Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Uptown Social Service Agencies Please Help

A reader writes in:
"I have noticed a woman lately who is living in the old entrance to the Wilson Donut Shop in the Wilson L station near 4620 Broadway. These are the same storefronts that should be marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle and filled with retail but instead are filled with homeless residents (and feces in the storefront north of Popeyes). I called 911 for a well-being check yesterday but but she is still there. I hope that one of the many social service agencies in Uptown can give this woman the services she needs."
A reader sends us this photo (above) and info (update):
"I noticed this person setting up camp in the doorway of an empty storefront of the newly renovated Uptown Broadway building. I called 911 and an officer responded within 5 minutes (that's the good part). The policeman, older, 3 stripes on his uniform, vehicle #6308, raised the campers umbrella, said something, got back in his vehicle and left. That was 30 minutes ago. The camper remains, snug as a bug, out of the elements. If the police don't help, where do we go from here?"


  1. The problem all to often is that a person in need of services is just not interested in them. Most social services are voluntary and the sad part is that there are a lot of people who just do not want the help. Either because of mental health or substance abuse issues they choose to live on the street where they can do what they want when they want. As we know even the police are unable to do much about it. If this were the entrance to an open business she would at least have to move somewhere else.

  2. Helen Shiller will give this lady a sandwich on election day and maybe a few bucks if she votes, but in the 4 years between elections Helen will not even acknowledge she exsists.
    Helen will spew out some platitude like "Haven't the poor suffered enough?" - and yet this woman lives on the sidewalk, less than one block away from her office.
    "This aint your college campus sweetie" .....

  3. So Helen gives sandwiches and a couple bucks....Well we can give that! We can change this next election and get her outta here if we all try. Spread the word, donate to FWY, VOTE when it is time, volunteer, get involved, and most importantly send a message to Helen that her time is up. Uptown has changed Helen....go retire somewhere.

  4. How sad is it that as a nation we cannot take care of our needy and we leave the incentive to N.G.O.(s) (for profit or non-profits) to provide... until everyone has equal access to care this picture will not change, but location... and will get politically abused to no end.

  5. This must be some kind of satical post.

  6. This woman has been sleeping in the deeper recesses of the Uptown Broadway building at night. Near the El by day.

    There are plenty of services in this neighborhood for them and they shouldn't be sleeping in any storefront, empty or otherwise. But, unfortunately, it's true that these folks don't want help. And as much as my heart aches for those who do need it and do seek it out, there is only so much sympathy one should have for those who refuse.

  7. "How sad is it that as a nation we cannot take care of our needy and we leave the incentive to N.G.O.(s) (for profit or non-profits)"

    With all due respect that is why the N.G.O.'s exist. "We as a nation" in your sentence are the exact people who donate time and money to these groups to help these individuals. So "We as a nation" are not the ones failing this woman, maybe this woman is failing this woman?

    The only thing "we" are guaranteed in the country are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. This woman has her life, she has her liberty, now it is up to her to pursue her happiness.

  8. I once called the Dept. of Human Services on a woman who was living on the sidewalk. As expected, the woman refused services. I mentioned my frustration that there was nothing we could do and the two workers told me the problem is all the people in the neighborhood feeding her, making her lose all incentives to accept real help. Such people need a hand up rather than a hand out.

  9. Why do "we" always have to do something? More likely than not, this woman's situation is a consequence of her own actions.

    Stop giving them money for their booze and crack and they will move on.

    I doubt that will happen though as I continue to see clueless people forking over cash to these derelicts on a daily basis.

  10. Yes, I saw her this morning. She's definitely mentally unstable. We never should've closed all of the mental hospitals decades ago...

  11. I have to agree with Willem's post above. This exactly the type of person Helen will expect a vote(s) from, but will ignore after the election is over.

    Back in the day, public opinion rose for Al Capone when he opened a soup kitchen and fed the poor (not saying he was a good guy at all). I think Helen's opponent should do the same - about 6 months before the election. You just may have to stoop to Helen's level if you want to get her out of here.

  12. Ah yes... when civil liberties and civility collide.

    Who gets to decided who gets put away? Should Helen be able to lock James up claiming he's mentally unstable? The reverse?

  13. Yes helen`s time is up and it`s up to us to make the clock start ticking to her doom. I have seen over the years our ward get worse and worse due to her bad decisions. We cannot allow this women to run our ward again and fill her pockets with money and not raise 1 finger to make our UPTOWN peaceful, beautiful, healthy and safe for all of us that live here. I am ashamed to have my friends view what uptown has become from the not care attitude and policies of Helen Shiller and I hope we all will remember this on the day we can make change and vote her out once and for all.............

  14. As to the second individual at the Uptown Broadway building, I wish that you hadn't try to Identify the responding officer as if he did something wrong. He didn't.

    If the owner of a business wanted to sign a complaint about someone camping out or blocking the entrance to his business, then the police can take action.

    There are no businesses there yet.

    If you find that this individual continues to camp out at this location, you can always call to request a premise check, to make sure that he or she is ok. That might be a subtle hint to this person to seek help.

    Your best bet is to call 311 and ask for the Department of Human Services to send out a van to interview her and offer her assistance. If she is there on a consistent basis and at the same times, the trained professionals who deal with these issues can try to get her into case management or at least a place to sleep that isn't outside.

    Hope this helps.

  15. I don't know what the rules, or laws are, concerning 'urban camping'. I do know, that if I put up a pup-tent in Barney's NY door step on Oak Street, I'd be hauled away in a NY second.

    I guess these things are more 'free and easy' in Uptown?

  16. Stark Mad, Jon is right the responsibility is on the prpoerty owner/management. Not the police. The police will take arrest action only at the property owner/management's request.

    You can not help people that don't want help.

    I also agree with Bradley's post

  17. Last night I was acosted by a identifiably crazy person while waiting for the 36 Bus at Broadway and Montrose. The man crossed the street to jump in a puddle, which in turn drenched me. Without provocation, he got in my face and started demanding that I "start something" with him. I tried to ignore him, but he was inches from my face with a very wild look in his eyes. I called 911 and reported that I was being threatened. That seemed to send him on his way. The police showed up within 5 minutes. After I told them my story, they said they would get him. But as I walked in the direction of the man and the departing police car, the car just kept driving without them even braking to see if they could see him.

    I'm a big man, and if this nut is willing to approach and threaten me, he'll do it to anyone. Just a warning.

  18. Dop,

    If you are unhappy with police service call 911 again and ask for a supervisor. At the time when it happened

    This goes for everyone. But, only if YOU are willing to do your part. Sign a complainant and go to court.

    The police do not like anonymous calls and victims that don't want to be bothered after calling 911. I am not saying this is the case with Dop.

    What's an officer to do when he/she asks "do you want him/her arrested?"? And the answer is "no"

  19. Sheridan Park Liquors is famous for this. If someone causes trouble or shoplifts they call the cops but then they don't file charges when the police get there. Basically they use the Chicago Police as their private security detail. Pathetic.

  20. Homelessness requires support in drug/alcohol rehabilitation, permanent housing, physical and mental health-care, legal and many more components. Today’s N.G.O’s and non-profits are designed to handle narrow “problem solving”, limited by the framework of the grants they get… the two do not work together well, thus the lady at the Wilson stop… this 60’s model is not working thus the lady at Wilson stop… yes government is the solution for comprehensive solutions to such problems. Obviously N.G.O.’s have only been a band-aid to the problem not the solution, thus the woman at Wilson stop. Until a larger body steps in and takes care of all these problems will only be moved around, not solved. I desire civility more than all, but the N.G.O’s of uptown are not the solution, they are too jaded and do not care…

  21. Where can I go if I need and want services-My wife, daughter and I will be soon homeless. None of the Uptown help offices can offer me more than help with the security deposit on a new apt but I have to find the apt first. That is the problem. My wife gets $720 SSI and thats it. We have only a month, maybe

  22. The best place to start is the city's Family service center at 4740 N. Sheridan

  23. Gene743 -- this page may help. It's by LIFT-Chicago, at Broadway and Wilson. It explains how to get into the system and get a caseworker to assist you. Call or write them and find out what they can offer you. Also, Nadmenny Millicent's advice is good, and the new address for the Family Service Center may be 845 W Wilson. The phone number if 312.743.0300 for the department, they can advise you..

  24. gene743, since your wife gets SSI (and even if she didn't), you could try searching for housing on Direct2Housing's website:

    Just to confirm what others have mentioned: the Community Service Center is at 845 W. Wilson. They administer the Emergency Fund if you are on the brink of being on the street:

    You can also just call 311, describe your situation a little, and ask for “short-term help”—you should be transferred to a Homelessness Prevention Call Center.

    Hang in there!