Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Chicago Housing Authority

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Annual budget
$976 million (2015)

City of Chicago


Chicago Housing Authority

60 E. Van Buren Street Chicago, Illinois  United States

Agency executive
Eugene Jones Jr., Chief Executive Officer

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is a municipal corporation that oversees public housing within the city of Chicago. The agency's Board of Commissioners is appointed by the city's mayor, and has a budget independent from that of the city of Chicago. CHA is the largest rental landlord in Chicago, with more than 50,000 households. CHA owns over 21,000 apartments (9,200 units reserved for seniors and over 11,400 units in family and other housing types). It also oversees the administration of 37,000 Section 8 vouchers. The current acting CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority is Eugene Jones, Jr.



Formed in 1937 by the state of Illinois, CHA was created to clear slums which were describe by most as unlivable in Chicago; also to provide affordable homes for war veterans. The housing authority came into existence after the Housing Act of 1937 was passed which was the public housing program that provided low-cost housing in the form of publicly-managed and owned multi-family housing developments. The first director of CHA was Elizabeth Wood, from 1937 until 1954. CHA first housing project to be constructed by the Public Works Administration (PWA) was the Lathrop Homes in 1937. The Francis Cabrini and William Green Homes was started in 1941 and all 3,607 units were completed by 1962, ABLA is a complex of buildings started in 1943 and completed in total in 1955, Stateway Gardens was started in 1955 and completed by 1957. Robert Taylor Homes was started in 1961 and completed by 1962, it was considered as the largest public housing development in the United States. Between 1950 and 1969, the housing authority built 11 high rise projects for public housing, which isolated the extreme poor in "superblocks" that were not easily patrolled by police vehicles. CHA created the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department (CHAPD) which was formed in 1989 and was dissolved in 1999.

Plan for Transformation/Plan Forward

In 2000, the CHA began its Plan For Transformation, which called for the demolition of all of its gallery high-rise buildings because they failed HUD's viability test and proposed a renovated housing portfolio totaling 25,000 units. In April 2013, CHA created Plan Forward, the next phase of redeveloping public housing in Chicago. The plan includes the rehabilitation of homes, increasing economic sales around CHA developments and providing educational, job training to residents with Section 8 vouchers. In 2015, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development criticized the Chicago Housing Authority for accumulating a cash reserve of $440 million, at a time when more than a quarter million people are on the agency’s waiting list for affordable housing. The CHA actually holds an annual lottery for candidates to seek a spot on the waitlist. CHA also faced criticism for leaving a large number of units vacant (16%) and for slowing its pace of adding units.


From its beginning until the late-1950s, Most families that lived in Chicago housing projects were made up of mostly Italians immigrants. By the mid-1970s, 65% of the agency's housing projects were made up of African Americans. In 1975, A study showed that traditional mother and father families in CHA housing projects were almost non-existent and 93% of the households were headed by single females. In 2010, the head of households demographics were 88% African American, 12% White. The population of children in CHA decreased by 15%, from 50% in 2000 to 35% by 2010. Today on average, a Chicago public housing development is made up of: 69% African-American, 27% Latino, and 4% White and Other.

Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority

In 1966, Dorothy Gautreaux and other CHA residents brought a suit against the CHA, in Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority. It was a long-running case that in 1996 resulted in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) taking over the CHA and the Gautreaux Project in which public housing families were relocated to the suburbs.

Other housing

In addition to the traditional housing projects, CHA has 51 senior housing developments, 61 scattered site housing and 15 mixed-income housing developments.


Chicago Housing Authority Wikipedia

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