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Should public housing residents be drug tested?

Lake Parc Place

One of the towers of Lake Parc Place

I had met Shirley Newsome a couple of times before she got up and spoke at the public comment hearing Tuesday evening.

It wasn't a surprise to me that she was there.

Shirley Newsome is the definition of being involved in her community, and the hearing allowed people to comment on a new plan for selecting residents at Lake Parc Place - two public housing towers right of the lake shore at Oakwood Boulevard.

This new plan would require residents to pass a drug test in order to live there.

Newsome is an extremely well put together woman who lives in North Kenwood-Oakland. She's on about every committee and in every organization she could be: North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council, Quad Communities Development Organization, Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee, South East Chicago Commission, three public housing working groups and the list goes on.

If there's something going on in her community, most likely Newsome knows about it, is part of it, or has something to say about it.

Here's Shirley speaking Tuesday night:

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1 Comment

testa said:

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What do you suggest Megan? You've outlined the problem well, but what's the better solution? You can wish there'd be no crime and wish that drugs weren't a problem, but apparently if you try to take a significant incremental step to address the issue, you're not thinking expansively.

If, like Shirley, who's lived her life dealing with the very expansive and profound impact of drug addicts their suppliers, I think you'd have a different view.

Also, the testing isn't required in order to receive the government benefit. There are lots of places that public housing residents can live and not be tested. The requirement is specific to a limited number of developments. Why don't you think that residents that don't use drugs should be allowed to live in drug-free buildings?

Talk to people (of all incomes, not just public housing) that live in Oakwood Shores and Northtown Village. The majority are very pleased to know that their neighbors are being tested.

BTW, reviewing crime stats for an 8-block area is a lousy way to analyze the impact that two buildings are having on their neighbors across the street and next door.

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