CHA should restore security funding
05/20/2009 10:00 PM
Itís disturbing that as Westhaven Park Tower approaches its three-year anniversary, residents and condo owners still appear to be talking past one another. Condo owners say housing authority leaseholders living in the building and their guests cause a disproportionate amount of problems, and are costing them money they canít afford and donít want to pay. Resident feel attacked and resentful, and want face-to-face discussion about the problems.
Thatís a point we agree with and recommend. A first step to resolving the issues at Westhaven Park Tower would be simple: meet up.
Itís perplexing that the condominium owners and public housing residents who live in the structure donít have some sort of formal, monthly meeting to discuss challenges. In other condo buildings, it would be inconceivable to have factions of residents organized in separate building governance structures. Itís a situation that almost guarantees things wonít improve.
But the Chicago Housing Authority needs to step up to the plate as well.
For starters, CHA must demonstrate its commitment to the building by restoring the $15,000 stipend the association has been using to pay for building security.
The moneyís a drop in the bucket given the kind of contracts the agency pays out. Or perhaps one of the philanthropies so invested in CHAís Plan for Transformation could pay for the service (theyíve supported this massive Plan, which brought down high-rise towers across the city. They philanthropies have boosted CHAís marketing and P.R. budgets. They could afford this).
We even think 24-year service is probably appropriate. But only if itís clear the guard is there to serve everyone ó not merely condo owners. And only if everyone in the building starts meeting up.
In the broader view, CHA should pay close attention to whatís happening at Westhaven Park Tower.
The building, part of the redevelopment of the Henry Horner Homes, is a microcosm of what could await the agency if (and itís a big if, given the economy and how badly some of the developers perform during first-phase construction in former public housing areas) middle-income people starting renting and buying into these so-called Plan for Transformation communities again: bickering.