A 50-year Chicago housing discrimination case settled

Published 01-24-2019

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CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday approved a settlement between the Chicago Housing Authority and a public interest law group that will lead to the end of more than 50 years of federal oversight of public housing in the city.

The settlement concedes the housing authority has implemented programs to remedy past discrimination and has plans to build or acquire housing in mixed-income neighborhoods to assure access, diversity and opportunity.

However, the agreement provides a detailed timeline for the CHA to complete all planned mixed-income units and strengthen its housing voucher program to better enable families to move to more affluent areas, if they so choose.

Dorothy Gautreaux filed a federal lawsuit in 1966 accusing the CHA of violating the civil rights of tenants through a policy of segregation and racial discrimination. The court agreed and prohibited the CHA from doing further building in poorer, minority neighborhoods and ordered it to create housing in mixed-income and mixed-race areas.

The settlement allows the case to end by July 2024.

"The journey toward progress has been long, and it is one Chicago could only make by working together with strong partners like BPI," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "This decision marks a seminal moment in Chicago's history."

At the time the case went to court, the city of Chicago was committed to building large public housing complexes in an effort to remove substandard housing. However, the complexes were confined to largely black and poor neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

The issue came to a head in 1966, when Dr. Martin Luther King rented a West Side apartment and led a series of fair housing marches. Gautreaux and other CHA residents alleged in their lawsuit that the housing authority deliberately chose public housing sites in ghettos to keep black families out of white neighborhoods.

In 1969, U.S. District Judge Richard Austin ordered the CHA to provide low-density, low-rise public housing on scattered sites in both white and black city neighborhoods.

"All of Chicago should be proud of the progress made, as all have been willing partners in ending decades of segregation," said Authority CEO Eugene E. Jones.

According to Jones, the CHA owns and provides affordable housing in 76 of the city's 77 communities, whi

At the time the case went to court, the city of Chicago was committed to building large public housing complexes in an effort to remove substandard housing. However, the complexes were confined to largely black and poor neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

The issue came to a head in 1966, when Dr. Martin Luther King rented a West Side apartment and led a series of fair housing marches. Gautreaux and other CHA residents alleged in their lawsuit that the housing authority deliberately chose public housing sites in ghettos to keep black families out of white neighborhoods.

In 1969, U.S. District Judge Richard Austin ordered the CHA to provide low-density, low-rise public housing on scattered sites in both white and black city neighborhoods.

"All of Chicago should be proud of the progress made, as all have been willing partners in ending decades of segregation," said Authority CEO Eugene E. Jones.

According to Jones, the CHA owns and provides affordable housing in 76 of the city's 77 communities, while more than 48,000 voucher holders are now renting in all 77.

In 1969, U.S. District Judge Richard Austin ordered the CHA to provide low-density, low-rise public housing on scattered sites in both white and black city neighborhoods.

"All of Chicago should be proud of the progress made, as all have been willing partners in ending decades of segregation," said Authority CEO Eugene E. Jones.

According to Jones, the CHA owns and provides affordable housing in 76 of the city's 77 communities, while more than 48,000 voucher holders are now renting in all 77.

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