LeClaire residents looking for answers on relocation

Residents of the LeClaire Courts housing project on the South Side hope to find out at a meeting this evening why officials want to move them out of the development.

The Chicago Housing Authority last week voted to relocate residents who are living in a portion of the development funded by housing vouchers provided under the federal Section 8 program. Officials cite maintenance problems, safety concerns and high operating costs for the move.

Part of LeClaire is also operated as a traditional public housing project. Those residents are not being relocated, though the CHA has stopped accepting applications for new residents, and has decided not to allow current LeClaire Section 8 residents to move to the so-called 'federal' portion of the development.

LeClaire Courts’ Local Advisory Council President Natalie Saffold says she has received many different justifications for closing the site. She continues to wonder why CHA is in a rush to move the residents out.

“I’m still trying to get an understanding, I’m just as confused as the rest of the residents,” she said. “These places can be gutted and fixed up. I’m still trying to put my finger on the real reason we’re being moved.”

Jadine Chou, CHA’s director of asset management, says residents will receive one-on-one relocation counseling to determine their best option for relocation. And once the CHA comes up with a plan to rehabilitate LeClaire Courts, existing residents will receive top priority if they wish to move back.

Earlier this month, the Daily News reported the CHA had voted in secret to close the whole LeClaire development.

Government watchdog groups called the move a violation of the state's open meetings law, and residents were angered that they weren't allowed to provide feedback on the closure.

Today's meeting will take place at the LeClaire Courts Field House at 5 p.m.