Grim Proving Ground for President Obama’s Housing Policy


Inquiring minds are taking in the ruinous effect President Obama’s housing policy is having on his former senatorial district:

The candidate endorsed subsidies for private entrepreneurs to build low-income units. But, while he garnered support from developers, many projects in his former district have fallen into disrepair.

The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can’t afford to live anywhere else.

But it’s not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale – a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc has become a symbol for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing – an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing.

It is quite a lengthy article but, again, well worth the time to find out what is happening with President Obama’s housing policy in his oldest laboratory. There is also a great video at the URL.

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