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Coco's Story: Movin' Out the Bricks

Chicago's public housing high-rises -- longstanding symbols of poverty, crime and neglect -- are being torn down. It's part of an ambitious citywide initiative to improve the lives of Chicago's public housing residents. The "Plan for Transformation", as it's called, is relocating some 25,000 families and seniors into rehabbed low-rise buildings, private market apartments and mixed-income communities that are replacing high rises.

Last fall, public housing resident Catherine "Coco" Means took her Section Eight voucher and moved from her home for the past eight years, Stateway Gardens -- or "the bricks," as she calls it -- and into an apartment in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's south side. Like the area around Stateway, Englewood is poor and predominantly African American, with one of the city's highest crime rates. But more and more, it is the kind of neighborhood that former public housing residents are calling home.

Means and other residents say the transition isn't easy, but it is important.

"I know this move will motivate me to get off my behind and do something for myself," says Means, who like her mother and grandmother has never had a job. "I want so much for this new apartment, because when you have a nice home, you want to make it beautiful. I know I've gotta get what I want for myself, because there's no one around now to feed it to me anymore."

Independent producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister have the story of Mean's move from Stateway Gardens -- "the bricks" as she calls Stateway -- into her first ever apartment outside the projects.

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