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Black contractors appeal for help in getting CHA Section 3 program contracts
The Crusader Newspaper Group

Black contractors appeal for help in getting CHA Section 3 program contracts

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African American contractors met at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters Tuesday March 5th, to seek help in getting CHA officials to designate Black-only designations for contracts and jobs they say would help curb crime in Chicago.

In a meeting held at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the contractors allege that CHA is not in compliance with Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968.

Omar Shareef, president and founder of the African American Contractors Association (AACA), Mark Carter, an organizer of The Movement Group, and a number of other contractors voiced outrage over CHA’s alleged failure to comply with the Section 3 federal laws. Shareef told the Chicago Crusader, “Section 3 was a good program which helped low-income men and women all across Chicago.

“Now that they have basically disabled that program, they have not been able to get jobs and contracts out of CHA,” Shareef said. “We are trying to bring awareness to the CHA and the mayor to let her know those people who were the supporters that she had.” Shareef agreed with Carter in demanding CHA jobs for Blacks “as well as with Rainbow PUSH. If Black men and women are working, we can reduce crime, people hanging out in the streets, then we can do the same thing our white counterparts can do.”

According to Shareef, the problem was “put on halt when Mayor Lightfoot came into office. She probably did not know the program was stopped. The problem is that the CHA administrators ended the contracts by bundling them and by selectively giving contracts to everybody other than Black men and women.”

In an interview with the Chicago Crusader, Carter, who is seeking Blacks as a protected class of people, called on Black organizations to demand jobs based on “our lineage as the descendants of American chattel slavery. No more integration. We’re calling for separation and segregation and benefit lineation. We want all our data separated from all of these groups. We want to be segregated when it comes to our justice claim and our contracts. We don’t want no Africans involved, no Caribbeans involved or Pan Africans” only Black descendants of slavery.

Asked if he is calling for reparations at the CHA, Carter said, “Reparations, on one hand, is the check, but all these contracts, jobs and education are all a part of our reparations. Our people built this country, and for them to bring these arrogant Nigerians over here who have the nerve to call us lazy, they should be saying thank you” for building America when they were slaves.

According to Carter, they plan to use both the HUD Act of 1968 and Section 3 along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI and Title VII to “carve our way into opportunities for jobs and contracts.” He explained that Section 3 is an add-on to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Omar Shareef

The purpose of Section 3 is to make HUD-financed employment and economic opportunities available to low-income residents. HUD recently changed the definition of a Section 3 business as being “at least 51 percent owned by a CHA resident (s) or HCV participant (s), at least 51 percent owned by a low-income person and a business where low-income persons make up a minimum of 75 percent of the labor hours.”

“To accommodate Section 3 is to take away from the unions,” Carter said. “The unions have always paid Black leadership basically to look the other way. Some people got relationships with the union, but you can’t have relationships that deep that you don’t give opportunities to Black people and that is what is going on since 1968.”

Carter and several others once sued CHA forcing them into a voluntary compliance agreement “where they had to admit they had not followed the law and in exchange they had to make a deal to make us whole. They gave us $160 million back in 2013. The money was spent on rehabbing these (CHA) units.” Carter said those funds created a pilot program and started 116 companies. “In 2019, CHA bundled those contracts preventing Blacks from meeting the qualifications to bid on the contracts.” Carter pointed an accusatory finger at CHA Chief Operating Officer James L. Bebley, whom he alleges bundled the contracts pre- venting Blacks from bidding on contracts.

When the contracts were smaller, it provided an opportunity for Blacks to be awarded CHA contracts. “When this happens, Blacks don’t have enough money capacity, insurance and money in the bank.” Carter and others called for resignation of Bebley whom he alleges “fought us on getting CHA contracts.”

“CHA has gone back to business as usual. Those Black folks down there took the Section 3 program how it was before we started the fight. We are demanding that CHA follow the law, put the program back the way it was.” He wants 10 percent of all contracts tied to HUD money to go to a Section 3 business. Carter referred to the Chicago New American Plan he says allows other ethnic groups except Blacks to get jobs and contracts.

Carter referred to the OfficeofNewAmericans that began in Chicago and is now national. “We want an Office for American Descendants of Chattel Slavery.” He wants that office to provide jobs and contracts for Blacks. Carter said many groups are pushing “All Lives Matter,” but added, “We don’t have no room for that in our generational time. All of them, Africans, Italians and other immigrant groups have lined up against us. “We can no longer align with this All Lives Matter diversity because it gives all the opportunities to everybody but us,” Carter said.

CHA officials issued a statement saying, “CHA is committed to increasing employment retention for low-income workers and to making contracting opportunities available to small and disadvantaged enterprises.

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