Dear editor:

It was disappointing that public housing activists cynically tried to exploit the human misery caused by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by calling for the Chicago Housing Authority to suspend its rebuilding plans and house flood victims in units slated for demolition or dedicated to relocated CHA families [The Works, September 16]. However, the federal government has already deemed CHA high-rise units unsafe and unfit for people to live in, and the row houses are already spoken for by Chicago public housing residents. Like many other individuals and organizations throughout Chicago and the United States, the CHA responded to the national crisis brought on by the hurricane by offering aid. We made some of our vacant, and newly rehabilitated, senior units available to hurricane victims, and we have coordinated closely with the city of Chicago and the federal government to support the overall recovery effort.

Today, six years into the boldest and most ambitious community-rebuilding initiative in America, the Reader should be writing about this historic opportunity to bring an isolated and troubled segment of our society into the economic and social mainstream. Many CHA residents have started successful new lives: they have found work, their children are safer, their homes are better, and they enjoy a wider range of choice than ever before. For the first time in decades many CHA residents feel a sense of possibility. They are Chicago’s pride and Chicago’s hope, and your readers deserve to know them and hear their stories too.

Terry Peterson

Chief executive officer

Chicago Housing Authority