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HANDLING PROBLEM BUILDINGS in our community

November 1, 2010
By

 Several state and local departments came together on October 27th  to inform residents of the services and processes in place to address buildings which are believed to be the source of problems in the community.  Representatives were there to collect address information on problem buildings from residents and to provide their phone numbers for direct contact. Agencies represented included:

  • State Attorney
  • City of Chicago
  • Police Department
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • CHA Housing Choice
  • Alderman Deborah Graham
  • CAPS

 These organizations are working together in a coordinated way. We as residents must give them the information about the sources of problems. You can choose to provide information to the contact with whom you are most comfortable. You can decide to give the information to any one or all of these organizations.

 City of Chicago, Department of Buildings

(312) 743-3554           James Harney, Deputy Commissioner, City of Chicago, Troubled Buildings Bureau

James Harney drives through our neighborhood every Friday to survey the list of buildings that have been reported as a problem. He conducts a review to determine what actions might be taken by the City of Chicago, from fines to demolition.

 City of Chicago, Police Department

                        Lt. Cyndi Lance, Commanding Officer, Troubled Buildings Unit, Special Functions Group

Requirements must be met  before a building will be on the list for this department. In a six month period, there must be 2 misdemeanors or one felony arrest. When the requirements are met, the owner is contacted by one of the 13 officers assigned to each police area. The owner’s failure to respond could result in contact from the city’s law department.

City of Chicago, Corporation Counsel

                        Judith Dever, Senior Asst. Corp. Council, Building and License Enforcement

The focus is on guns, drugs and prostitution and enforcement of the Drug and Gang House Ordinance. If a connection can be made between criminal activity and an address, they can take action under the ordinance, after the Department of Buildings writes fines and files an inspection report.

 This office goes into the field every Friday. They file, in Circuit Court, fines and other actions against offenders.

 Housing Choice, CHA

(312) 913-7188           Steven Rosario, Director of Housing Choice, CHA

                                    Deonna Wheeler, Asst. Director Housing Choices

If you suspect that a recipient of a Housing Choice Voucher is causing problems, you can call Housing Choice and report the address. If they confirm that the address is one of their clients, they will begin an investigation. Their actions include instruction on “Quality of Life” and expulsion from the program.

15th District Police Department

(312) 743-1495           Sgt. Glenn White, Community Policing Sergeant

A report form is available from the police department. Suspicious activity can be provided to the police department through this method.

Alderman

(773) 261-4646           Alderman Deborah Graham, 29th Ward

The alderman stated that she prefers that you call her office first to report suspicious activity. She reported that she goes along with James Harney, Deputy Commissioner, Troubled Buildings Bureau, on his drives through the community each week. After your initial call, you must continue to call the alderman’s office to determine the status of the efforts of her office and to find out any additional steps you might need to take.

 State’s Attorney

(708) 386-7301           Kelly Navarro, Matthew Jannusch, Asst State’s Attorneys

A foreclosure mediation program was discussed. To get more information call (877) 895-2444.

 Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County

(312) 603-6366           Bonnie Clarke, Asst Chief Deputy Clerk

Your can receive assistance with the identification of information on a building.

 You must take action. We’ve been shown that if we won’t spend a few hours looking for a solution, others won’t either.

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