2000 in Review: City Promises ‘Transformation’ for Public Housing

For the first time in six years, the Chicago Housing Authority spent an entire year under city–”not federal–”control, and showed signs of making significant changes in the lives of Chicago’s 23,162 public housing families. The year began with the CHA board approving its 10-year, $1.5 billion “Plan for Transformation,” to demolish 51 high-rises and create mixed-income communities of publicly funded, affordable and market-rate housing. One sign of transformation took place at the helm. Often-criticized Chief Executive Officer Phillip Jackson resigned June 1. The CHA Board named 17th Ward Alderman Terry Peterson to replace Jackson.

William P. Wilen: Going to Bat for Public Housing Residents

Ferrell Freeman, 48, first moved into the Addams-Brooks-Loomis-Abbott public housing development on Chicago’s Near West Side in 1954. ABLA is her home, and she has no desire to leave. So in the summer of 1996, when the Chicago Housing Authority went to Housing Court for permission to demolish her building at 1328-44 W. Taylor St., a judge ordered it vacated and Freeman got herself a lawyer. At first, she wasn’t sure whether William P. Wilen was really on her side. “I even rejected Bill in the beginning because I thought he was brought in by CHA,” Freeman said.