Thousands of low-income families erased from CHA`s waiting list - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Thousands of low-income families erased from CHA`s waiting list

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Housing Initiative is pointing the finger at the Chicago Housing Authority -- accusing the city of sacrificing low-income housing for the potential of millions of dollars.

On prime real estate, next to the Chicago River, sits Julia C. Lathrop Homes. Most of the public housing project is vacant with the exception of some long-time residents including Georgia Coleman.

"I really feel bad for those because winter is coming and I know what's going to happen because I've seen it, those homeless people are going to go up those fences and open it up and get into those apartments," said Coleman.

And it would come as no surprise to Coleman and the Chicago Housing Initiative. At a public hearing, the advocacy group expressed outrage by the Chicago Housing Authority's plans to purge its waiting list.

"The Housing Authority is saying that it's been unable to locate 47,000 families on its waiting list and as a result it is removing them permanently from the list with no opportunity to be reinstated," said Leah Levinger, Director of the Chicago Housing Initiative.

"I kept calling and calling and calling and I never got a response so I'm thinking that it's that," said Mary Nelson.

Nelson says she called the CHA with no response. She lost her job and home two years ago after she became sick. Nelson believes her name was deleted from the CHA's list. She's now in temporary housing.

"I live at Myra's, a transitional place for women," said Nelson.

"The wait list was purged because HUD has some guidelines with respect to purging your wait list every single year. We wanted to do that because one, we wanted to get people into housing much faster," said Wendy Parks, Spokesperson for the Chicago Housing Authority.

But the Chicago Housing Initiative is not buying it - they've moved their message to Facebook and Twitter.

"To us this is just the most visible symptom of the CHA's failure to rebuild, their consistent leaving of thousands of public housing apartments vacant year after year and their failure to circulate all the housing choice vouchers that they're funded for," said Levinger.

The Chicago Housing Initiative says families who believe they were purged fromt he waiting list should contact the CHA, provide current contact information and appeal their removal and request a reinstatement.

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