The Long Way Home

Chicago is razing its crime-infested towers to resettle the poor. But prejudice and a tight rental market are hampering the big plan

On a freezing morning in February four years ago, Verna Berryman, 46, packed up her things, bade goodbye to the Cabrini-Green housing project and embarked on a journey that she would probably rather forget. Forced out of the 16th-floor apartment that had been her home for six years, Berryman and her youngest child, Vernon, 17, joined a small group of other Cabrini families in what were the first steps of a massive plan to empty and demolish Chicago's decaying high-rise projects.

The program is ambitious, envisioning no less than a revolution in housing the poor. Other cities--Atlanta, Boston, Miami and Oakland--are...

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