African-American Housing: Chicago Study Chicago Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2715 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Urban Studies

African-American Housing: Chicago Study

Chicago Housing Study

African-American Housing Disparities

Historical Chicago Housing Facts


The Gautreaux Case

Recent Studies and Their Findings

Chicago Housing Study

African-American Housing Disparities

The objective of this work is to examine the status and condition of African-Americans as compared to whites in the area of housing specifically in the city of Chicago, Illinois both historically and presently relating to access to and cost of affordable housing with statistical information included relating to the proportion and number of both groups that occupy public and privately own housing, the median/average monthly payment for housing. Finally this work will review how these facts relate to the overall lives of African-American living in the United States.

Historical Chicago Housing Facts

The work of Wendy Plotkin (1997) entitled "Deeds of Mistrust Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) and Restrictive Covenants in Chicago, 1927-1950" states that "Racial restrictive covenants were first used in the U.S. In the 1890s and adopted in Chicago in 1927. As a new instrument of discrimination aimed primarily at African-Americans, they gained the early attention of African-American and other authors inside and outside of academia, for the purpose of documenting their existence, evaluating their effectiveness, and in some instances advocating their elimination." (Plotkin, 1997)

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Plotkin relates that" The Housing of Negroes In Washington, D.C.: A Study in Human Ecology" was conducted in 1929. In one section of this study "The Covenant" by William Henry Jones notes that "In Washington, the 'covenant' seems to be the most widely employed method for keeping Negroes out of 'exclusively white' residential district." (Plotkin, 1997)


TOPIC: Term Paper on African-American Housing: Chicago Study Chicago Housing Study Assignment

Covenants were important in the agenda of the Civil Rights Organization during the depression.In a study of Chicago's black neighborhoods by Horace Cayton, a sociologist and anthropologist in the work entitled "Black Metropolis" states that the two primary barriers to progress by African-Americans was:

1) The job ceiling; and 2) The black ghetto.

Cayton holds that the job ceiling subordinates but does not segregate blacks. Restrictive covenants "confine Negroes to the Black Belt, and they limit the Black Belt to the most rundown areas of the city." Horace Cayton (1940) is cited as claiming that 80% of Chicago's land area was at that time covered by covenants, although African-American sociologist of the day contested that figure. Stated in the work of Plotkin (1997) is:

In the years from 1917 through 1921, during the unstable war and post-War years, there were fifty eight bombings associated with black movement into white areas in Chicago, with two fatalities and several injuries Other forms of harassment included actions by neighborhood associations, who organized boycotts against realtors who sold or rented to African-Americans. These associations also offered to buy properties from African-Americans in their midst, and aimed antagonistic verbal and written expressions at the African-American community, in meetings, newspapers, threatening letters, and flyers spread throughout the neighborhood. Neighborhood associations were formed and flourished to achieve a variety of purposes from the late 19th century on. Some existing associations in Chicago adopted racial restriction as a goal after an African-American threat was perceived; others were created specifically to address this threat." (Plotkin, (1997)

In the "The Standard Form, Chicago Restrictive Covenant, 1927) written by Nathan William MacChesney, it is stated that the restriction, covenants and agreement that are stated to go along with the land or as stated: "This legal instrument solely targeted African-Americans, whom it defined as any persons having "1/8 part or more negro blood" OR "having any appreciable admixture of Negro blood," OR who "is what is commonly known as a colored person." It prohibited the signers from renting, selling, or conveying for occupancy property to African-Americans, excepting only janitors, chauffeurs and house servants who lived with their employers." (Plotkin, 1997)

The Gautreaux Case

In the work of Wilen & Stasell (2000) entitled: "Gautreaux and Chicago's Public Housing Crisis: The Conflict Between Achieving Integration and Providing Decent Housing for Very Low-Income African-American" it is revealed that: "Urban neighborhood poverty is stated to have grown since the 1970s at a dramatic least 40% increase, with low-income people more than doubled in inner city neighborhoods. Nearly one in seven African-Americans compared to only one percent of non-Hispanic whites lives in a poverty neighborhood. In 1996 15 million household met the guidelines for federal housing assistance with only 4.5 million families actually receiving assistance and of those 10 million poor families that did not receive housing assistance one-half spent 50% of their income on shelter including disabled, elderly, and welfare recipients along with working families. In September 1999 the waiting list for public housing had 28,000 families on it while over 30,000 were on the Section 8 waiting list. 15,000 people are without a home in Chicago on any given night. The vacancy rate in the Chicago area is stated to be "extremely tight at 4% with rents increasing 56% more than has the consumer price index. Approximately 38% of renters in these areas are paying almost one-third of their income for housing. 30% of families that have received Section 8 vouchers in Chicago are unable to locate housing. (Wilen & Stasell, 2000) Paraphrased

Federal Housing assistance legislation, regulations and programs, which intended to improve conditions, is stated by Wilen & Stasell (2000) to have failed to implement improvement and instead made already existing problems even worse. Stated is that "while the funding cuts were devastating (after the 1994 elections the Republicans called for elimination of HUD) three substantive changes in HUD's public housing programs were even more damaging." (Wilen & Stasell, 2000)

The changes made were as follows:

Congress suspended and repealed the one-for-one replacement requirement with the result being HUD demolished 100,000 housing units;

Congress changed the Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere VI (HOPE VI) program into a program that gave as its' primary emphasis demolition; and Congress enacted the 'vouchering out' law that required public housing officials to perform two-step viability assessment for all units within their inventories. (Wilen & Stansell, 1996)

Chicago Housing Authority submitted to HUD the viability assessment pursuant to the 'vouchering out law' proposing that 11,000 of the 19,000 units in question be demolished with only 50% of the units going to house low-income families displacing 24,000 public housing resident. The Gautreaux case was filed by a group of public housing residents claiming discrimination in the Chicago Housing Authorities selection and assignment plans for tenements. Findings of the court were that CHA had "acted intentionally to maintain patterns of racial segregation in family public housing and set forth a comprehensive new plan for site selection and tenant assignment to remedy the discrimination." (Wilen & Stasell, 2000)

Thirty years following the Gautreaux judgment the majority of Chicago public housing is still segregated with (as of 1999) less than 3,000 housing units had been constructed yet the class action suit Gautraux was inclusive of over 40,000 families. The following facts must be considered

Of the 40,000 households represented in the Gautreaux case:

1,147 Units acquired by CHA between 1987 and 1999

1,822 Units built or purchased in predominately Latino neighborhoods

131 Units built in white neighborhoods.

In the work of Ranney & Wright (2000) in the work entitled: "Race, Class, and the Abuse of State Power: The Case of Public Housing in Chicago" "public housing statistics in Chicago were as follows:

Public Housing is thoroughly segregated

African-Americans comprise 85% of the residents of public housing in Chicago with the remaining 15% being 10% white and 4.9% Latinos.

93% of the family housing units are African-American families

Senior housing is 35% African-American (Ranney & White, 2000)

In the work entitled "The Perpetuation of Residential Racial Segregation in America: Historical Discrimination, Modern Forms of Exclusion, and Inclusionary Remedies" Seitles (1996) states that one outcome of the segregation practices of HUD is the "...notable isolation of minority communities..." (Seitles, 1996) It was reported by the 1991 Census Bureau that 57% of American families could not afford a home that was in the mid-range of pricing in the area they resided in. 75% of that stated number are African-Americans and Hispanics.

According to Seitles (1996) 30% of African-Americans live in neighborhoods that are 90% of more black with the other 70% of African-Americans living in predominately black neighborhoods." (Paraphrased) Poverty concentration in urban ghetto neighborhoods can be directly accredited to residential racial segregation as well as the problems which have "become exacerbated by the isolating effect of residential segregation." (Seitles, 1996)

Disadvantages exist in education, employment, run-down housing, crime, social disorder, dependency on welfare, and unwed parenthood, and this is only a partial list. Furthermore costs are imposed on all residents in the region by poverty in the ghetto with the problems of "gang life, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and school dropout leaving "minority families with a sense of powerlessness" (Seitles, 1996)

Low-income black families live in conditions with little to no security, infestation of rodents, lead-paint poisoning quite frequently, stairwells that are crumbling apart, ceilings that leak water, deficiencies in terms of structural conditions of housing and lack heat… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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