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Added Sep 02 2012

With HUD/CHA now controlling 52% of all housing in Woodlawn will this community survive? Studies show when you reach 20% your community become de-invested and blighted. How long will homeowners put up with: High Crime, Zero Decent Shops, Abundance of Trash, Rude Residents.

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    Greed keeps CHA growing and thriving in Woodlawn. It’s very tempting to rent out a unit for market rate or above (ex. You can receive about $1300 for a 3bed/2bath unit from CHA). Investors have a field day buying properties for less than $20k and flipping them to rent to CHA, then disappearing and doing the bare minimum to maintain their investments.
    CHA does offer an incentive to landlords in “better areas” (Lincoln Park, Downtown, Northside communities) where they will pay up to 2x the going market rate! But I’m guessing that investors don’t want to deal with the outcry they’d receive from residents of those neighborhoods if they catch wind of it. And honestly, maybe they have a different standard of who they will rent to vs. who they want as next door neighbors. Was it Hinsdale that “banned” public housing or mixed income developments? You don’t have to go that far, but it takes a serious outcry from citizens and the Alderman to slow down the influx of Section 8 to a neighborhood.
    I should also say that of course there are exceptions. The investor in my building took great care to screen her CHA tenants and they were great neighbors (they also worked, makes a big difference).
    Lastly, I do believe public housing can work when it’s mixed income (on the West Coast) and there is better regulation than what we have here

  • Laura C. 10-year East Woodlawn homeowner

    Wow, that article from the Maroon says it all:

    "Under the previous, private owners, the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation (WPIC), the property deteriorated, allowing holes in walls and windows, rat and roach infestations, and plumbing to be backed up with sewage, leading to its failing HUD inspections."

    Lets hope POAH does right by these people and this development and it doesn't slide back down that same slippery slope. That's all we ask as Woodlawn homeowners. Keep the buildings clean and safe. Keep the landlords accountable for their tenants. That's what this original post and all these neighbor comments are about. Nobody wants a building run by slumlords on their block, whether it is HUD or not. If HUD had a better track record Woodlawn wouldn't be in this sad state of affairs, but how can a few angry citizens do much against behemoths like HUD, TWO, etc.? Aside from signing the petition, what can we do? What are our next steps? We need a community organizer or a voice in government. We need an alderman on our side. Any ideas?

  • dear mr. man professional

    well it is clear some actions have been taken...WHO for one. Petitition for another. Lets make sure the petition is circulated and signed over and over. The hinsdale reference suggest we can make some noise too. UofC signing off means POAH will have some accountability to a large institution. It is important we take some small steps, not get off-track with agendas, and find a common thread to attach. we must generate a political will....A will that says this is our expectation...our expectation as individuals and as a community....unity of any kind is the blueprint. It is clear we will differ on some things but we need some accountability by the housing sources to not dump on us with no regard for our tax dollars, safety, and growth.

  • 52% came from the mouth of HUD last week in our meeting downtown, we are asking for a halt on all subsidized housing.

  • @Chatham, Finney was forced to sell the building @ 6200 S. Kimbark, the sell was final last month, but the problem still exist.

  • That's not the only building TWO owns. So if these operators are so bad why no dialogue with them? The fact is they own the buildings and HUD/CHA only subsidizes individuals renters. The buildings in Woodlawn are not CHA owned such as the ones that once lined State Street.

  • You are making an assumptions that we are not in dialogue with them, truth be told we are, once a month we get together and talk about housing issues in Woodlawn.

    They only want more Affordable Housing, while throwing the problems they create in the lap of the police.

    We need to only look at the data, this housing strategy does not work.

  • Please correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm trying to put the pieces together correctly: In Woodlawn, there are at least four NFPs that own buildings in which rent is subsidized. Are the buildings owned by NFPs exempt from property taxes? If so, that means a good portion of the properties which make up the 52% do not contribute to the coffers which normal property tax-payers must.

  • More than four: T.W.O, WECAN, KELO, St. Edmunds, POAH and many, many absent investors manipulating the Section 8 Housing program for profit, while the Home owners clean up their mess literally.

  • Terri Kilbane President KABC
    The Chicago Reporter, Angela Caputo, has been doing recent articles on the Finney buildings we have been trying to get our government officials to work on to rid our block of violence. If you search on the internet which I did from 2008 to 2010 I found articles to document two young men who were residents of the building killed elsewhere, two young teenagers gunned down in the lot next door on the night of the funeral of the first victim, the twin brother of the second victim in prison for seeking revenge and shooting at people outside Dunbar high school, a drive by where 5 men living in the bldg were shot, an incident where windows in several cars were blown out, and something that did not make the paper, bullet holes in my car and two neighbors' car. Barbara Flynn Currie's office heard my pleas and worked with the alderman and TWO and there was a 'quiet' time for over a year after I was told they worked on some difficult evictions and Finney was to sell the buildings or move the residents out and rehab the building. I would love to hear more details about the sale of the Finney building listed earlier in these comments. He runs four buildings on the corner of 62nd and Kimbark. We have been trying to find out about a sale since we heard from the alderman;s office. The SECC promised to help but they have not responded to our repeated requests. The sale was to go through with A. Davis last April but we heard it did not materialize. So any particulars would be appreciated. If sold, we would like to know who we are dealing with because it does not mean the problem will go away since the same residents live there.

  • Terri Kilbane President KABC

    (Continued) Not all the residents take part in the violence but for a number of reasons do not assist in reporting those who do, so the problem continues. Last night a young man was shot and when I spoke to the police today they stated no one would cooperate with them on who did the shooting. It's been a frustrating day and I am tired of seeing friends, neighbors, and businesses move out after I waited so long to see all the abandoned buildings turn around only to see the violence in the last several years appear in its place.

  • Hello Kimbark Neighbors,

    We had a fatal shooting on our block on Monday night at about 12:00 am. I heard 5 gunshots and called the police. In about 5-10 minutes they arrived, the UCPD also arrived, ambulance and fire truck. We later were informed that the individual was fatally wounded. The incident occured in front of 6141 S. Kimbark a 6-8 flat managed by Hallmark Johnson,, if you go onto their website - you will see that Cullen Davis is the president. WCDC sold the huge yellow 100-unit HUD project-based courtyard building located at 6134 S. Kimbark (across the street) to Allison Davis/Cullen Davis last month. I called their VP, Kelly Brown yesterday to find out what security measures they were planning for their multiple properties - she said she would call me back and didn't.

  • delores Over 40 years a Southside Resident.

    I've been looking to buy in the Woodlawn community and I thought it was getting better. I beleive in section 8 but I don't beleive it should be concentrated in just our community. That's what happen when they destroyed the CHA public housing on state street. It was the southside or no side..

  • Many of us claim to be educated but cannot make the connections from what we read to reality, it's called comprehension, the data is there, anything over 20% and you see a downward spiral that you cannot recover.

    We are at 52% subsidized housing, and with rogue investors that number moves every day, we need a moratorium on all subsidies and we have to remove 32% of these subsidies elsewhere.

    We must not enable bad behavior and past failures, we have to comprehend the data and make the right choices for everyone.

  • So where are you recommending the 32% of Woodlawn residents that you consider undesirable be relocated?

  • Chicago has 77 communities they must be evenly balanced between them to prevent re-concentrating the poor together.

    This way they can take advantage of a health community and make real strive towards changing their circumstances.

    The goal is not to keep them in poverty the goal is to help them lift themselves out of poverty.

    The "Black Community" is the only community that hasn't figured this out yet, for all of our so-called education we are clue-less, while others fight and gain advantages over this mess.

  • dear mr. man professional

    actually heard through the grapevine shooting was not fatal, God the Glory! I am sure intent was not to deceive however with this ridiculous "no snitch" pathology in our neighborhoods, you never know. No harm no foul....lets keep the dialouge going

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    Chicago's 77 Communities...

  • If i'm understanding this correctly its now everyone's problem?

    Good luck trying to get organizations like BAPCO and other community organizations to buy into your plan.

    So the bottom line is if you move people out of Woodlawn you and the other condo owners who are upside down on your mortgages and paying assessments through the roof will be able to become whole, sell your units and move on and not have to deal with any problems

  • I don't personally own a condo, but I like your approach for us to look out the window and watch others die and pray the bullets don't come into our homes.

    So if I understand chatham correctly, we are to:
    1). add more low income because that's how blacks live.
    2). Step over dead bodies hoping we are not next.
    3). Continue to live with crime, trash and poor education,
    because after all we are black and that's the best we can
    hope for. We don't want to upset the criminals they are too

  • @WHO- I never said any of that. That's your imagination playing tricks on you.

    The bottom line is this isn't about Black or White its all about Green $$$..

  • dear mr. man professional

    they should be provided w/ vouchers and allowed to go where they want....where there isn't an over abundance of subsidized housing. There is a concentrated effort to allow/force them to stay in woodlawn which is oversaturated with such housing.

  • Chatham, who are you talking to? Not one person in this discussion has talked about owning a condo, or being upside down, or high assessments. We are talking about high crime in the area. My mother lives on a block where there are constantly herds of hoodlums standing around. There is cursing, littering, drinking, gambling, drug use on a regular basis. A young man was shot to death in front of her house and she hears gunshots nightly. Her neighbors curse at her, throw garbage on her property and threaten to kill her dog. She is practically afraid to leave her house, which our family has owned for over 70 years (meaning, she owes NO mortgage on it).
    The people who are terrorizing her block are not the original owners like herself. According to our very own alderman, a number of homeowners on the block were exploited by predatory lending and lost their homes. Absentee landlords scooped up the property, put just anybody with a section 8 voucher in it, and collect the money and do nothing else. She and the non-sociopathic neighbors have a phone tree for calling the police, and when they do come, they just roll through the crowds and don't even stop the car.
    She just wants to be safe and comfortable in her home and so does everyone else commenting here. Now if your mind converts this into her owning a condo with a mortgage and assessments on it, then you are willfully ignoring the issue.

  • dear mr. man professional

    well stated. our/my purpose is to help mobilize a concerted effort to put pressure on the housing groups to be more accountable to the neighborhoods they are effecting....put a property manager on grounds with more than 8 units, place some form of security on the noted trouble properties.

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    One news report had the 20th Ward with 20 homicides in the first six months of 2012, more than any of the other 49 wards.

  • dear mr. man professional

    we need to place demands/pressure on HUD...they are not doing this to other communities..period. Our political will must be shown via gatherings, letters, petitions, calls and potential press.

  • sb

    What is the problem with condo owners anyway? We contribute to the tax base and are more often than not, working to pay our mortgages which ARE underwater and keep up with our assessments because most of are victims of the shoddy work of developers who wanted to make a killing in Woodlawn (excuse the term in context of the previous discussion). If we were not plain working folks, we would have bought somewhere else, or at least I would have. AND I do not expect to be made whole again, I am going to take the huge loss and get out, before it gets any worse.
    @Julia, I am sorry about your Mother, my heart goes out to her.

  • @Julia: Your mother is in our prayers, we have a Neighborhood Watch Meeting @ 3rd District Police station this Friday @ 6:30pm, if you or your mother can make it that would be awesome. The discussion will be about:

    Petition to close "One Stop Liquor".
    Petition to Shutdown 6215, 6230, 6237 and 6238 Rhodes.
    Petition for HUD moratorium in Woodlawn.
    Phase #2 IP Camera's
    Sept 20th Meeting with "Chicago Police Board".

  • dear mr. man professional

    sounds like a very relevant agenda!!! Tell a friend and lets fill the venue...numbers numbers numbers....this opportunity to go live with our concerns cannot go unattended....just requires our attendance....and remember we have two ears and one mouth for a reason....God knows! :-)

  • Changing the policies at HUD and CHA are great goals, but in the short-term, the pressure has to be put on the owners of the problem buildings. It has to become expensive and time-consuming for a landlord to keep a problem building and fill it with bad tenants.

    For example, 6237 Rhodes, posted by WHO above, had a building inspection this past June in which 28 violations were found, thus failing the inspection. The same building had another failed inspection in May of 2012 and a third failed inspection in September of 2011 (see city website).

    What is next in the process? If the building is still a problem, it's obvious that the owner just ignores the citations. Do they even show up in housing court? The alderman needs to ensure that the codes are enforced - they're going after traffic-ticket 'scofflaws', why should this be different?

    Another issue: empty lots and abandoned buildings. Seeing that most of Woodlawn's property taxes are going into a couple of TIFs (one fund had $11 million in it at the end of 2010 per city website), which are supposed to be used for economic development, infrastructure improvements and demolitions, it shouldn't take much to erect fencing around vacant lots or demolish abandoned buildings.

    It saddens me that, like 50 years ago, those who can get out are getting out, but who can blame them? The Grand Ballroom is even up for sale now, which was obviously restored at great expense as a labor of love. And for those folks wary of any UC expansion - if the problems continue to mount and encroach on their door, you can bet they'll cross 61st Street with bulldozers.

  • UC has already crossed 61st Street. They have broken ground on two lots on 63rd Street east of Cottage Grove for a day school. They'll bulldoze the whole neighborhood before they let their kids go to a private school in a war zone.

  • JC Irving Park transplant from the Southside

    @Julia, thanks for mentioning the ridiculous response from the police. The roll thrus (if you even get that) are almost counterproductive. The thugs think the police are a joke on most days, a nuisance at the most. If they're afraid to get out of their squad cars, I'm definitely not getting out of my Honda!

  • Happy making better choices

    I was a renter for yrs and as a former renter who maintained my home and surrounding area, this has nothing to do ownership bc from what I see the problem ppl don't maintain what they own anyway.

    Poverty is beyond financial, I believe it is really a mentality bc in truth finances can be improved if the person is willing to work and I mean work plus live within their means as they SAVE and do better plus live their own life not try to live the life of what they see (generally speaking bc sometimes other circumstances can hinder a persons best efforts).

    Ppl rise above being financially poor bc their mentality was not poor and they knew in the end the work would pay off. No they couldn't have the the latest fashion, drive the latest car, or eat steak everyday for yrs and that was ok. The problem ppl I see don't get that and appear to feel entitled on top of some landlords treating ppl bad bc they don't have a lot of money and aren't "worthy" of better.

    In my opinion a great area includes ppl of all dif backgrounds but what they have in common is they respect their space and that of their neighbors no matter who pays the mortgage. I have met some very nice ppl who are financially poor but have great spirits and hearts. One man lived in my building some yrs ago and I had no clue he was on a voucher which is as it should be. He was home most days but the outside lawn was ALWAYS clean and no one loitered in front bc he was there taking care of the space. That is how we should all act and encourage others to act.
    continued below..........

  • Happy making better choices

    I have made it a mission to do something as simple as speak to everyone who walks by me and now ppl speak to me before I can open my mouth. A lot of the loitering is decreasing and when they see my car some disperse and move along. We still have issues but until you change the mentality of the ppl we will get no where. Until the big businesses are checked we can work to change our areas one person at a time. Choose an action you can do a few times a week, even if it as simple as saying hello. Don't not call 311 or 911 when the"usual" is going on. If you know and can identify a problem building, contact the local news outlets. Pam Z on CBS, I like her segments and she seems to do a pretty good job.

    I agree that their needs to be more regulation into who is placed where and who is even allowed in the programs but sometimes we have to not only work on fixing the top but also work on the bottom and everything in between.

  • Michele Frustrated Woodlawn homeowner

    Hi. I agree with everything that WHO has stated. We as homeowners have a right to protect our interests. Which to me means that the alderman, CHA, HUD, TWO etc. disrespects property owners by just dumping people anywhere without any regards to a proper and orderly process, the needs of their tenants, and the investment that we as homeowners have worked to hard to acquire and maintain. I think it is especially insulting that you have these so called "investors" who will rent to anyone without proper screening, don't maintain the property while all along they collect the money and get to live in their pristine communities where they know all this craziness is not acceptable.

    As far as TWO and Reverend Finney, there is no neeed to dialogue with him or his organization because he knows what he has been doing is wrong. And I am sure there are other "landlords" who are not doing their due diligence. You will find this article interesting
    Additionally I spoke to someone whose family briefly stayed in a TWO property over 20 - 30 years ago, where they encountered same problems. A history and pattern has been established with the organization. Btw, TWO has around 3000 units.

    What is the next action or strategy?

  • Michele Frustrated Woodlawn homeowner

    @ Defend Woodlawn. I don't really have a problem with U of C expanding their campus development because its in their interests to do so. The previous alderman did not do her job and so what little development happened was wrecked after she was convicted. And so as homeowners who would you rather have as neighbors disinterested slumlords with bad tenants driving down property values further or institutions that have a vested interest.

    @ Happy you have made some good points. I also agree that some owners including those owned by the banks do not maintain their property but they can be better addressed by filing a complaint with 311 and fined if necessary. But back to the original post of this forum, the problem is that the entire process has become corrupt and we have reached critical mass and we are in crisis.

  • @Julia you are so right... In order to clear the path for UofC students they had to restructure and move the problem inward. If you are paying over $70,000 for your child to go to school, you better believe they need a clear path from the green line to their campus. I am just amazed that people didn't see this coming when POAH got involved.

  • delores Over 40 years a Southside Resident.

    Watch out Southsiders.If you own a home Please keep it.

  • dear mr. man professional

    my concerns are mostly with the larger mini projects that institutions own versus individual investors with two or three condos. The buldings on kimbark (the yellow building) drive by and see open drug trade if you want to see one in action, and the proposed similiar building assigned to POAH right next door; the multi-unit monstrocity on corner of 62nd university?....these are the hubs housing too many of the individuals who are the center of this dialogue.

  • dear mr. man professional

    circulate the petition to everyone you know

  • I urge everyone to really think about the last 20 years in these communities, we had a boost during the housing bubble but it has burst and we are spiraling down fast, these subsidies are a cement block on our feet. We must break free!!!

  • dear mr. man professional

    Please call Interscope Records at (310) 865-1000 to let them know that you are against violence encouraged or perpetrated by some of their artist, especially the violence by young Black men against other young Black men.
    This company signed the suspect cheif chaos and disorder in recent killing of youth L'il bad azz or whatever they call themselves.

  • dear mr. man professional

    I am making a reference to the character these young men represent with tongue in cheek comments. They are God's creation too...they just are identifying with the wrong source. Lets not forget to pray earnestly in these matters.

  • dear mr. man professional


  • I would like to thank everyone that commented, this was a good discussion.

  • Thank you WHO. Perhaps it's time to peition not only HUD,CHA but the Ciy of Chicago a well.

  • Cha sucks. They only open up their waitlist every 10 years. It takes you 20 years just to get housing move to Minnesota that's where you will get your help from. They city of Minneapolis is 100 times better than Chicago.

    Cha need to open up that waitlist for all housing in 2013. That's a shame they got people waiting on housing when they got over 30,000 units open for rent. I see they doing an update 3 and 5 years after opening the waitlist for section 8 and public housing. They should have been did this. Cha also got in trouble with Hud too for taking money for empty units that could be housing women with kids or homeless people. Chicago wondering why so many people moving out of the city and state.

  • Hello all, I am new to the site but I am very glad that I found it. I am VERY interested in the very same issues that concern all of you. I am a 2 flat owner which I purchased, rehabbed, and live in. My only tenants are market rate and good neighbors. I am interested in joining WHO, where can I go to obtain more info?

  • Todd Agosto Analyst/Investigator at Veritatem Cognoscere

    You can send an inquiry through the "Chicago's Woodlawn Community" FB page

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