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Daley to Erase CHA Leaseholder Electric Bills

By Prescott Carlson in News on Feb 17, 2008 8:01PM


Like his old man, Mayor Richard M. Daley is determined to transform public housing as part of his legacy (here's hoping it turns out better than Sr.'s effort -- several detractors don't have high hopes). His plan is creeping forever forward -- it's currently many years behind -- and the city will eventually replace CHA high rise projects like Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini-Green with mixed-income housing.

But in the meantime, those people whose residences were just demolished need somewhere to live. The answer to that? Section 8 vouchers. And while these vouchers help take care of the rent at their private homes, the displaced former public housing tenants have to take care of the gas and electric on their own. So along with previously having those bills covered for them for years, combined with rapidly rising energy costs, many are having trouble budgeting to keep the lights on.

Mayor Daley -- forever the altruist when something threatens to put a black mark on one of his pet projects -- has announced the creation of the "All Clear" program to help over 3,700 CHA Housing leaseholders rid some of their ComEd debt and get caught up.

Under the program, residents who owe $500 or less on their electric bills will have half of their bill forgiven, Daley said. They can pay the other half themselves or use any of the city's assistance programs, such as the Community and Economic Development Association's grant program or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, he said.

"Electric bills are always an issue -- not only here in Chicago but all over the country," Daley said in front of residents and officials gathered at the Trumbull Park Homes on the Far South Side. "No one should suffer this winter because they've run short of money."

Daley also used the opportunity to tout that his "transformation is working." We're sure the folks in those nice townhouses on Larrabee think so, too.

[Trib (be sure to read the comments for a real treat)]

Photo of some of the last bits of Cabrini-Green by TheeErin