This past weekend Halfway Houses became a major topic of conversation as an article appeared in the Sun Times http://www.suntimes.com/9188667-417/rape-victim-what-happened-was-completely-preventable.html and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stated she would like to see more halfway houses as a lower cost alternative to incarceration of non violent offenders. She stated these facilities would be in "welcoming" communities. A conversation on Everyblock questions who are the welcoming communities an who will be the welcome committee.
The halfway house and transitional housing issue comes up every time the foreclosed housing inventory starts to rise. While the larger transitional housing providers http://www.sober.com/directory/Halfway+Houses/Illinois/Chicago-page1.html such as the Salvation Army, operate well run facilities and within the law some of the smaller individual and not for profit run facilities have caused problems in communities such as South Shore and Park Manor. Several years ago the Park Manor community got into a public debate over the radio with a transitional drug rehab house operator who had illegally converted a single family home into a multifamily dwelling. South Shore residents were upset when they found out that several multifamily buildings had been converted into transitional housing without any public input.
On the Southside, the issue comes up and is being covertly marketed by local an state government employees who are "hooking up" friends and real estate investors with problem properties. Many of these properties were illegally obtained with "straw buyers" and overinflated appraisals. These governmental employees are issuing how to primers to these individuals to ensure they can qualify as an operator.
Is transitional housing needed? The answer is YES! There is a need for domestic violence survivors, HIV/AIDS, veterans , drug rehab, and those who have been incarcerated. But where does the public's right to decide who comes into their neighborhood lie? Is the systematic "dumping" of individuals and family's with issues, such as what has been done with CHA residents, in the best interest?
Where do you stand on the issue?
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