Thursday, September 29, 2011

City Rental Subsidies Going To Troubled Buildings Still A Problem

By Micah Maidenberg, Chicago Muckrakers

Last September, The Chicago Reporter's Angela Caputo wrote about Chicago's ineffective attempts to keep building owners who let their properties deteriorate from using taxpayer funds.

Residential property owners city lawyers hauled into court for rat infestations, broken plumbing, rickety porches and other code violations nonetheless retained access to public subsidies, Caputo found.

It's still a problem, a number of aldermen said this morning in City Hall, when a version of this issue emerged during a city council's Committee on Housing and Real Estate meeting.

Alderman James Cappleman, who represents the 46th Ward, said his community struggles with a number of building owners who manage their properties "very, very poorly" but still are helped by the city's Low Income Housing Trust Fund.

The trust fund operates three programs meant to keep rents affordable for some of the poorest residents of Chicago, those whose household earnings total no more than 30 percent of the area median, and even less than that in some cases.

The trust's rental subsidy "reduces rents on a specified number of units approved by the Trust Fund Board of Directors in the building or development to a level that is affordable for very low-income individuals and families," according to the city's description. There's a mortgage loan-forgiveness effort and dollars for supportive housing programs.

Cappleman said there were 13 troubled buildings in his ward, and that "four or five" of them were getting rental subsidy from the trust fund.

"There's a lot of drug traffic inside those buildings. And it's caused a lot of concern for the residents living there and also for the residents in the surrounding community," he said. "There are some buildings with multiple, multiple numbers of code violations, and getting them to respond in a manner that's quick and efficient is next to impossible."

Property owners seeking to qualify for trust fund dollars should be able to demonstrate a record of solid management practices, he went on to say. "I don't see that in place," he said.

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  1. How nice. Dobmeyer wants to pass the buck to the police, and Suarez (I think it was Suarez) is concerned about "unintended consequeneces" of forcing people out with no place to live. ENOUGH. SOMEONE has to take responsibility for the disasters these people perpetuate. It's simple, Dobmeyer: condition the money "you" dole out to cut off eligibility if a building has more than 6 police dispatches per month to the building address over 3 months, and their management fails to take corrective action by implementing appropriate security measures or evicting problem tenents. And Suarez, it's simple: we want the gangs, drug dealers, and other criminal elements OUT, and we don't care if they have no place else to go...if you're concerned about that, you're welcome to invite those people to live in YOUR ward.

  2. Put a conditions on living in subsidized housing.

    1) Your children must be going to school and attaining at minimum a C average. Truancy will not be tolerated. You will be sent to parenting classes if your kid regularly skips school. The only way you will stop the cycle is to up the abimsmal high school graduation rate in Chicago.

    2) If you are not on disability or retired, you must show you are at least applying for 3 jobs per week or in a jobs training program or in class to attain a degree.

    3) Your relatives, that have been convicted of a felony in the last 3 years cannot live there with you.

    4) If your subsidy does not cover your rent, and you are late paying your rent, you're out. Just like anyone else.

    5) If you or your familiy destroys the landlord's property, you're out.

    6) If your behavior or your family's behavior is a nuisence to your neighbors or your neighborhood, you're out.

    Part of the problem with the old CHA buildings is they NEVER evicted anybody. And once people realized they could NEVER be thrown out on the street, we had chaos.

    I want to support people who are in need, but frankly I'm tired of supporting people in subsidized housing who do nothing to improve their lives or improve their community or take care of their children.

    As for the landlords, if you don't keep your property up, throw the book at them. These landlords are being paid market rent from these rental properties in subsidy programs. If they cannot manage their property with proper upkeep, they shouldn't be in the rental business. Make these landlords open their books and show why they cannot afford to make the needed repairs to their properties.

  3. Toto,

    Why would you NOT be in the business? It is a great deal. The taxpayers pay you a BUNCH of money to keep affordable housing with no market risk. I want in.

  4. Ok so what this is about is low income in regular apartment buildings? I'm wondering if there's a way to find out which buildings are part of this?

  5. Speaking of "regular" buildings and slacker landlords....

    I wonder what the result of more thorough inspection there could have been for that young woman who fell to her death on that rickety ladder. Lots O rate flagrant violations galore. I can see 'em from the curb.

    Remember the incident on was very recent and tragic?

    I'm not inclined to comment on this thinly written amateur article.

    How many Alderman are a "number of, was it 2, 5, 10 or 20? ..." It matters.

    What is up with that picture? It looks like a close-up of a modern art piece, no attribution or context...what is it and why is it included?

    A code violation is a specific thing, people can handle details, was this written by a high school student...if so....fine.

  6. We have a single home in which the owner was forcibly evicted by Premier Bank of Wilmette on a year old order of eviction (which is not legal) and the house is boarded up and the weeds, trash and filth are mounting up everyday. I even mowed the "Banks" lawn.

    It seems banks can do whatever they want. I spoke to Chris at Cappleman's office and he has been in touch with the Bank. Recently they painted the boarded areas. It still looks like shit. Earlier they tore down a 100 year old house, that didn't need to be torn down. So now Winthrop, just south of Lawrence has about 5 empty lots and one boarded up house.

    You can't let these little things go on, the deterioration and blight of a block without taking immediate and strong measures to correct them, not in this economy.

    I hope Cappleman's office see's to it that the bank takes the boards down entirely as they promised to do, but instead just painted the boards.

    More people are going to be evicted by the Banks who control all aspects, (economic and political) in this country. That's why there is a Wall Street Protest going on that's going to be the talk of the nation.

    The Banks are destroying communities. It's not the politicians, they are the heat shield for the banks.

    Your seeing it happen right in front of your eyes.

    Banks, the financial industry are destoying communities, they have privatized the government. the government no longer exists, except as a shell of what it once was.

    Premier Bank of Wilmette has been called a bank that engages in unsafe and unsound business practices and is expected to fail soon. It has about the worst record of any bank in Illinois in terms of financing.

    But the banks run this nation and even my block.

  7. Hey stu piddy that stretch of winthrop is looking better. I used to pickup trash there and I drove by yesterday on leland and it looked good.

    Dont know if you live on that stretch but I share your frustration. That is a troubled block, but I think it has great potential, you can tell that the landlords there are not the best.

    There will be a resurgence eventually. Sometimes a vacant lot is better than a house filled with squatters. But I agree that its too bad that the house wasnt an opportunity for someone to fix up.

  8. Stu, the banks didn't tear down that old house. The owners did. That's their right. We may not like it, but they bought it, they can do what they want with it, as long as it's legal. I know you love the conspiracy theories, but we are a capitalist society. The bank owns the mortgage on a house, and if they don't get paid, they can do whatever they want, within the law, with the house. That's how it works.

  9. TSN, does that include using a herbicide that killed absolutely everything on the lot?

    I have no proof, but I sure would be interested to know if a.) those owners had a permit to spray herbicide in such a large way and so close to a day care and 2.) exactly what the herbicide was and if it was legal.... legitimate questions from the neighbors...

    ,,,and speaking of Winthrop and Lawrence.. exactly how much time does the owner of the parking lot their get to redo the lot? It has been months since they agreed to upgrade in lieu of the fact that they were friends of Helens and never got proper licensing...

  10. Truman Square neighbor:

    I understand the "owners" tore down the house...for no intelligent reason.

    This isn't a capitalist society. It's a society run by banks and the financial industry (gambliers).

    I guess you have noticed. There is NO COMPETITION.
    amongst the capitalists any more comparatively speaking. So there is no trickle down freedom.

    People are losing theirs based on Bank Ownership of the government. Banks take your money and then gamble it away in the form of CDO's and then ask you to pay in the form of bailouts for their sometimes intentionally bad gamble which is profitable when (some elements in the bank) they bet against themselves...then you say "it's a capitalist society".

    Winthrop is NOT Looking better. it's looking worse and worse south of Lawrence.

  11. @Stu - You and I are on completely different wavelengths, starting with your comment several years ago that kids seeing public sex as they walk to school is good for them. So we'll have to differ on whether this is a capitalist society or whether homeowners have the right to do what they want on their property, including tearing down their own homes, even if they have reasons that are not known to you. We have no common ground, sir.

    @USH! I'm not a legal expert on herbicide use. If I were as curious as you are, my first step would be to contact Apna Ghar and ask them about the spray that you think they used on their property, and if I didn't get satisfaction there, I would speak to an environmental group and ask Christopher House if any of their children have suffered ill effects from possible insecticide use down the block.

    It's a slippery slope. I certainly don't want neighbors having a say in how I live in and maintain my property. If one is prepared to ask those questions and investigate how a neighbor treats his or her property, one must also be prepared to have people with no financial stake in one's own property to be equally entitled to one's records and maintenance routine.

    That's somewhere I'd rather not go. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  12. @ Stew.

    I just love it when ignorant people post t-shirt quality rants.

    "The Banks are destroying communities. It's not the politicians, they are the heat shield for the banks"

    **As if Uptown was so great before the building bubble? Who do you think sold them those houses they couldn't afford, perhaps people like you? Dont blame the banks Stew, in the world I live in, if you tell someone you want to kill yourself, people will line up to sell you a gun.

    ""Banks, the financial industry are destoying communities"

    **Thanks for saying that twice, I'm sorry I didnt understand it when you said it in the paragraph before.

    Dude, *YOU* and *I* are the banks, they are not a mystery. If you have bank stock, sell it, if you have a bank credit card, close it, if you have a checking or savings account, cash your cheeck at the currency exchange at 10% fees, pay off your mortgage and student loan immediatly. Cut up all your other gas and department store cards, close your IRA, 401(k) and show them who's boss, yeah, tough guy!

    Oh wait, the same bank that issues the Home Depot, Macys, Mobile, Lowes, Sears (et al) is B of A, so make sure to cut those up first.

    Remember Stew, nobody held a gun to those home-buyers heads, if you should be angry at anyone, track down the dolts who bought it in the first place. Duh

    "But the banks run this nation and even my block."

    I'd be more than willing to let Wells Fargo run Uptown, at least they kick people out.

  13. Why is winthrop south of lawrence looking worse? I was talking about trash, I guess I should look again, it was just a quick glance.

    Personally I am in favor of higher density properties that close to public transportation. Its amazing that single family houses even exist in that part of the city.

    Hopefully decent cool housing goes up in the house's stead.

  14. I hear they are going to do some work on the parking lot at Winthrop and Lawrence soon. Replace that twisted wreck of a fence. TSN probably knows more bout that.

    I am building a 10 story low-income artists colony/tower on that empty lot.

    Didn't anybody read the notice?

  15. Littleton
    "I am building a 10 story low-income artists colony/tower on that empty lot. "

    What is this supposed to mean?

  16. Uptown, Circus...

    I guess you guys don't understand what has happened due to the so called mortgage crisis which began when banks acting as lenders and speculatiors, lent money to people, knowing the people who they lent the money to would not be able to repay and then bet that the loans would not be repaid and in this way were able to become a source of quick, but not lasting income.

    Now that's it simply put.

    I don't think there is any dispute about this, except perhaps by you and apparently you don't know how this occurred. It takes some time to ingest, because you have to think it through...but it's clearly accepted.

    The phony question is...whose to blame...the lenders or the borrowers. The borrowers are not to blame. They were made an offer by the banks that was ludicrous. They were offered money to buy a home at low interest when they had no credit. So, in other words they were offered free money. Why would a bank do that? You will have to look it up, there were commissions involved and there are other reasons.

    Banks acted as lenders and speculators doing so since the Glass-Steagall act was nullified.

    This is common knowledge and the reason why there are protestors at Wall Street.

    Wall Street and the banks created the world wide depression we are experiencing which is just beginning and currently called a "recession" in recovery.

    I never said anything such thing about public sex acts.

    Why does that excite you?