- Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media
- By 2011, wrecking crews had gone to work on the last high-rise at Cabrini-Green
Chicago Housing Authority chairman Vince Lane really felt he was getting somewhere the summer before Dantrell Davis was killed in October 1992.
He cochaired a national commission looking at “severely distressed” public housing, and in August it issued a report, backed by U.S. housing secretary Jack Kemp, that recommended significant new funding for rehab work. But not merely to patch up the crumbling old public housing towers around the country—the idea was to thoroughly redevelop public housing communities so they included residents who worked and paid the market rate for their homes. At the same time, the policy would make it easier for housing agencies to help poor tenants move into private-market apartments. In other words, the goal was to break up the extreme racial and economic segregation that had developed in public housing. The program was called HOPE VI.
“That’s when this whole concept of mixed-income housing was signed off on,” Lane says. “The purpose of it was to tear down the high-rise public housing.”