Collaborative efforts—encompassing numerous partnerships between city departments and community-based organizations—are necessary if Chicago is to provide more opportunity to its residents, especially those vouchered-out through the Housing Choice Voucher Program; however, a prominent issue persists surrounding the way in which the Chicago Housing Authority classifies ‘opportunity areas’—considered to be amongst the best relocation opportunities for Housing Choice Voucher holders. In order to be considered an opportunity area, a neighborhood or community area must have an area poverty level of not more than 24.49 percent; however, this stands significantly above the average neighborhood poverty level in Chicago of approximately 17 percent. In highlighting this disparity with representatives from the Chicago Housing Authority, the issue was dismissed because the Chicago Housing Authority is “in the process of redefining opportunity areas” (Anna Lee, 2011). However, more than one year later, the definition of opportunity areas has not changed, and has in fact been revised up to 24.9 percent. This reality is unsettling, and reevaluating this definition is vital if Chicago hopes to provide fair housing opportunities to all its residents.
Idea No. 95