Housing Availability

CHA must lease up its vacant units

Little known fact:

The Chicago Housing Authority leaves thousands of its apartments vacant in any given year.



CHA reported in 2010 that it had "delivered" 20,288 apartments, but that only 18,325 were "available for occupancy" and only 15,984 were actually leased.



Why is there a 4,300+ unit difference between apartments available and apartments actually occupied?



Little known fact:

The CHA counts many of these "offline" units as 'replacement housing' towards their 25,000 unit commitment, even though the apartments are not housing anyone.



Little known fact:

We're not talking about short-term vacancies--- we're talking about 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, 10 years vacant.



Little known fact:

These vacant apartments are located on all sides of the city (north, south, and west), in scattered site housing, senior housing, and traditional family housing.



Little known fact:

The CHA continues to receive money from HUD for a significant number of these vacant apartments, whether they are occupied or not.



Now a well known truth:

With over 68,000 households on the CHA's waiting lists, many living in homeless shelters, it is unacceptable for the CHA to leave even a single habitable apartment vacant over the long-term.



Stop abusing the language.

A unit "delivered" = a family housed.

A unit that is unoccupied is vacant, not "offline".



Whatever reasons CHA uses to justify the vacancies, the vacancies cannot be allowed to continue. We have families in need now, and actually, we have the resources to serve them. Maybe not all of them, but many, many more families than the CHA serves now.



As new leadership comes to the CHA, fully leasing every apartment possible needs to be on the CHA's short-list of what it cleans up to better operate in line with its mission, to better serve Chicago.



Too much is at stake for too many families for the CHA to allow thousands of viable apartments to go vacant for any longer.



Families in crisis deserve better.



32 votes
Idea No. 67