“There are parks and better schools and three grocery stores nearby.”

When the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) announced that everyone living at Cabrini Green would have to move, Dana Southward saw an opportunity to make a better life for her young son, Javon.

“I have a son. I had to make a decision. I didn’t want him to get sucked into selling drugs like the other kids or get harassed when he walks to school. He is going to be a black man; I want him to have more opportunity,” Southward said.

Dana set her sights high. She wanted a quiet neighborhood and her wish list for her new apartment included stainless steel appliances, wood floors, marble counter tops and a washer and dryer.

With Housing Choice Partner’s help she found it all in a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment in the Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago’s far north side.

Dana’s mother, Phyllis, at first was concerned that her daughter might not be able to afford an apartment outside of public housing. But Dana says it has not been a problem. “It’s not that bad. I have bills, but I had to learn to manage my own money.  I love it.”

Most importantly, Dana says she can raise her son in a better atmosphere. “There isn’t anybody begging for stuff, hanging around the door, cussing and smoking. It’s quiet here. People speak and hold the door for you when you come in. There are parks and better schools and three grocery stores nearby.”