Oak Park is considering its first public-housing project. CHA, eat your heart out. It’s a do-over of a Madison Street building rented out by Comcast for many years until Comcast moved to greener pastures in DuPage County — taxes, you know, range of employees to choose from, security, etc., we presume.
That left a big empty building a block west of Oak Park Avenue, 6800–plus West, a low-hanging fruit to be picked by Catholic Charities and others on which to develop something for low-income people. It’s to be a concentration of such, hence a good old-fashioned public-housing project such as was criticized in a 1996 report:
Although scattered-site public housing has been promoted as an alternative to large projects that concentrate poverty and problems, little systematic information is available about its characteristics and performance. However, Scattered-Site Housing: Characteristics and Consequences, by James Hogan, fills this gap with an important synthesis of survey data, secondary data, and case studies, describing scattered-site as “a demonstrably better housing choice for families than concentrated high-density projects.” [Italics added]
In fact, did not that experiment die quite a while ago, in favored of scattered site public housing for low-income people, otherwise known as Section 8? Not in the minds of some advocates for low-income people, who see no problem in putting them in a building just for them.
The village plan commission has found no problem with it. The two dissenters (of eight commissioners) had a problem with parking, a tried-and-true issue that says nothing about social engineering — “the murky tenant profile,” for instance — but a lot about traffic engineering.
It will come before the village board — for not quite half of which there’s an election coming up April 5 — on May 16. Five of seven trustees have to approve overturning the Plan Commission. (Italics added) None of the five candidates running for three trustee positions say how they would vote on the matter.
This is wild. Election time, and they won’t say? Love us or leave us, they are saying, regardless of this issue.