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Nov. 17 2009 - 3:04 pm | 129 views | 2 recommendations | 5 comments

Where’s the bailout for the poor?

Where's our bailout?Fifty people gathered around  Lenise Forrest’s home in the Cabrini rowhouses, asking a very pertinent question: “Where’s our bailout?”

They gathered to stop Lenise from being evicted and to start a new movement – the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. They say they’re going to stop any eviction in the city that’s happening because of a person’s economic means. The rich got bailed out, they say. We will not be put out.

The sheriff was supposed to come at 9 a.m., but he never came. Word among volunteers was that the press attention had scared him off. Perhaps tomorrow. But hopefully, a settlement will be reached before then.

So, again, we’ll see. But it’s looking a little brighter than it did yesterday. And either way, Lenise is surrounded by a community that won’t let her end up out on the street.

(Correction: I received a forwarded email later on Tuesday from a sheriff spokesperson saying that they do not have plans to evict Lenise for another few weeks, and that by then, the annual moratorium on evictions over the holidays might be in place. There was some confusion about this and this information did not come out until after the blockade was over. I received terrible news around that time that a dear friend and mentor of mine had passed away, so I had not been checking email and posting as diligently as one might hope. I sincerely apologize for not printing this sooner.)


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  1. collapse expand

    1 Strike and your out in America? If not explain Lenise Forrest situation? What would be the purpose of evicting someone out of public housing if the City will eventually have to find them housing(homeless prevention programs,shelters,rental assistance, ARRA funds).
    Would a debt forgiveness program work in public housing after someone filed bankruptcy?

  2. collapse expand

    “Where’s our bailout?” What an excellent, pointed question. It gets to the heart of the matter rather nicely.

  3. collapse expand

    I was saddened when I read the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday Dec, 13 article “City cites progress in public housing overhaul” paean Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago for progress in overhauling public housing. Life was once so beautiful for me and exciting (like so many other former residents before displacement) when I received my first apartment as a freshman in college at Northeastern Illinois University as a single male parent and leaseholder in the now demolished Robert Taylor Homes on the State Street Corridor. When the overhauling of public housing first took place, I like so many other residents begin to question the Mayor’s and City of Chicago motives for it. I wondered what would happen to me and all of my other neighbors who lived there. Where would we go? Now after 10 years, while the City of Chicago were over at the ‘University of Illinois at Chicago’ for two days boasting about the progress of the overhauling with politicians, HUD Officials, Lawyers and a few handpicked residents chosen with a fine tooth comb telling their story of success and change like Crystal Palmer–which got her hand greased by the mayor being given a hush hush job working for the redevelopment company who rebuilt Abla Homes as Westhaven in –which she supposed to be the resident leader of. Yeah right, some kind of progress from the mayor. I know where alot of my neighbors went. Right here in the homeless shelter sleeping in the next bed to me. Moving from homeless shelter to homeless shelters as time run out, we are now competing for beds over carts or the floor. I was also appalled also that as a former graduate of U.I.C.s Great Cities “Urban Developer’s Program” , I was uninvited because I was going to raise the issue of 12,000 homeless children attending the Chicago Public School from shelters like mine. Being traumatized and teased at school by other students because they have no place to call home since the public housing overhaul. I would just like to thank Mayor Daley and the Chicago Housing Authority for their 10 years of progress in overhauling Chicago public housing children from a bed at home to a homeless shelter cart. This corruption has to be stopped by the people. Especially when you see the U.S. Attornet General Eric Holder having lunch with the Mayor at A Hotel instead of meeting with the public as its servant.

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    About Me

    I'm a journalist living in Chicago writing about poverty and public housing. I don't come from the streets - I grew up on a farm. But I'm passionate about urban issues and getting to know people who are completely different from me. I'm quirky, funny and friendly.

    I have this idea about journalism - that it should be approachable and less "newsy." I want my stories to make you laugh, cry and draw you in to neighborhoods and situations you don't deal with every day. I hate the broadcaster voice. I hate TV news. I hate the inverted pyramid. I love surprise. I love humor. I love people and telling their stories.

    In addition to being a journalist, I also teach dance for the Chicago Public Schools. I don't just do it for the money. I love children and love arts education. I'm also on the board of a new nonprofit dedicated to helping the underserved find jobs called Employing Hope. I write fiction, keep house, and am generally a renaissance woman.

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