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New Jobs Website Created For Low-Income Residents Only

By Wendell Hutson | April 18, 2014 6:52am
 The Chicago Housing Authority launched a new website April 14, 2014, that provides job postings for low-income Chicago area residents.
Chicago Housing Authority Website
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CHICAGO — The Chicago Housing Authority launched a new website this week to help low-income residents, such as public housing tenants and Housing Choice Vouchers holders, find jobs.

Also eligible to use the site are non-CHA tenants or voucher holders whose household income falls within the federal government's low-income income guidelines. Jobs posted will be positions with the CHA and its contractors.

Wendell Hutson joins DNAinfo Radio to discuss the CHA's job posting website:

Ronnie Page, a 57-year-old CHA tenant, was not impressed with the number of job postings on the site.

"I was disappointed when I went to the site because it did not have a lot of job leads. I went ahead and registered on the site anyway, but I sure hope more jobs are posted soon," said Page, who used to work as a doorman at a Downtown condo building and lives in the Lake Parc Building in Bronzeville. "I did not have the qualifications to apply for the one job I saw posted."

The government mandates that 30 percent of all new hires by CHA contractors are low-income individuals it refers to as "Section 3" applicants. If a contractor is unable to fill a position with a Section 3 applicant, CHA officials said it would help the employer find candidates.

The job posting Page was referring to was for a $14-per-hour draftsman administrator with Harley Ellis Devereaux, a Chicago architect firm. CHA officials said more job postings would be going up soon.

"Just this week 70 additional job postings were entered by contractors, and those postings will be available very shortly," said Jessica Mallon, a fair housing compliance manager for the CHA. "More postings are not up yet because we had train contractors first on the system."

The goal, Mallon said, is to assist applicants with their job search, "which would enable them to be more self-sufficient."

She added that the site would also allow the CHA to better track who's working and to help cut down on fraud.

Monique Banks, 27, a junior at Northeastern Illinois University pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting, reviewed the site Thursday for internships.

"I think it is great that the CHA created this website because it gives residents a leg up on the competition," said Banks, an Altgeld Gardens tenant. "But if residents do not take the initiative to apply then it won't do any good."

Mallon said 300 people had registered on the site as of Thursday. The site stores resumes and sends email notifications when new jobs are added. Applicants must create a profile by using an email address. Those without an email address can receive assistance at one of the CHA's seven computer labs, Mallon said.

The CHA also offers free job readiness classes but Mallon said tenants are not required to have completed them to receive job placement help.

As of Thursday, Desiree Lindsey, a public housing tenant, said she had not visited the website but plans to do so after updating her resume.

"I like working with children, so I hope there will be jobs on the site for schools," Lindsey said. "I also like restaurants jobs because I like to cook and plan to open my own restaurant one day."