African-American Housing Chicago Study Chicago Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

" (Seitles, 1996)

Seitles claims that integration has been a success in the fight against racial prejudice and states that: "Social consequences of racial isolation intertwine with grim economic realities for minorities. Due to the lack of interaction between racial groups, African-Americans are unprepared to work and socialize in a white majority society, while conversely, whites are not relating to, working with, or living with blacks. Prospects for African-American children raised in such communities are greatly diminished because of the lack of interaction between blacks and whites. Moreover, minority possibilities for advancement consequently decline from the lower quality of education afforded to them in ghetto schools, precluding them from competing for high-income employment. Although these inequalities are not always directly caused by intentional discrimination, residential racial segregation perpetuates these inequalities. Thus, minorities who live in racially homogeneous communities are faced with disadvantages beyond the present economic and social inequalities associated with minority neighborhoods." (Seitles, 1996)

Recent Studies and Their Findings

In a study reported in 2001 by Target Market New Service confirmed that African-Americans have experienced accelerated health problems, specifically in terms of Asthma suffers in Chicago where the death rate for African-Americans in Chicago is more than double the national rates and Cook County, Illinois has one of the highest asthma mortality rates...which are accredited to "the wide variety of pollutants that cause and/or aggravate asthma come from numerous sources such as industrial waste, auto emission, building material, or energy production."

Howard University Study, 1988(Further stated is: "For generations African-Americans in Chicago like many others in the United States did not have equal access to newer suburban homes because of legal and extra legal racial discrimination in housing. Restrictive covenants, riots, bombings and redlining kept African-Americans out of newer housing in Chicago from 1915 to the early 1970s. This historical pattern of unequal access to newer homes is at the root of the current lead poisoning dilemma in Chicago's African-American communities. According to the article Lead Poisoning: Still a Common Problem in Chicago written by Northwestern University physician and professor, Helen J. Binns 59% of the homes in the city of Chicago were built before 1950. This is an important fact since lead-based paint is found in 88% of private homes built before 1940. This percent increases to 92% for homes built between 1940 and 1959 and then decreases to 76% for homes built between 1960 and 1979." (Howard University Case Study, 1988) As integration of racial divisions occur in neighborhood simultaneous opportunities are presented to minorities to attain better educations, to live in healthier environments and realize many other previously unattainable advantages. Seitles (1996) finds that: "Inclusionary housing increases chances for minorities to gain and sustain employment, in that employment is nearer to housing, decreasing travel time and transportation problems. Without such inclusionary policies, many suburban communities would continue to offer little opportunity for their low-income employees to find affordable housing. Inclusionary techniques not only provide housing for employees close to where jobs are located, but also save employees valuable time and energy, thereby reducing absenteeism and travel costs. Other benefits that have been cited include improved air quality, less traffic congestion, an increased labor market, and shorter commutes. The significant advantages of integration for minorities from economically deprived areas are meaningful, and attest to the importance of demanding fair and pragmatic inclusionary policies." The area of Chicago referred to as Garfield Park with East Garfield Park being one neighborhood and West Garfield Park being another neighborhood. r generations African-Americans in Chicago like many others in the United States did not have equal access to newer suburban homes because of legal and extra legal racial discrimination in housing. Restrictive covenants, riots, bombings and redlining kept African-Americans out of newer housing in Chicago from 1915 to the early 1970s. This historical pattern of unequal access to newer homes is at the root of the current lead poisoning dilemma in Chicago's African-American communities. According to the article Lead Poisoning: Still a Common Problem in Chicago written by Northwestern University physician and professor, Helen J. Binns 59% of the homes in the city of Chicago were built before 1950. This is an important fact since lead-based paint is found in 88% of private homes built before 1940. This percent increases to 92% for homes built between 1940 and 1959 and then decreases to 76% for homes built between 1960 and 1979." Seitles, 1996)

The area referred to by Garfield Park'd by the Historical Society of Chicago is described as "a port of entry for immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. African-Americans comprised 1/6 of the population. By 1940 15% of Garfield Park's residents were African-Americans. By the decade of the 1960s more than two-thirds of Garfield Parks residents were black and in the year 2000 African-Americans totaled 95% of residents in Garfield Park. More than half of Garfield Parks residents lived below the poverty line in 2000 with 1/3 of resident unemployed." (Harris-Lacewell, et al. 2003)

The following two tables labeled Figure 1.0 and Figure 1.1 relate the demographics in East and West Garfield Park for the years between 1960 and 2000. Stated is: "The population decline, rising black concentration, and increasing poverty levels are clear. While there is a slight improvement in poverty levels for East Garfield Park in 2000, it is still true that more than a third of families in this community lived below the poverty line. Median family income may appear to rise over the four decades, but when adjusted for inflation the median family income in this neighborhood has actually declined since 1960. Total available housing units have also declined precipitously over these years."

Figure 1.0 Vital Statistics for East Garfield Park

East Garfield Park

Population

Percent Black

Poverty Level

Total Housing Units

Median Family Income

Source: Harris-Lacewell, et al. 2003

Figure 1.1 Vital Statistics for West Garfield Park

West Garfield Park

Population

Percent Black

Poverty Level

Total Housing Units

Median Family Income

Source: Harris-Lacewell, et al. 2003

Summary & Conclusion

It is clear that the reforms in the form of legislative and regulatory acts by the City of Chicago were failures in terms of providing equal access to housing for those of the African-American race. Furthermore it is clear from studies reviewed that progress is miserably lacking and clearly nonexistent in changing the nature of housing for the poor African-American families in the neighborhoods and ghetto areas of Chicago. Implications of this study include the existing need of further study and applicable passing of laws to correct the public housing disaster in Chicago.

References

Thomas Lee Philpott, The Slum and the Ghetto: Neighborhood Deterioration and Middle Class Reform, 1880-1930 New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Appendix A, 407-410. Online available at: Plotkin (1997) http://www.public.asu.edu/~wplotkin/DeedsWeb/newberry.html

Wilen, William P. & Stasell, Wendy L. (2000) Gautreaux and Chicago's Public Housing Crisis: The Conflict Between Achieving Integration and Providing Decent Housing for Very Low-Income African-Americans Copyright 2000 by National Center on Poverty Law. All rights reserved. 34 Clearinghouse Rev. 117. http://www.povertylaw.org/legalresearch/articles/free/wilen.htm

Ranney, D. & Wright P. (2000) Race, Class, and the Abuse of State Power: The Case of Public Housing in Chicago Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement 2000 March, Publication#: V172 http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/voorheesctr/racepaper.htm

Gautreaux and Chicago's Public Housing Crisis:

The Conflict Between Achieving Integration and Providing Decent Housing…

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