cover of book

The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago
by Devereux Bowly, Jr.
Southern Illinois University Press, 2012
Paper: 978-0-8093-3052-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-0831-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-9068-7
Library of Congress Classification HD7304.C4B68 2012
Dewey Decimal Classification 363.5820977311


Chicago seems an ideal environment for public housing because of the city’s relatively young age among major cities and well-deserved reputation for technology, innovation, and architecture. Yet The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago shows that the city’s experience on the whole has been a negative one, raising serious questions about the nature of subsidized housing and whether we should have it and, if so, in what form.

Bowly, a native of the city, provides a detailed examination of subsidized housing in the nation’s third-largest city. Now in its second edition, The Poorhouse looks at the history of public housing and subsidized  housing in Chicago from 1895 to the present day. Five new chapters that cover the decline and federal takeover of the Chicago Housing Authority, and its more recent “transformation,” which involved the  demolition of the CHA family high-rise buildings and in some cases their replacement with low-risemixed income housing on the same sites. Fifty new photos supplement this edition.

Certificate of Excellence from the Illinois State Historical Society, 2013

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