* The setup…
The Chicago Housing Authority wants to require all adults who currently live in, or apply in the future for housing in any of its developments, to be tested for drugs — including senior citizens.
The blanket policy proposal for anyone 18 years or older has residents and housing advocates crying foul.
The American Civil Liberties Union charges the public agency seeks to place a double standard on the poor. […]
Agency officials argue they need more tools to fight crime, particularly the drug scourge, in CHA developments.
* The Sun-Times editorialized in favor of the plan…
On this thorny issue, which raises the hackles of civil libertarians and public housing advocates, we are siding with what we believe is the silent majority of CHA residents.
We think they want drug testing.
Not to punish poor people for living in public housing. And not to stigmatize anyone, though we appreciate that is a real risk.
We’re tentatively backing drug testing because it can potentially make newly revamped CHA developments safer and set a tone that illegal activity is simply not tolerated.
Because God knows that wasn’t the case with the old public housing projects. Over the last decade, the CHA has torn down its projects, displaced thousands of residents and begun to rebuild. The last thing it wants is to recreate the high-rise ghettos it once had.
Mandatory drug testing could be one small part of a larger effort to make sure that doesn’t happen.
* The Question: Do you support mandatory drug tests for everyone 18 years and older as a prerequisite for admittance to public housing? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments.