Friday, May 27, 2011

Drug Testing for CHA Residents

I really despise the ACLU. I think at one point in time they did good things and helped a lot of people. Now, however, it seems like every time an ACLU spokesperson is quoted or a lawsuit is filed on the ACLU’s behalf, it’s over something that makes no logical sense.  Everything is a "civil liberty" these days.

For example, in today’s Sun Times, there is an article discussing the following:
The Chicago Housing Authority wants to require all adults who currently live in, or apply in the future for housing in any of its developments, to be tested for drugs — including senior citizens.
What is wrong with this? Let’s recall that most of the projects in Chicago were just torn down due to years of dangerous conditions, drugs, and crime that obliterated any good standard of living for the people who lived there. Those have been replaced with mixed income housing in some areas, as well as other new low income housing. Apparently some of the new mixed income housing already requires drug testing. The people who live in this brand new CHA housing (as well as other older CHA housing) are living there at a huge discount, if not for free. And if you aren’t doing drugs, you have nothing to hide, right?

But oh, their civil liberties might be infringed upon! I guess that means their liberty to do illegal drugs while the government pays their rent.  Where is that in the Constitution? 
The American Civil Liberties Union charges the public agency seeks to place a double standard on the poor.

“From our perspective, drug testing without suspicion is humiliating. It’s stigmatizing. There’s a double standard here,” he said. “All across our city and our country, when most of us who are in whatever income bracket rent housing, we don’t have to take a drug test. This is an emerging one standard for poor people and another standard for everyone else.”
Here’s the deal, Mr. ACLU: if someone else -- especially the government -- is paying your rent, you shouldn’t be held to the same standard as someone paying their own rent.  You should be expected to, at minimum, follow the law.

And of course the residents disagree:

“It’s such an insensitive proposal to even bring to the table,” said Myra King, a resident of the Far South Side Lowden Homes development. She chairs the Central Advisory Council of tenant leaders from CHA properties all across the city.
“Singling us out for this type of humiliation is a slap in the face of what this whole ‘Plan for Transformation’ supposedly is about,” King said. “CHA says they’re doing this plan to make us privvy [sic] to the same standards as any other citizen in any other community. If that’s true, why are we the only citizens to be drug tested?”
Oh, it's so insensitive.  Maybe if we didn't coddle people so much and worry about their feelings there wouldn't be people who live in CHA housing for their entire lives.  Remember back in the day when it was humiliating to be dependent on the government?  Remember when people were embarrassed to use food stamps and leech of others in society?  Maybe some of our government spending problems could be taken care of if we went back to those days, and cared less if we were hurting someone's feelings.  I'm so sick of hearing about "loss of dignity" and all that crap.  Maybe you can create your own sense of dignity by supporting yourselves.  Lots of jobs require random drug testing, why shouldn't housing?  You are the only citizens for housing being drug tested because you are the citizens who expect the government to pay your rent. If the government wants to pay part of my mortgage, I will happily take a drug test. I’ll take one every week! Unfortunately, the government will not pay my mortgage for me.
The measure is among several changes to the lease and CHA’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy proposed by CEO Lewis Jordan. Under the policy, a positive drug test would subject leaseholders to eviction proceedings.
Why should people be allowed to continue to suck money out of the government for rent, when they are out spending the money they do have on drugs? There is a massive waiting list for CHA housing right now, so big that only every few years or so they open it up to add new people. I have no problem helping people out when they need help, but if they take advantage of the system, that’s when I have a problem. Let’s allow some of the other people on the list who need help to have their chance by evicting the people who are abusing the system.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more. If you have a job and can afford rent & food, by all means, go & buy & use drugs. I couldn't care less. But if taxpayers are providing you with housing or food, then you shouldn't HAVE the money to buy drugs.

  2. I agree 100%!!!! I'm all for helping people that need it...but stop whining over a drug test. I've been through worse staying in Marine Corps Barracks.

  3. First, check your facts. CHA residents who live in mixed income developments "pay rent". We do not live rent free. Second, the whole plan for transformation was to raise the standard and expectation of living for former housing project residents. If the city continues to believe and suspect residents of criminal activity and low living standards, how are the residents supposed to be encouraged to live/be better. I completely agree that while living under the assistance of the government conditional rules and regulations should be in place. But when you say that the probability of me being a drug user or criminal is to be expected that is wrong. I am not a group, I am an individual! Low imcome DOES NOT mean, low intelligence, low expectations or that my rights as a citizen can be abused overlooked and swept aside!

  4. XENIA,

    I have no doubt that there are some good people living in public housing that need and appreciate the help. Those people have nothing to worry about. Don't those people want drug users out of their communities? I know I would. I also have no doubt that there are people who are drug users who are getting help from taxpayers on their rent. So what if they pay some rent? The taxpayers are picking up the rest. As I said, I would gladly take a drug test if the government would pick up part of my mortgage. Why? Because I have nothing to worry about because I'm not a drug user.

    All I know is that public housing like Cabrini, Robert Taylor, and the others here in Chicago got very dangerous and the living conditions were horrible. Isn't that at least in part due to drugs? Wouldn't it be a better community for all if that was eliminated? I know people who have lived in the new mixed income housing here, and they couldn't wait to get out due to differences in living standards. Isn't there a reason those places aren't selling out the market priced units? Wouldn't it be better if they did sell all the market priced units?

    I also never said that low income meant low intelligence or low expectations, so I don't know where that came from. And your rights as a citizen? I had to get drug tested years ago when I worked at Honda. A lot of jobs require drug testing. There's nothing in the Constitution that you have a "right" to get public assistance and expect to not have conditions attached to it. You at least seem to acknowledge that. I just don't understand why you would oppose this if you don't do drugs.