By Carlo Calma
Remnants of the Frances Cabrini Rowhouses in the city’s Near North Side on Hudson Ave. face an uncertain future, according to an article published in the Chicago Journal.
Under the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) Plan for Transformation, the rowhouse units were supposed to be rehabilitated and reserved for public housing. The article mentioned that 146 out of 584 rowhouse units were rehabbed by 2009, according to Matt Aguilar, CHA spokesman. Despite a progression towards rehabilitation, the project was, “frozen at the request of Federal Judge Marvin Aspen.”
A New Plan
Aguilar explained in the article that the CHA decided that the Cabrini Rowhouses would no longer be a 100 percent public housing unit after, “stakeholder meetings and deliberate considerations.”
Since then, the CHA has been working with the Near North Working Group to develop a plan for the remaining un-rehabilitated rowhouse units in Cabrini. The CHA announced last September that they would empty the un-rehabiliated units, which they implemented in March 2012, according to the Chicago Journal.
Remnants of the non-rehabbed Cabrini rowhouses remain blocked off from public access, which begs the question of what its current residents’ fate will be once the CHA and Near North Working Group’s plan is implemented.
Cabrini Residents’ Fate
The CHA remains adamant that current residents can stay put, ensured that residents will not become homeless in the process and will keep an open line of communication to all residents.
“CHA will communicate with the residents of the rehabbed units about the redevelopment plans and timeline for the non-rehabilitated units when the plan is finalized and implemented,” Aguilar said in an email to Chicago Agent.
Also, according to their Plan for Transformation’s frequently asked questions, the CHA explained that they have agreed to a Relocation Rights Contract, which not only grants residents a right to return to public housing after redevelopment, but also states that they will provide temporary housing to residents that are affected during redevelopment.
“All families have a replacement housing unit identified for them three months prior to their building closing,” according to the site. “This ensures that even if a family has not found a private market rental unit, or is ineligible for a voucher, the family will have a place to go when their building closes.”
Despite the CHA’s assertion, some residents quoted in the article painted a different picture for their fate.
Crystal Odis, life-long Cabrini-Green resident explained, “I think it’s going to be a white neighborhood in a few years. If that happens, we’ll move west, south. Moving ain’t that hard.”
Rehabbed sections of Cabrini will remain as is and will continually be used for public housing, according to Aguilar.
“The CHA plans to maintain and operate the rehabilitated rowhomes so residents living there can maximize their success and individual path to self-sufficiency,” said Aguilar.
However, it remains to be seen in the CHA and Near North Working Group’s plan if the vacant units will be used for residential or commercial use.
“The CHA and the Near North Working Group are working towards issuing a request for developer proposals in 2013,” said Aguilar.