Poor Families Use ‘Supervouchers’ to Rent in City’s Priciest Buildings
The high-rise at 500 N. Lake Shore Drive is the second-most expensive in the city, with rents for a one-bedroom apartment approaching $3,000 a month, well beyond the reach of most Chicago residents.
But that’s not too much for the Chicago Housing Authority, which has used federal tax dollars to pick up most of the tab for four lucky residents in the year-old building, with its sweeping views of Lake Michigan, a concierge and a dog-grooming center.
The tenants moved in over the past two years as part of a push by the CHA to expand its housing voucher program so that more low-income residents can leave the city’s roughest neighborhoods and start a new life in places with low poverty and crime and close to good schools and jobs.
Yet some landlords say it’s a mistake to use scarce tax dollars to pay ultra-high rents for a fortunate few when more than 15,000 people sit on the CHA’s voucher waiting list.
“This is nuts,” says landlord Tony Rossi, president of Chicago-based RMK Management Corp., who describes himself as a liberal Democrat. “In a situation where you’re dealing with a low-income person, do they really need a 25th-floor apartment with a lake view? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”