* Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked about his willingness to host a thousand refugee children from Central America…
“You have a thousand kids fleeing violence in Central America. This speaks to who we are as a city in welcoming them,” he said.
“My grandfather left Moldova in Eastern Europe. His parents put him on a boat to get away from the pogroms [and] leave the violence. Thirteen-years-old by himself. Not a word of English to come to a place called Chicago. He left the violence of Eastern Europe.”
The mayor added, “These kids are leaving violence. There are 1,000 kids. We are not only a city of big shoulders. We’re a city of big hearts and we welcome them and get `em on their way. And we will also make sure that the city of Chicago has universal pre-K, universal kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, expanding summer jobs because the test and measure of this city is how we treat our children.”
Emanuel said when he met with the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. to discuss the humanitarian effort, Jackson “made a point that I had not thought of: when [then President Franklin Delano] Roosevelt turned away the St. Louis and sent the Jewish kids back to Nazi, Germany.”
The comparison with his grandfather fleeing Moldova is chillingly apt.
But the fact remains that too many of Chicago’s own kids just aren’t safe in their city.
* And this is kinda mind-boggling…
On the day a think-tank publicly released a report that says the Chicago Housing Authority has been socking away hundreds of millions of dollars instead of using it for housing for the poor, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked the agency to do more.
“Since HUD learned of the level of the reserves, it has prompted CHA to issue more vouchers,” said Brian Gillen, a spokesman in the Chicago office, in a written statement. […]
According to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability report, the CHA issued an average of 13,534 fewer Housing Choice Vouchers than it could have every year between 2008 and 2012. The vouchers pay the majority of the rent costs for apartments and houses for poor residents in the private market.
By not issuing the federally funding vouchers, the agency saved an average of $90 million every year over a nine year period. The CHA spent some of the federal dollars on other-housing related expenses, debts and obligations, but what was left over was put into reserves, which by 2012 totaled $432 million, the center’s report says.
How about using some of that money to “resettle” some Chicago kids into safer areas?