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Budget Watchdog: CHA Hoarded Money For Housing Vouchers


CHICAGO (CBS) -- A new report has found the Chicago Housing Authority socked away hundreds millions of dollars in reserves, while thousands of people have waited for housing subsidies.

WBBM Newsradio's Nancy Harty reports the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability found the CHA issued -- on average -- 13,534 fewer housing vouchers than the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development paid for each year between 2008 and 2012.

"This is not because of lack of demand, but rather because of reallocation of funds," said CTBA analyst Bobby Otter. "By not spending the federal revenue received for housing voucher programs, the CHA built up a total of $432 million in available reserves in Fiscal Year 2012."

The Chicago Housing Initiative, a public housing advocacy group, said that money could have been spent helping low-income families pay their rent.

Lori Williams, a former resident of the Harold Ickes Homes, said the CHA promised to replace all of the housing that was torn town in 2000, but has yet to do so.

"The report shows that CHA has the means to rebuild communities; rejoin thousands of neighbors, former families, and friends; but they don't have the will to do so," she said.

The initiative was pushing for the City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to increase oversight of the CHA.

A spokesman for the agency did not return WBBM's calls for comment.

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