Homeless Chicago residents gathered with advocates from the Chicago Housing Initiative and other local organizations Tuesday at the CHA headquarters to question why thousands of apartments managed by the nonprofit public housing group aren’t being occupied. The CHA currently operates 20,000 properties that serve about 57,000 families, but about 3,400 units remain unoccupied. CHA’s wait list was almost 60,000 families as of March.
Housing Authority officials say these units are currently uninhabitable, or “offline,” for various reasons, such as capital maintenance, ADA modifications or redevelopment. The updates are part of the CHA’s Plan for Transformation, a 13-year-old initiative to rehabilitate the group’s stock of public housing. Charles Woodyard, CEO of the CHA, addressed the need for affordable housing in Chicago in a statement Tuesday but said necessary maintenance is preventing some of the units from housing tenants. “In order to continue to provide quality housing for thousands of low-income families, it is imperative that key maintenance issues are addressed on a continual basis,” Woodyard said. “This capital investment will ensure the viability of the properties for many years to come.”