BRONZEVILLE—Kesha Gooden, a single mom of six, said she wants a better life for her children and moving to the South Side would provide such a life.
"I do not let my kids go outside because they be doing a lot of shooting where I am at. I don't want to be one of these moms on TV crying because her child got caught in gunfire by gangs," said Gooden, a 36-year-old homemaker, who lives in the Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. "I don't know anyone on the South Side but have heard a lot of good things about it. And besides, it can't be any worse than where I live now."
Gooden was among hundreds of people who showed up Friday to apply for one of 69 units available at Lake Parc Place, a public housing apartment building at 3984 S. Lake Park Ave.
Applications are being accepted at the building Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 30. And this fall 70 more units, currently being renovated, will also be available.
The waiting list to move into the building, which is privately managed but owned by the Chicago Housing Authority, is unique because it is income-based, favoring applicants whose income is between 51 to 80 percent of the area media income, said Stacey Lucas Fields, director of administration for asset management for the CHA. The agency also has a separate waiting list for applicants seeking subsidized housing assistance.
"This is the first time CHA has ever opened an income-based wait list," said Fields. "The current public housing wait list is depleted for applicants in that income bracket, which is why CHA is opening this income-based wait list."
Family size is also factored into an applicant's household income. So for a single person living alone, their annual income must be at least $25,800 to qualify, according to CHA data.
Tiffany Oden, 21, lives in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on the South Side and said she has the required income from working two jobs.
"I live with my sister but I need my own place. I work full-time as a certified nurse assistant, and I work part-time as a store clerk (in Chatham)," Oden said. "I don't have a husband or any kids either. Hopefully that will work in my favor when they review my application."
One-, two- and three-bedroom units are available from $570 to $895 per month. Amenities at the high-rise building include ADA accessible units; an on-site doorman; 24-hour maintenance; community center; computer lab; laundry facilities; and a private park with basketball courts, a playground and water sprinkler.
Living in Englewood with her two kids and mother is no easy task, contends Taneisha Duncan, 30.
"This is not the first stop for me. If I do not get accepted I have applications elsewhere. My kids need a better environment to grow up in," added Duncan, who has a 5-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, and lives with her mother. "I love my mom and will miss her but I got to go!"
And like Gooden, William Deramus, 36, is also hoping to relocate from the Garfield Park neighborhood.
"I live alone, I don't work but I have an income. I receive Social Security (survival benefits) due to both my parents being dead," explained Deramus. "I have a few relatives on the South Side and it seems cool over here. Where I live, I see bums every day begging on the street and I am tired of that. I need a fresh start and this move might be it."