Chicago alderwoman receives decision letter for public housing 29 years later

You want to talk about red tape and bureaucracy? One Chicago alderman's story is 29-years in the making.

Ald. Jeanette Taylor applied for a CHA housing voucher back in 1993. She didn't get it back then, but was stunned when she opened her mail recently and found a response nearly three decades later.

"I just sat on the side of the bed for like an hour in shock. And I was like 'God, you got a sick sense of humor," Taylor said.

The letter from the CHA said that after 29 years, Taylor had finally made it to the top of the waiting list and could apply for a voucher for federally subsidized public housing.

Taylor became alderman of the 20th Ward in 2019.


Back in 1993, she had three young kids and was sharing a small apartment with her mother and two siblings. Her oldest child is now 32-years-old.

"So I had three kids. My sister had a kid. And we were sharing this apartment because at the time I couldn't afford to go anywhere else," Taylor said.

She posted the letter on Twitter, and it went viral.

She said she posted it to call attention to the dire need for public housing, and question the city's priorities.

"I wanted to tell people what happened. But ultimately what I started was a national conversation about housing which we are not having. We are not talking about the people who live under the expressway in one of the richest cities in the world. Chicago is not broke. We got a priority problem and poor people are not the priority," Taylor said.

In a statement, a CHA spokesman said they fully agree that more resources are needed from the federal government and that 32,000 names remain on the waiting list.

Taylor said those are all nice words, but she doesn't believe the CHA is owning up to the problem.

"Maybe that's in your handbook to say to me or say to the people of the city, but we gotta do something. We got young people who are homeless," Taylor said.