of C wants to stretch its tentacles into Woodlawn to push poor people out even the working poor.

  • Poah has purchased 102 units of project-based section 8 and below market rate tenants. They've provided no parking and no place for their tenants children to play. There will be a minimum of 700 or more people added to a 4 block area, straight down 62nd St. In additiin to Poah,, Kelo is adding a courtway building at 6205 S. Langley and 3 units @ 6110 S. Eberhart. Will the buildings on King Drive which are now being listed add more low-no income units. The community has not been advised. We already have over 2,000 units of Section 8 according to reports. Oh, Poah is the company who has managed/mismanaged the complex on Cottage Grove where crime has always been an issue.

  • We have become masters of placing the blame where it doesn't belong, it's because of us (Black people) that are communities are war zones, we must fix it by:

    1). Our youth must work or volunteer their time to earn skills.
    2). Our elderly must be protected and respected.
    3). Our churches can no longer be for profit, they must teach the true
    message of Jesus Christ.
    4). Our Career minded must grow the community.
    5). Our elected officails must be held accountable.
    6). We must address the blight.
    7). We must KEEP OUR COMMUNITY CLEAN!!!!!

    Here is a quote from Malcolm that I really believe: "The conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox."

    Wake up Black people, once we lose our communities we will have nothing, those whom prey on us must be brought to justice, not given hand-outs to wipe us out.

  • Happy making better choices

    Ungotunetly I saw crime rise as condos and single families went from owner tenants to disrespectful renters. As ppl started loosing jobs, one of the larger buildings near me decided to rent to a young teen mom org which might have been ok if the kids knew how to play and not throw trash, how to play at decent hours and not make so much noise, if the moms didn't decide to party on the sidewalk and literally bring out kitchen chairs to do hair. That is not what I want to see or hear after I worked hard all day. After so many complaints and police visits they have moved on but replaced with more renters who didn't care. Now the building has calmed down but now the kids who don't even live in the area are causing issues.
    I was a renter at one point in time but knew how to take care of the place. Low income or not, renters just need to take care of the home and area around them

  • Carol Property Manager for Condos, SFH and Multi-Unit

    I love this website, we get to speak to each others as neighbors, certainly hoping that we can keep it amicable! Being a property manager, I can see how renters are often times (not all of them) very disrespectful and simply put, they just don't care. On the other hand, you have homeowners who don't care, don't keep up their property and sometimes make a good situation, worse.
    Over the weekend 2 people were killed on 64th and Woodlawn (directly behind my house) and then I learned that 2 additional people were killed on 64th Street.
    It has certainly been a positive experience on my block, it is the violence that we have to face every friggin day that is disheartening....this is not the Dream that Martin Luther King had.
    Housing is not always the issue, whether it's low income, Section 8 or unruly homeowners.
    Lawd...if we could do something about those disrespectful young folks. JeezUs!!!
    Volunteer work should be mandatory in the City of Chicago for 13-22 year olds without a job. A good majority lack direction!! Can we have a Scared Straight Program in our area for these disrespectful young people?

  • Happy making better choices

    You are right about the homeowners lacking accountability as well. Some young guys bought a place next to me and they had a problem keeping the place up and they had bad renters. Now the place is for sale again and a renter asked if any of our condo's are for rent. Nice young couple but we have nothing.

  • Lola Gray 65th and Rhodes Block club president

    Affordable housing and section 8 is not the problem. Many of us need rental assistance. The problem is the behavior of the people. Many of them have no pride about where and how they live, no respect for their neighbors or their properties. Some how these people need to gain some decent living skills. They need to learn to appreciate a back yard for their children to play and for entertaining. They need to develop some pride about where they live. I could go on, but you get my point I'm sure. We need help.

  • Lola, I agree. If your neighbor treated you, their home and yours with respect, didn't hang out and picked up the trash; you'd never think about income. It's truly accountability!

  • Lola Gray 65th and Rhodes Block club president

    The question is how do we change this bad behavior and bad attitudes. Can you teach common sense?

  • Carol Property Manager for Condos, SFH and Multi-Unit

    Looking for solutions to all of the above:
    How do we teach common sense, start a class to teach them?

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    I agree that it's a lack of respect for neighbors and property that's bringing Woodlawn down. I declared war on one rental property by reporting the building for violations numerous times until the owner was fined and finally started to make repairs, however, he did not take care of the problem tenants.

    I have another interesting problem. I live in an 8-unit building with the most empathetic owners I have ever met. They care nothing about building repairs, don't call police when there's problems with neighbors (loitering etc.) and make no effort to help me shovel, pick up trash etc. So how do you deal with owners who act as if what goes on outside of the building has nothing to do with them? We are all working professionals, teachers, a police officer, I just can't figure out why I'm the only one alarmed by what happens in the neighborhood.

  • Low income housing is the problem? Uh, NO. It is the family dynamic. I have Section 8 and used to reside on 63rd and St. Lawrence. My family has never done any damage to anything. We never been involved in any violence. Don't lump all people based on their financial status. As far as requiring youth to volunteer I think that is a great idea. I believe it is now a high school graduation requirement. Unfortunately not all youth attend high school. I don't any way to make youth who are not in school to volunteer. As far as teaching common sense I think that is a parent's job. I do think schools should provide lessons on anti-bullying. That might deter some negative behavior which affects the community.

  • We need home ownership while prices are low, living on section 8 of the Housing Act of 1979 is not living at all, it makes you dependent on a system of control.

  • If the government would invest half of what they're now spending on poverty and fund a program such as HUD's old 235 program, making working folk homeowners, the world would be better. Interest rates are down, property is cheap. All some people need is a little help and the help would be appreciated. Think about it!

  • Lola Gray 65th and Rhodes Block club president

    WHO you are right but lets face it, everybody is not ready to be a homeowner and never will be. We need to pool our monies in the hood and start buying these cheap properties and will therefore have control over who lives next door to us.

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    I think there is a lot we could do as residents without government involvement (for now.) First step is to decrease crime by adopting zero tolerance for the nonsense that happens in front of our properties and on our blocks. I've been to community meetings with Cochran where droves of people basically sit and complain about the latest crime. But when I go to my CAPS meeting, I see the same 6-10 concerned residents. Too much outrage, not enough action.

  • Happy making better choices

    It doesn't make a difference what housing programs are created until the mentality some renters and some owners are addressed. S8 has a bad image. It doesn't seem right that if I am correct, you can use this assistance forever without accountability. Owners should provide a safe and clean environment and renters should maintain that while working to no longer need the assistance. I acknowledge Life over the past few yrs has been hard on millions so I think this time in our lives ppl would need to take advantage of these programs longer then usual.

    Outside of the current economic environment, it seems S8 is no longer temp help but a lifestyle that allows participants to relax knowing that they can get away with just about anything. That is the issue. Owners wouldn't live in the space they provide so who they get to rent is a reflection of that. When the renter does have good space in a nice area, they have no idea how to act.

    Successful change has to be done from the inside out and ppl have to stop being afraid to speak up when things are wrong. The first time the music blasts give a warning after that call 911, kids screaming in the street and sitting on ppl's cars is not cute or harmless. When i go to trade my car in but there are scratches from the kids belts or coats, are you paying me the don't know what shift I work so the screaming could wake me before/after my shift.

    Respect and accountability goes a long way no matter how much money you make. The ppl that inspired this post and those that have moved in my area unfortunately make it appear to be a S8/low income mentality when in reality it is beyond that.

  • Happy you've summed things up pretty well. A zero tolerance approach along with no-nonsense behavior in school may be what is needed to change the current mentality. Ppl have to know, welfare of any type is a luxury, not an entitlement.

  • Happy making better choices

    Thanks but I wouldn't go as far to say it's a luxury. Beyond my Christian beliefs, I feel it is my duty as a human being to support assistance programs but those programs need to have rules and regulations. The ppl need to be accountable and show effort. I believe crap happens and there is nothing wrong with giving a helping hand. Ppl are entitled to a safe space but they need to be willing to put in the time and effort for that space.

  • I disagree with WHO regarding home ownership being the answer. I acknowledge that I could do without some of the Section 8 administration requirements. However, I have encountered landlords and property management who did not provide proper maintenance and repairs until ordered to by the CHAC Section 8 inspectors. If I was a tenant in non-subsidized housing I don't know what recourse I would have to get the repairs done. Personally, I am not interested in home ownership because of the responsibility of having to be responsible for maintenance, heating cost, unexpected repairs, buying appliances, insurance costs, etc.

  • Just because a renter is a participant on the Section 8 program does not mean that they are are destructive, violent or irresponsible. I am a college graduate. My oldest child earned a Masters Degree and is a working professional. Another child is a high school senior who is now applying to colleges. Please don't equate lack of home ownership with lack of character.

  • We must work toward home ownership, we cannot have all of the property in the black community owned and operated by outside forces because when they (absent owners) get tired of you living there then out you go.

    We need people not only to care about themselves but the community as well, this is why the community is suffering because no one wants to be responsible for anything. I DO NOT AGREE WITH "jerjorju"

    We must take responsibility for changing the course of our community.

  • Let's face it, at these housing prices you can't afford not to buy, renting is more expensive.

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    I don't think all blame can be placed on Section 8. Like I mentioned earlier, the condo owners in my building take no responsibility for overall block maintenance. I understand that they don't throw the trash themselves, but a good neighbor would realize that it needs to be picked up, lest the neighborhood become one big trash bin. Bacially everyone needs an attitude adjustment when it comes to the neighborhoods and who has responsibility for their current state, it's everyone's responsibility.

    I'd like to ask you all for some practical solutions. What have you done that's been effective? When you call 911 to report loitering, gang activity etc., what do you tell them to get the best response? I know some people have organized to clean up empty lots, how often do you do this? How do you get the vacant cars towed? Are your block clubs effective? Do you contact absent management companies; what is their response?

    I'm tired of complaining, let's help each other with practical solutions. I want to be ready for when the activity picks up in the summertime.

  • Happy making better choices

    Everyone shouldn't be a home owner bc it is not for everyone. That is like saying everyone needs a formal college education and that is not the case. I don't want to live in an area where ppl own just bc it's cheap. If you know you are not for the responsibility don't do it.

    To be honest that is the problem now but in a dif way. Not that the houses were cheap but it was too easy to become an owner. When ppl had to choose bt paying the mortgage or buying a new pair of Jordans, some have new shoes. When ppl purchased a 200k home but just make min wage and became overwhelmed, they walked away or stopped taking care of the space. Own bc you can and want to handle the responsibility not just bc.

  • Happy making better choices

    Ways that have helped..calling 911 multiple times if necessary and some have calling trees so neighbors call about the same thing. Be as clear as possible and if you are on the street when things happen and see a police car stop them.

    when you see something about to go down call bf it gets out of control and if you are asked about weapons be honest but make sure you ask if that is the only way the police will come and call back if things continue with no response. Those calls are recorded and if something serious happens and you called noting the tension with no response, I think you can have those calls pulled and note the lack of response and let the public in on the injustice...bad media causes ppl to loose jobs or get it together with enough attention

    When you feel safe address the issue with the person(s) involved. You see a owner let a dog poop on the sidewalk tell them to pick it up-Sitting on my cars are a no no and I am in no way afraid to tell those kids to get the hell off but I do do it in a simple respectful way at first. Only once have I had to call the police in the moment bc these boys thought I was playing and didn't believe I would call 911. In that case the kids with them even said get off my car and apologized. Most ppl approach the kids yelling so that's what they get back, You would be surprised what a please and thanks can get you with ppl in general.

  • Home ownership is still by far the best way to go in this country, we must not look at the work and responsibility and turn up our noses because only through hard work will we appreciate our community.

  • Happy making better choices

    hard work is based on having a 100% ownership mentality but not exclusive to owning. When I rented I had an ownership mentality so it was great.

  • That the spirit "Happy", nice to hear that.

  • Happy making better choices

    Someone mentioned kids needing to learn how to be respectful. I think that class they mentioned should include ownership mentality to show there is another way for those that need it.

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    Thanks Happy for the suggestions. There have been times when I've called 911 five times and gotten no response. I complained at a CAPs meeting and my beat officers made excuses like "if the people aren't directly in front of the address I reported, they can't stop them." Problem is, my beat officers don't even get out of their cars, I'm lucky if they slow their cars down. I will be more diligent about forming a phone tree, as I mentioned my immediate neighbors are pretty useless about these things so I'll reach out further down the block. As far as approaching the kids (who by the way are more like young adults 13-23) I'll have to think about it. Their behavior is unpredictable, but you never know.

  • Happy making better choices

    JC, I agree about the cops. I called for a fight once that was getting out of control and the cops finally arrived to sit in their cars and watch. I tried to record and take pics to show how lazy it was but of course nothing was charged. I lived up north for yrs and NEVER have seen such police behavior.

    the kids I approached where about 13 but like I said you have to feel comfy. When I approach them I ask them if they own or know the owner of the car in a joking way, they of course say so, and I say it's mine so get off and except that one time they have moved. When I can see kids from my window on my car I will turn on the alarm and they run away. If they come back I do it again and call the police and say they are doing it to multiple cars which they are. If it is past curfew I also mention they look underage and it is past curfew even if it is only 2 min after curfew. 2 min is out past curfew. I wish they fined guardians for curfew like they do in other places. If fines aren't paid that us jail time fo the kids and parents. Soon they will get the message to keep their terrors at home and hopefully see a need for a change

  • Greta Olson 10 Year East Woodlawn Resident

    Police help sometimes but they are stretched too thin. I have found that a simple hello, please and thank you along with my own self-imposed conceal carry law brings much peace.

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    Before I moved to Woodlawn I never even considered conceal carry as an option for me. Now I carry mace from my parking spot to my door, and concealed carry doesn't seem like a bad idea anymore. I have heard the captain speak about how Chicago has to respond to ridiculous calls, but that they do respond to each and every call. This simply isn't true, I have sat by my window waitng for police to break up the frequent gambling that occurs in the middle of the sidewalk. 75% of the time, the police are a no show on my block.

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