Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Call To Action: Write The Mayor About The Homeless Living Under Lake Shore Drive

A group of concerned Uptown residents got together this weekend and wrote a letter to send to public officials about the homeless who are living under and around the Uptown viaducts from Foster to Irving Park. The city knows about this, folks. The aldermen have been trying to get the city to follow its own rules and to get DFSS to get further involved.

This letter is a Call to Action for citizens who are concerned about the situation from a safety and humanitarian point of view. If you don't think this is a good situation for anyone, PLEASE copy and paste the letter (and personalize it if you'd like) and send it to your public officials. As the cover letter said, "A listing of the email addresses for the elected officials appears at the bottom of the document. We appreciate your assistance in trying to get the Emanuel administration to make priority of resolving the problem of the encampments under Lake Shore Drive."

Here is the text of the letter. Copy and paste it into your email and send it to the email addresses listed at the end of it. It only takes five minutes and if enough of us do it, the City will hear us.


The Honorable Mayor Rahm Emanuel:

I am writing concerning the encampment of homeless individuals under the Lake Shore Drive viaducts throughout Uptown, from Foster Avenue south to Irving Park Road - particularly the large populations at Lawrence and Wilson Avenues.  The Lake Shore Drive exits are the gateways to my community and my home, and they provide access points to the lakefront parks.

It is unconscionable to me that these encampments are permitted to continue.  I implore you to take the actions necessary to rectify this situation.

Uptown is an accommodating neighborhood.  It is populated by a wide variety of people, including large numbers residing in homeless shelters, transitional housing and subsidized housing – far exceeding any other Chicago neighborhood.  Indeed, Uptown is home to a full quarter of Chicago’s 2,000 emergency shelter beds:

• Peoples Church Men's Shelter
• Apna Ghar Women's Shelter
• Salvation Army Family Shelter
• Leland House Family Shelter
• Sarah's Circle Women's Shelter
• Sylvia Center Family Shelter
• Neon Street Youth Shelter
• Hannah House Family Shelter

In the US Conference of Mayors Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness, Chicago reported that for 2014 and 2015, shelters did not have to turn away either homeless individuals or homeless families because there were no beds available for them.  It’s clear that the City provides numerous options for those vulnerable and in need.

I am also aware that of the many social service agencies operating in Uptown, two have significant local footprints, are very skilled at working with difficult-to-house individuals, and have received taxpayer dollars for past and pending building projects:

Heartland Alliance, an established and well-respected social service organization, accessed Lawrence Broadway TIF dollars to renovate the Leland Hotel.  It is now attempting to use Low Income Housing Trust Fund dollars to acquire and renovate the Darlington Hotel.  Previously, Heartland Alliance was awarded a contract to relocate homeless individuals sleeping under Lower Wacker Drive.  It was a successful operation; Heartland Alliance reports that most of those formerly homeless individuals are still housed by its agency.

Sarah’s Circle, the largest homeless shelter for unaccompanied women in the City, accessed a variety of public funding sources to build its facility on North Sheridan Road; it is now planning to access public funds to build a large, women’s shelter and supportive housing development on a property immediately to the south.

These organizations are my neighbors and are skilled at moving this population into temporary and permanent housing.  I believe it is reasonable that they take leadership roles within their own neighborhood - providing access to housing and supportive services for the individuals who have been camping under the viaducts.

The campsites create an unsafe environment – for pedestrians as well for those individuals living under the viaducts.  A significant community problem relates to hygiene, or rather, the lack thereof.

The concentrated homeless population camped under Lake Shore Drive uses portions of the sidewalks, as well as the parklands surrounding them, as toilets.  Feces, urine and the related stench create not only a hazard to the public’s health, but also to that of the homeless themselves.

Several large pieces of concrete fell from the Lawrence Avenue viaduct ceiling last year.  The viaduct has not yet been rebuilt, so the risk of this occurring again and harming pedestrians and/or the homeless individuals camping below cannot and should not be ignored.

The City must stop allowing homeless individuals to occupy our public sidewalks as campsites. Ordinances regarding obstruction of public rights of way must be enforced.  Public safety is at risk – my safety and that of countless others.  Soon the spring youth soccer season will commence and the many charitable lakefront races will begin.  Following that, the lakefront beaches will open for the summer.  There will likely be large, outdoor concerts at Cricket Hill, as there have been in years past. Thousands upon thousands of people from our community and elsewhere will be attempting to access the parks via the Lake Shore Drive viaducts.

I urge you to make it a high priority within your administration to remedy these public safety and quality of life issues in Uptown.

Sincerely,

INSERT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS


Cc: Alderman James Cappleman, 46th Ward
Alderman Harry Osterman, 48th Ward
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky
Illinois State Senator Heather Steans
Illinois State Representative Greg Harris
        Michael Redina, Mayor’s Office – Legislative, Council & Governmental Affairs


Email addresses to copy and paste into your message:
rahm.emanuel@cityofchicago.org, james@james46.org, harry@48thward.org, us.rep.schakowsky@mail.house.gov, steans@senatedem.illinois.gov, rep13greg@gregharris.org, michael.rendina@cityofchicago.org

157 comments:

  1. I was driving under the Fullerton bridge on Sunday and noticed not one tent. This is a political thing. We need to harp on the direct link between gang violence and homelessness. Dump these tent cities and gangs violence will drop. The bangers are fighting over the right to sell to these tent city folks and to our 1/2 home residents. The next step should be to get rid of the flophouse on SW corner of Leland/Racine and the Malden Arms flop house (I have personally witnessed the same woman selling drugs twice out of this place). There is a reason there is gang violence running down Leland. The El construction has pushed the dope dealers west down Leland, right in front of this 1/2 way house. I routinely see homeless folks walking down Lawrence and Leland searching for their fix.

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    1. @Paul, can you be clearer? Are you saying The gangs are selling tents? Cappleman probably knows about the flop houses, but you have to deal with the landlords. Wouldn't be surprised if the LLs are out of towners, absentee LLs.

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    2. Bill Gates succinctly states what I was trying to say. The Gangs are here, because the bums/addicts/mentals are here. Period. We dump the derelicts and the Gangs will move on. Cappleman/Rahm need to grow a pair and drop the hammer on the Non Profits, profiting off of Uptown. Hold them accountable and let's make the parks and streets safe/clean for all. The Landlords of the buildings I'm talking about are Heartland (SW corner of Racine/Leland) and Mercy (Malden Arms on Malden). I have called, they don't care. Any nuisance like drug dealing is forgotten by them as long as their checks keep coming. This is why we need city/local leadership to puts the screws to these folks. No more BS. Time to share the derelict love with the rest of the city. Not Uptown's problem anymore.

      With this said, I do think market economics and gentrification will probably automatically rid our hood of the scourges wrought by misguided social justice, it just might take 10 years longer than capable political leadership, sensible (Fair to all) social policy and transparency of all of the above.

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    3. I don't live far from the Lawrence underpass. There is a drug dealer in my building who is dealing to gang members and homeless people. I saw a crack rock passed through our front gate to a guy on a bike at 2am a couple of nights ago. One of his associates is a black short masculine homeless woman who panhandles on Argyle. I believe he is supplying the nearby homeless community through her and others. I have seen this woman hanging out in front of Sarah's Circle as well. I've been in contact with the 20th district, the alderman, and various local and federal agencies and telling anyone who will listen. Yet, it continues.

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    4. I forgot to mention that this particular apartment has been used for criminal activity in some form for years and years. The landlord is an out of town absentee landlord. He seems to go out of his way to find these types of people to rent to.

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    5. Koocachoo, I think that woman could be the same woman I have witnessed dealing drugs out of Malden Arms (She lives there). Does she have short hair (Cut like a dude) and tend to dress like a guy (lots of black and red)? I have seen her get in and out of a 70k Infiniti both times I witnessed the drug deals. Called 911 both times but missed the plate. Mercy folks knew who she was, but did nothing. This woman is crazy and a dealer and it would not surprise me if she was their in for the homeless folks.

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    6. Everytime I see her, she's is all bundled up in a winter coat with the hood up and hunched over. The coat was bright red for a good part of the winter. Then she switched to a black/purple coat. The latest it sort of a cream/white and faded teal color coat. I've never seen her hair. She usually looks either very irritated or totally out of it. When I say masculine, I'm talking more about the way she carries herself than hair style and dress. She told me she is the neighbor's "girlfriend" when I caught her one day sleeping outside his door on my way down to check the mail. I'm not sure if it's the same woman or not. They have been doing drug deals in the alley over night. I called 911 again. I'll watch for her as the weather warms and see if the hair and dress match your description.

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  2. I think this is a great idea. I'm amazed at the groups that come together to fight for the 'right' of the homeless to 'live' under the viaducts, yet there isn't an organized group (that I'm aware of) fighting for the well being of the homeless and the rights of the residents of the neighborhood.

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  3. I saw someone sleeping in the tunnel behind the Margate Park fieldhouse this morning. The park supervisor in Margate Park has never been of help when I've reported tents in the park. She's actually quite rude.

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  4. Sent. Something needs to be done. They should not be allowed to live there.

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  5. Good, constructive, respectful letter. I urge everyone to send it but don't forget to append your name and address.

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  6. The tents under the Irving Park underpass are new this year. Lived here for almost 20 years taking the bus through there, this is the first time I've seen actual tents under that bridge. Often in the summer, some homeless will hang around the Lake Shore Drive offramp there during rush hour evenings to beg from the cars stopped at the traffic light, but never seen actual camps there until this winter. Which suggests to me that this problem is getting worse.

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    1. There's an easy way to get rid of the homeless under the viaduct. Build or construct HUGE and I mean HUGE planters that take up most of the sidewalk. Position them in such a way that no one can build a tent, but the runners & walkers can easily get by.

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    2. Also, folks you have to get Friends of the Park involved.

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    3. The letter should also be sent to Cappleman.

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  7. This is public property, if you own this curb side appeal lowers your value.That being said the city/Rahm needs to address this and find proper shelter for these poor individuals. If the shelters aren't safe as some homeless complain about do something about it.City Hall stop turning a blind eye

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  8. How about eradicating the open criminality in the CHA and Section 8 housing in Uptown...Then there would be plenty of room for the homeless.

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  9. Friends of the Park is spending HUGE amounts of money to battle Lucas. You would think they could put some money towards cleaning up the viaducts and the parks where these people are sleeping.

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  10. PART 1
    My story with this issue:

    I have been at the last few CAPS meeting (Oct on ward) and was told the Chicago police will not issue tickets to the homeless for alcohol or marijuana use. The police claim they cannot make an arrest as this is a misdemeanor and they can only ticket them. However, since the ticketed do not make the court date, the police have given up on ticketing them. For narcotics use, they will make an arrest but they have to witness and be able to prove narcotics were present and this is very difficult.

    The advocates that are enabling them are now blocking one lane of traffic for extended periods of time, often during rush hour causing potential traffic situations. There are no lights for the sidewalk on both sides of Lawrence Ave. My own experience with the ongoing situation are as follows:

    - In Spring 2015, my daughter was knocked off her bike by a homeless women staggering down the bike path, just as we approached Lawrence.

    - In Fall 2015, my kids and I witnessed a women who had had too much of something and was now projectile vomiting all over the sidewalk and very nearly vomited on us. We also saw a man passed out, blocking the sidewalk and lying in his own urine with his head lying in excessive vomit.

    - I've also seen open fires in the tunnel and tents filled with cases of beer; who is providing all of this alcohol? (Advocates?)

    - There is a great deal of public urination, public deification, sex acts taking place in tents, people exposing themselves and masturbating by the dog park.

    - This problem is also persisting north in the Margate foot tunnel near the field house and playground.

    - The kids and I have also been harassed on the soccer fields both north and south of Lawrence. A homeless man ran onto the field where we were practicing and also tried to steal our bags. It is my understanding that this man in particular is known for stealing bags around the soccer fields.

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  11. part2
    I also spoke with advocates who are helping the homeless. They are looking for more tent cities on public park lands and they are looking to buy vacant lots in the area for tent cities. They also claim there are facilities that could accommodate this group on the west side but the advocates want them to stay right here. We all want to provide help to this group but the current situation is becoming dangerous and not acceptable.

    The summer was not too bad as they were relocated for the concert season. But by fall, the problem had returned and we could no longer use the Margate foot tunnel, the Lawrence Ave and Wilson Ave viaducts were blocked to ride bikes to school. We were forced onto Marine Drive, which is very congested in the morning.

    Unless our neighbors and community gets involved in voicing our concern for this issue, we're up against a strong lobby and advocate group. Alderman Cappleman expresses concern but doesn't seem to be to quick to act. Every time he tries to relocate them, he gets bad press.I certainly see he is very concerned about the needs of both groups, but my patient are wearing thin. The young children and young moms are at extreme risk with so my drug addicts and mentally ill running around our parks. The big question we need answered, is there room (and or a facility) somewhere in Chicago that this group can get some type of housing at, or are all of them full? That is a question I would like to see answered! As of this morning the Margate foot tunnel is now occupied. AYSO soccer starts April 9 when 4000 kids and their family's will now have to walk through this mess. As a long time resident (1992)I feel that none of us should have to walk through this, but it puts a real black eye of our community when other people see how this is all going down. Someone mentioned the gang issue and the homeless, this has been an issue for years that I have been screaming about. The number one reason so many gangs are attracted to the Uptown area, are the easy and persistent sale of drug to the homeless community. It is basic economics, where there is a demand someone will supply. Many block club members have asked if we could at least get one side of these viaducts cleaned up and we can not even get that! It would also be nice if the advocate groups that are receiving tax payer dollars would come and address the community as to what their plan is going forward. An other question we need answers to, is there a (sign) out that says please bring all your homeless to Uptown, it's one think to take care of the needs directly in your community, it's an other think to say we will take all of your homeless without the community's input. To put it quite bluntly are we the dumping ground for other community's problems. I can go on for a lot longer, please forward your concerns to the mayor office. Thanks you.

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  12. I just emailed the letter, hope it helps. I also have called streets and sanitation with concerns about human excrement being left in these areas. I don't enjoy wading through god knows what to gain access to the lake.

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  13. If you send the letter U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky will ask that you include your address. According to the auto response - "Unfortunately, due to the large amount of correspondence, I can only respond to constituents."

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    1. That's fair. Only part of the 46th Ward is in her district. There was an election this week - go to that site, enter your address, and find out who YOUR elected officials are.

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  14. I sent the letter. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I propose we all call Alderman Cappleman every day. As many people as possible. I think he would move on it faster if he gets really annoyed with receiving all the calls. I have been calling and the recent update I got was, "they have something in the works but can tell anyone yet". I think that is just a way to satisfy me with an answer ...until I call again today. They need to go. Lowers my property value and my with and kids are afraid to walk by them after a rouge loogie came flying out of the tent at them. Cops need to grow a pair and get it done.

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  15. Who are the advocates who are facilitating this behavior under the viaducts. They are the ones speaking for you and your family, they will tell you this is what the people of Uptown want. Do you have an advocate group for your family, for your kids, regardless of what demographic group you are from. This is a very dangerous situation for young children. It is also dangerous for the immune compromised, to walk through this area, it is no longer handicap accessible. So the needs of the drug addicted are put before our children and seniors. These advocates think that giving someone a tent and a six pack is a humanitarian act, I think not. We all want to see these people get help the right way, after all you and I have already paid for it! So take a look for yourself at their Facebook pages? https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoHomeless https://www.facebook.com/UptownChicago.Rocks
    https://www.facebook.com/UptownTentCity/

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    1. I'm guessing the majority the cranks that call themselves advocates don't even live in Uptown. Poverty is a powerful/profitable lobby in Illinois.

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    2. Then these are the people and orgs we should be writing. Thanks much.
      Everybody, get a postcard and write those groups.

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    3. Does anybody take pictures of these people and how they live. I took pictures of the Pigeon farm next to my college and the woman who feeds the pigeons. I sent the picture and a letter to Vice Mayor O'Reilly and he passed it on to the Chicago Health Department. Writing on blogs isn't enough. You need pictures to show your aldermen and reps.

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    4. Contact information: http://www.chicagohomeless.org/contact/
      http://uptownchicago.rocks/contact/

      Folks -- pictures and videos are worth a thousand words.

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  16. Just got back from school with the kids one of the moms report a homeless man in the middle of Clarendon Park with his pants off doing (something)??? and we need more of this?

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  17. I think they should stay, as a constant reminder of how fucked up our country is.

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    1. What's fucked up James? That some folks are shit bird crazy and choose to live outside flipping their noses at us and that we're too stupid to tell them no?

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    2. My response was really only cynical in nature, I do understand the safety concerns.

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  18. It is pretty clear that the homeless do not have the financial wherewithal go out and buy 10 matching tents at a time and that some homeless advocacy group is using the Uptown viaducts (and the homeless) to issue press releases and bolster support for their organization. So sad. They care more about promoting their own agenda than they do for the people they claim to serve. Yet, that is what people in Uptown have been complaining about for years while City Hall and newspapermen (Sun Times" Marc Brown) suck it up like a babies on a tit.

    So, who is Steve? Does anyone know? Steve, who is formerly from Indiana and now works for some Uptown agency, has arranged for Indiana homeless organizations to come to Uptown to support the viaduct dwellers. Yes, Indiana, the same state that used to scoop up their homeless, give them maps to Uptown, and deport their homeless to Chicago by paying for their train rides Chicago. These naive young gals tell us that there are no available beds in Uptown (WRONG!) that the shelter beds are overrun with bed bugs (WRONG!), that it takes years to get into temporary housing (WRONG!) and that living in tents under the viaduct is healthier than sleeping in shelter beds (ARE YOU JUST PLAIN NUTS????)

    These misguided do-gooders certainly mean well, but they don't know what the hell they are doing. They have no training. And, the process of their feel-good do-gooding, they are causing a lot of harm to our parks, our children, and our community. But, they feel so superior and good about themselves that they don't care to hear about it.

    So, does any dog-owner than me know that their is a huge digestive worm egg problem in Clarendon Park? I found out when my poor pup started shitting blood and mucus. This unusual infestation, per my vet, is spread by human and dog feces. They put all the Uptown dogs that come to their clinic on a special worm preventative that controls this particular worm species, which is not normally found in the Chicago area.

    Clarendon Park and wing walls of the viaducts have been the homeless toilets for many, many, many years. Why? The homeless refuse to leave their tents and their belongings to use the nearby public toilets because they (rightfully) fear that their fellow viaduct dwellers will pilfer their belongings while they are gone. I know because these guys know me from my frequent visits to the park and they often ask me to watch their stuff while I am out there.

    Now, I don't object to homeless people. I have friends who are homeless people. I do, however, draw the line at allowing people to shit all over the place when their are housing alternatives available to them. The other alternative - one which the Dept of Human Services counselors advise new homeless - is to get a good backpack and rolling cart and stop accumulating stuff to haul around. Every homeless person can get free clothes every week from the local agencies. They get soaps and toiletries at the shelters where they shower. They get free meals and enough extra food to carry for the day. What they always need, and can carry, are extra socks, underwear, razors, batteries, a radio and cell phone. There simply is no need - if one wants to pursue the homeless lifestyle in lieu of going into shelter housing - to accumulate a tent full of immovable stuff that ties them to a particular viaduct sidewalk and public shit hole.

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    1. Alright, I'll write it again -- you need to put some huge huge planters on the sidewalks of the viaducts. So huge they squeeze out tent space.
      Second, you need to get the Friends of the Park involved.

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    2. Please stop with the concrete planters on the sidewalk idea, already. Anything big and obnoxious placed to prevent tents also obstructs wheelchairs, strollers and pedestrians.

      Also, viaducts provide shelter from sun and rain, which people like, but make plants very much dead.

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    3. Where do you keep your photographs? Your personal objects? Do you tote them around in your purse? The homeless people have their ENTIRE HOUSE with them at all times. Can you do that without leaving something behind? And they don't worry as much about other homeless pilfering (although that is a problem) but about police officers illegally confiscating their belongings. Homeless people are just people without homes. They aren't the horrible scourges all you hateful people here make them out to be.

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    4. Photos don't weigh much. They can keep them in their backpack. They problem of having to leave things behind occurs when people lose their housing. Now we are talking about people who for years choose to live on the streets. Their household possessions are long-gone. What they accumulate is stuff they pull out of dumpsters and what people provide to them, such as grills.

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  19. FYI - WGN news at 11 just mentioned this story......getting some tangible traction!

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  20. I got news for you Yehuda the only people losing grip with reality, are the so called do-gooders who are not professionally trained social workers, who are enabling a group of mentally ill drug addicts, who need professional help. Are all of these homeless folks a danger to our children, no. Could it be that some of these individuals are on the run from the law, are they register sex offender who have set up near parks. Where they never convicted of rape, or assault and battery. So Yehuda you think it is OK to deny the handicap and the immune impaired access to the parks? You think a man who is sleeping in his own urine in a tent is a humanitarian act. PLEASE TELL ME WHO HAS LOST A GRIP???

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  21. Does anybody know why the homeless congregate on the north side and NOT the south side?

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    1. That's untrue. At most occupied viaducts, there are tents North and South.

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    2. except for bryn mawr, belmont, fullerton, north ave, and the oak street pedestrian underpass, where they care about the neighborhoods' reputation and image.

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  22. This is plain hate and intolerance, hysterical fear mongering. There was one individual under the drive who has some serious mental problems. He's harmless but he urinated and defacated very carelessly - much to the exasperated anger and chagrin of the other tent community residents. Other encampment residents and advocates got him connected with mental health services for the homeless but that process always proceeds slowly.
    The others all knew what a PR problem his behavior was causing and didn't want to live with someone who behaved that way anyway. Almost everyone else 91st the encampment wanted to expel him, some even talked of some tougher justice of giving him an "ass kick", as it were.
    There is a general administrative policy of not differentiating between homeless individuals and punishing all homeless people collectively for the infractions of one or a few. In addition to being contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all norms of civilized justice and governance, it is a very violent policy as the homeless are, sometimes tacitly and sometimes expressedly, expected to discipline one another. That is practiced at Cook County Jail and other prisons where the disciplining is done by the only means the inmates have.
    Meanwhile, a couple of porto potties would have easily solved the problem.
    The urban legend of the homeless as child predators is pure superstitious hystera. What is known about child predators is that there is no profile. They could be a successful business man, a bank executive or the local parish priest.
    Given the hardscrabble culture of the poor, a known child predator wouldn't likely have an easier time making it in a homeless encampment than he would in prison.
    What is also known from studying the homeless is that they are careful NOT to bother the surrounding neighborhood as they know that would bring hear on any place they have to lay their heads that they may've found for the moment. They know that, in all likelihood, they will eventually be blamed for something, real or concocted and whether they did it or not and be evicted on that, probably bogus pretext.
    What people need to realiize is that if you make life harder for the homeless you only make it harder for them to get out of homelessness and you'll have them around, lowering your property values, that much longer. All the social services listed by the author of the above letter are starved for resources and not capable of making even a modest impact on the problem.
    The author of the above letter is well known to advocates for the encampments and has a well deserved reputation for generously embellishing the truth with gross twists, exaggerationd and outright fabrications to monger gear and intolerance to indulge his own, personal, seemingly obsessive, animosities.

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    1. So my property value should suffer because I'm fear mongering? These people that live in tents are forming their own community and living in mine at little or no cost to them. It's not intolerance, it's people who are refusing help and making any excuse to get a free ride .

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  23. Uptown girl, where do you get ANY of your information? Try to get a shelter bed in Uptown on ANY cold winter night and see what happens. Talk to ANY of the homeless you see walking the street in Uptown on such a night and you'll find they've all been turned away from an Uptown shelter.
    The local shelterscare, in fact, overrun with bed bugs.
    And it does, in fact, take years to get into subsidized housing.
    And I don't know what else in your very lengthy comment is just plain false.

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    1. Uptown Girl gets her info from living in Uptown nearly 30 years and from assisting the homeless. Yes, Uptown Girl has actually loaded her car with homeless belongings and delivered them and the homeless to their new assisted housing.

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  24. bill gates, the questions you ask are easy enough to answer. Registered sex offenders are, after all, registered. Fugitives on the run wouldn't likely stand a chance in such a conspicuous setting - and the conspicousness of it is your main objection.
    Some of those and others of the homeless are, in fact, handicapped and immune impaired themselves.
    Don't let hysterical fears carry you away!

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  25. bill gates and others, come down and meet some of the viaduct people, don't just wildly imagine stuff about people you don't even know.

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  26. From Wikipedia..."In the USA, early societies were able to easily expel individual deemed undesirable from public space through vagrancy laws and other forms of banishment. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, these exclusion orders were denounced as unconstitutional in America and consequently were rejected by the US Supreme Court. The introduction of broken windows theory in the 1980s generated a dramatic transformation in the concepts used in forming policies in order to circumvent the previous issue of unconstitutionality. According to the theory, the environment of a particular space signals its health to the public, including to potential vandals. By maintaining an organized environment, individuals are dissuaded from causing disarray in that particular location. However, environments filled with disorder, such as broken windows or graffiti, indicate an inability for the neighborhood to supervise itself, therefore leading to an increase in criminal activity. Instead of focusing on the built environment, policies substantiated by the Broken Windows Theory overwhelmingly emphasize undesirable human behavior as the environmental disorder prompting further crime. The civility laws, originating in the late 1980s and early 1990s, provide an example of the usage of this latter aspect of the Broken Windows Theory as legitimization for discriminating against individuals considered disorderly in order to increase the sense of security in urban spaces. These civility laws effectively criminalize activities considered undesirable, such as sitting or lying on sidewalks, sleeping in parks, urinating or drinking in public, and begging, in an attempt to force the individuals doing these and other activities to relocate to the margins of society. Not surprisingly then, these restrictions disproportionally affect the homeless.
    Individuals are deemed undesirable in urban space because they do not fit into social norms, which causes unease for many residents of certain neighborhoods. This fear has been deepened by the Broken Windows Theory and exploited in policies seeking to remove undesirables from visible areas of society. In the post-industrial city, concerned primarily with retail, tourism, and the service sector, the increasing pressure to create the image of a livable and orderly city has no doubt aided in the most recent forms of social control. These new techniques involve even more intense attempts to spatially expel certain individuals from urban space since the police are entrusted with considerably more power to investigate individuals, based on suspicion rather than on definite evidence of illicit actions"

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  27. Denver has banned tents under viaducts:

    Homeless Camping Ban: Denver City Council Passes City-Wide ‘Urban Camping’ Ban

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/homeless-camping-ban-denv_n_1517558.html

    Let's get notice to city council.

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  28. Groups like ONE and Couraj need to realize that they are not helping anyone. Make them go out and clean up the vomit and piss...

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    1. Mark,

      What is your solution here, or are you OK with the status quo? Are you aware of the direct correlation between gang violence and homelessness (the gangs are fighting to sell drugs to the homeless in Uptown and the Mentally Ill in housing in Uptown)? You're OK with all of this?

      If the tent city status quo is your aim, do you profit from this arrangement (As in is it your paying job to ensure this situation continues?)? Additionally, do you live in Uptown? Please advise.

      Delete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. @Mark Saulys I ran under both Wilson and Lawrence bridges the other day. I actually had to run out into the street. BOTH were a sewer reeking of piss and sh*t. Do you realize how many communicable diseases are passed through bodily fluids?
    I can only speak for myself but I would rather not contract hepatitis and God knows what else when out for some exercise. That crap (literally) sticks to the bottom of your shoes and gets tracked all through the community and into my personal environment. This is a huge public health issue.

    And never mind that a few individuals pretty much completely block access to the entire lakefront for a whole community. You want to talk about fairness...

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  32. Below is the response I got from Senator Heather Steans - 7th District - office located at: 5533 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640


    Dear Friend,
    Thank you for your comments regarding the issue of homelessness that we are witnessing in our neighborhood. I appreciate you taking the time to express your thoughts about an issue that so directly affects our community. I recognize your concerns and the urgency to address this issue.
    On a local level, I am working directly with Alderman Cappleman, Alderman Osterman, Congresswoman Schakowsky, the Chicago Coalition of Homeless, the Chicago Department of Human Services and a number of neighborhood agencies and housing advocates that service this population to implement a long-term solution that would involve all of these stakeholders and encourage the city to make this issue a top priority.
    In addition, on a state level I am working with Senate President Cullerton, Representative Greg Harris and Representative Kelly Cassidy to address a long term solution to this issue. When people are moved from homelessness to housing it is essential that they receive the appropriate social services. The State of Illinois has consistently funded organizations like Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Service, Heartland Alliance and many other programs. However, because the Governor has vetoed funding for human services including homeless prevention, mental health and substance abuse, treatment, supportive and transitional housing, the safety net serving this population has been unable to operate as it should.
    Senator Cullerton and I addressed these funding cuts by passing Senate Bill 2059 and Representative Harris did so in the House by passing House Bill 2990. These bills will appropriate money to providers who help homeless, behavioral health and housing providers as well as other human services and universities and MAP Grants. Also, I strongly believe that any budget we present must reflect additional revenue to fund these core services and bring certainly and fiscal responsibility to Illinois with a budget that fulfills our responsibilities to our most vulnerable residents.
    If you have any additional comments or concerns, please reach out to me at 773-769-1717.


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  33. ThisGirlThinks needs to live up to her moniker. Did I say a couple of porto potties - like we're provided in Lower Wacker recently - would solve the problem? I know most of the homeless of the encampment keep bottles for urinating into nside their tents. Some are adamant that the city provide porto potties and refuse to use bottles to urinate in as a defiant protest. Only one was so mentally screwed up He didn't seem to be able to care what he did - and he's very lucky he wasn't severely "disciplined" by the other residents of the encampment.
    All the residents and their advocates were very miffed that the recent "cleaning" of the viaducts didn't include power washing and seemed to be only for the purpose of harassing the homeless.

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    1. @Mark Saulys Sure, I'll respond to your statement. What you are dancing around is in fact very true.
      I don't want them to camp under the bridge. Period.
      Sorry if it offends you that I've long ago lost my idealistic naivete but I live with this every day. I get a voice in this too.
      I want them to either take advantage of assistance provided in the community or move somewhere else out of the public way.
      I know for a fact help in the area exists and can be utilized if desired. I personally witnessed the struggle of a motivated homeless man to get off the street. He got off the street because he kept asking for help; everywhere and everyday.
      For those under the bridge - it's no longer a matter of the system failing them. They have failed the system.

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    2. Yes, lets add Porto potties by the tent community and really enable them. I don't mind feeling unsafe in my own neighborhood where I pay taxes, that I'm sure would go to help buy the Porto potties. If you think that's the best solution, go buy them yourself and write them off as a charitable donation .

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    3. Having portable bathrooms installed is a horrible idea. That would give them the impression that we are accepting their residence there. I for one am not and I feel I'm not alone on that one.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. I'm afraid the planet doesn't belong to you all alone and other people are gonna have to piss on it. There are those who keep Gatorade bottles in their tents and dump them down the drain and others who don't and think Porto potties should provided as a basic human right. There aren't too many who are the encampment as an acceptable permanent solution but refusing to allow the problem to be swept under the rug having the homeless swept away and dispersed throughout the park and neighborhood is more likely to bring results.

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    6. @ThisGirlThinks, many of these people don't owe much to the system. It has never been very good to them, they never had it made like those complaining here.

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    7. That is, only not having the problem swept under the rug will bring any results. Meanwhile, portopotties would be a recognition of basic human rights and personal animosities are an obtuse self indulgence.

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    8. Who would clean the porto potty?

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  34. The fact that I've seen groups of homeless blocking the path for anyone to pass through (which I witnessed while walking by the Wilson viaduct) as well as the unsanitary conditions that causes health issues for the homeless as well as anyone walking under the viaducts.. makes me think that tent cities aren't the answer.

    Doesn't the unsanitary conditions such as piss, feces, etc.. attract rats, bed bugs, roaches, etc? Also, doesn't the city have a huge problem with these things? Fixing this might help solve that problem (not totally.. but it would remove one factor attracting that).

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  35. Actually Paul McGuntey, there were 7 or 8 people living at the theatre building on Fullerton until renovation began and there are some tents scattered about the harbour area but I guess if you just don't see them it's alright with you and you're not so "concerned" for them.
    I hate to tell you this but you all have no idea what you are talking about. Just working backwards from "I just don't frickin like these people".
    Let's face it, you think they're not nice to look at and don't put money in your pockets. Everything else is conjured up just to bolster that concern.
    If there were, as you all wishfully imagine, "real housing alternatives available" you might still see a few of those homeless people still out there but a very, very small fraction of those you see there now

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  36. It's amazing how your imaginations supply a completely made up narrative that remarkably just happens to support your impatience, intolerance and animosities when you don't have any knowledge of the facts - and are confident no one will ever call you on it.
    Reminds me of the children's game and psychiatrists Rorschach type test where someone is shown a picture and asked to make up an entire story from it.

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  37. And, ThisGirlThinks, the only thing blocking access to the park and lake front is your intolerance. The residents of the encampment are exceedingly careful not to block any such access and not to bother anybody passing through the viaduct.

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  38. If you're talking, mister or ms. "unknown", about groups of homeless standing around talking then yes, they might for an instant "block the sidewalk", as it were, but, I guarantee you, they will jump out of your way the SECOND they see you coming intending to pass through.
    Truthfully, the very ONLY thing blocking any access to the park or lakefront is your own superstitious hysteria and your obsessive intolerance.
    Good day,Mr. or Ms.
    Unknown.

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  39. Rat proof containers are widely used and several gentlemen there trap rats killing 20-20 per week, each.

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    1. Not that many each but together.

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    2. And the aforementioned "open fires" are actually barbeque grills. That was a twist of The truth in the foremention typical of this thread. The truth wouldn't be scary enough, apparently.
      Anyway, we are of the very radical notion that the homeless are human beings deserving of basic human rights - even if it's not the most esthetically pleasing result for the petulant and privileged.

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  40. Bed bugs are not a problem since they don't have beds and roaches aren't either, they would have to be a wilder variety.

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    1. Not so fun fact - Bedbugs can and do live anywhere there are humans. They don't need an actual bed, just a human host nearby.

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  41. does anyone know what they are doing at the Wilson underpass now? Looks like they are getting ready for construction or something. I hope it doesn't interfere with the tent city under there. Just kidding! I hope it does. I hope they move them to a housing facility that lets drug, alcohol ,etc... dependent people reside there and in the process narrow the side walk so that the tents legally cant be there. done and done! Everybody happy

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  42. I would like to introduce the bloggers here to the definition of a word, "facile". That is what most of the comments and the original post here are.
    Facile
    adj.
    1(Especially of a theory or argument) appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial.
    2. Arrived at or presented without due care, effort, or examination; superficial, as in: 'We don't need another facile solution to a complex problem.'
    3.(Of a person) having a superficial or simplistic knowledge or approach, as in: 'a man of facile and shallow intellect'

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  43. As for the beer, most of the guys at one of the viaducts work for a very exploitative employer for $6 per hour, 5 hours per day at a pretty exhausting job. They leave for work soon after 4am and return by noon and not too uncommonly afford themselves the luxury and comfort of tossing back a few upon returning from work.
    The idea of "advocates" or the charitable church groups who regularly provide bring food and clothes also supplying beer is an example of bill gates and the author of the original post (possibly the same blogger?)twisting and turning and embellishing the truth and flat out prevaricating to serve his intolerant and hateful agenda.

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  44. I have also seen runners forced into the streets by the homeless people who wouldn't move for them.

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  45. Anyway bill gates, the professional social workers all (save Cappleman, who doesn't count because he is primarily a politician and so I has a different vested interest) support us and many are active members of our group. Why do you think they aren't just because you hate us?

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  46. It is not hysterical to think that a person with a weak immune system should not be walking through this area. A doctor will tell a cancer patient to avoid kids that just had a vaccinations. The biggest risk is TB, the vast majority of the homeless populations has some form of TB. I had a friend that was a plumber for the CTA who contracted TB from working in a public restroom that many homeless used. Any sidewalk that is less that 7 feet can not have a tent blocking the right of way as this makes the sidewalk not accessible for a wheelchair. So if you are encouraging these homeless to setup camp at Foster, Montrose or Ivring Park, you are breaking multiple city, state, and Federal Accessibility Laws regarding the rights of the handicapped for access. More to follow:

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  47. A part of the issue with the homeless is the availability of cheap rot gut booze & malt liquor. I see them staggering drunk by 10AM under Lawrence viaduct harassing students walking to school for spare change.

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  48. Mark, I am not imagining things. I drive through Lawrence once a day and bike or run through there 4 times daily. I know all the face of these folks at Lawrence. I know all the character along the bike path. Like the guy who frequents the soccer fields by Cricket Hill and is sometimes at the baseball diamond just south of Lawrence. This guy is definitely dangerous to children and is the one who is always looking to steal someones bag. I think last fall I use to see a guy that kind of looks like you with some girl with short black hair at Lawrence. The women who was vomiting all the time (last fall)(who nearly hit my kids with vomit)was a blond heavy set women with a very red face. She seemed very troubled. Then there is the old guy with the gray beard and two or three younger guys that hangout on the north sidewalk on the lake side (east)these guys like to get the party started about 1:30 pm as they are hitting the bottle really good every time I see them. I have also seen them harassing pedestrians. Then their is the heavy set black gentlemen who use to hang by the north side of the golf course. He has now relocated to the Margate foot tunnel, in the afternoon he is on the park bench just south of the field house, he is often grabbing at the air and some times stumbling around the path. Then their is the group on the south side of Wilson west end these guys also like to get the party rolling mid afternoon as I see them on lawn chairs soaking up some rays hitting their 30 ouncer. The tour would not be complete without mentioning the group that hangs by the water crypt (south east corner) Wilson and Marine who like very big bottles of wine and are not ashamed to show it. The north side of Lawrence now has a rat problem, as I see the tent on the west end has a rat trap tied to the guys tent. Lets hope the rat I see in the trap every morning doesn't run away with the poor guys tent. I never speak in absolutes, last fall one of the guys at Lawrence was always sweeping and would always say good morning, he seemed like a nice guy. I want to see these people get help, I don't want to throw them in the lake. Sorry my friend this is not hysterical fear mongering, this is the truth of what is really going on! It is so hard who to believe, is there a open bed somewhere in the greater cook county area? One side says yes the other no? The health issue is real I'm sure if you sampled the ground it would show diphtheria, typhoid and many other diseases. Each one of these individuals case is so unique that it is impossible to speak in general terms, some are harmless, others may be raging psychopaths, that is why we need professional social works examining their individual cases. One temporary fix I proposed was a deal that would see the viaduct and tunnels cleared, and a small area in some unused (and or remote)area of the park setup as a temporary encampment (for 3 months) complete with portapotties and some kind of fresh water system and maybe partials fencing. This way the community at large know it is there, mom with the stroller and kids in tow can avoid it if they so choose. The homeless may feel more secure. Of course the goal is for a permanent housing solution somewhere in the greater cook county area..

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  49. You know Mark if you have looked at all my post I have ever said I hate anyone, you and the so called advocates are calling anyone who dose not agree with your position and or method a haters. Sorry man not taking the bait I want to see these people get help just like you do. The real problem are the politicians who are fighting in Springfield and holding tax payer money hostage. The current situations is not acceptable and we need a quick fix, and then a guarantee of a long term solutions. I dare anyone of you advocate to tell me that there is no drug or alcohol use going on in these areas. The last time I checked that is illegal, and when you mix mental illness and drugs and alcohol this is where we can get some very unstable situations that can become a threat to the community, so if you want to help there cause please go down there today and collect all the drugs and alcohol. Please tell me who is out of touch with reality?

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    1. These 'advocates" not only deny the gang/drug/homeless connection. They flat out will not admit that drugs even exist in the homeless community under the viaducts. They are ignorant at best and are more likely causing these people additional harm in enabling them to stay on the streets.

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    2. Once again, I would like to know why don't the homeless coalitions band together and buy city & govt foreclosed homes and rehab them for the homeless? I'm sure they have the money, or can raise donor money. Maybe they can ask the city to hand over foreclosed properties to rehab.

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  50. Bill gates, I've seen you live, in concert. You were spewing venom at the top of your voice.

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  51. Koovachoo72, I've seen many runners in the street trying to avoid the homeless but I've never seen runners "forced" into the street. The homeless under the viaducts are EXCEEDINGLY careful not to bother passersby. Largely because of this they take some offence when joggers or walkers choose to walk in the street rather than come within 5 feet of them. They rightly take it as a willful, ostentatious snub - and rightly put it down to simple intolerance.
    In the other hand, MANY joggers, bycicalists, walkers, skateboarders, etc. pass through EVERY DAY and commonly say hello as they pass. Church groups come with their babies and toddlers and allow them to mix freely with the homeless 28th no fear at all.
    I'm afraid the only possible conclusion of an objective observer is that your fear is coming from a highly prejudicial animosity - working backwards from "I just don't frickin' like these people".
    Have just ANY of you come down and just tried to meet or get to know any of them?

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  52. C'mon Bill gates, who you crappin'? You just wanna get rid of these people. You go on and on about your poor self, about how you're so victimized just because you have to share a planet with them.
    Simple tolerance is the first thing. Everybody's not like you, doesn't have to be and couldn't be if they wanted to.

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  53. bill gates, just listen to yourself, e.g., "... some may be raging psychopaths..." c'mon. The biggest word in the English language is "if", what "if". The possibilities are endless. If there is a raging psychopath then, of course, remove him (or her). There aren't many postal workers in the encampments. Of all the mass shootings we've had since I've been hearing about them I don't think ANY were commit by homeless people. It's just plain hysteria.
    The homeless, on the other hand, are the most vulnerable population and might themselves in considered in constant danger and mostly from haters, teenage haters, usually, that wanna bash up or even kill a few because their elders told them they (homeless) are filthy, subhuman scum.
    You won't convince you're not just trying to have them locked away. The problem is much more complex than would warrant such a solution IF you respect the homeless like people or have genuine consideration for their well being.

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  54. americanlt, I do KNOW that isn't true. Lawrence viaduct are probably the most careful and most sober of all. That is just plain FALSE. Lawrence has the most employed people (most of them for a guy who takes great advantage of them, grossly overworking and grossly underpaying them). They leave for work about 4am and are back about noon and do, not uncommonly, sit outside one of the guy's tents tossing a few (beers) back and conversing but I don't think I've ever seen any of them really drunk. Perhaps a little schnockered but never really drunk.
    They have their own money (not enough to rent anything, they are criminally underpaid but don't need anybody to by their beer for them) so they don't need to bother anyone else for it.
    Anything else is just made up nonsense, plain hysteria.

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  55. I happen to know a lot of what you are saying is just not true. It's imagined or made up. I know EVERYBODY at Lawrence and most people at Wilson. At Lawrence there is maybe ONE bad drunk but he's real young and foolish but pretty harmless. The others were as I described, just tossing a few back after work - which is pretty early in the day by most people's schedule but their day begins way before dawn.

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  56. Anyway, as far as "raging psychopaths" are concerned, the homeless don't want to live near them any more than anyone else does - and they would be more endangered by it as they don't have any front door. They would get rid of somebody like that from their presence.
    But, alas, they are a phantom of your imagination.

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  57. You see Mark just tossing a few back after work on the street or in the public park is illegal, as is hitting the crack pipe or shooting heroin. I can't do it, I will get a ticket or possibly go to jail. From what I have seen the vast majority of the homeless in these areas have a substance abuse issue, they don't want to comply with the rules of the shelters and or try and get treatment. (I said vast majority, not all, I have seen some trying to keep the area clean and some seem friendly.) At this point why would any of the ones that have a substance abuse issue want to go to a shelter when they have a group of people who feed them bring them tent and are enabling their behavior. Like I said before each one of their cases are so unique, are you homeless because your job was outsourced, you had a bad car accident and medical bills you could not pay, divorce, home was foreclose or just some back luck, this group would seem to be the easiest to help get back on their feet provided they don't have a substance abuse issue or mental illness. If they do have issues as mentioned then they really need professional help which tax payer have paid for already. With the way the politicians of both parties have screw this country up this is what we get. We have money for bombs bullets and banker bail outs but not a few dollar to help someone in need, at the same time they have to want to try and help them self. Just wondering how much work do you so called advocates do at the actual brick and mortar shelters. If there are security issue then bring it out, lets get it resolved, problem with beg bugs lets get it fixed. Lets get the problem fixed at the source and not propagate it to the parks and viaducts that have no sanitation or heat.

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  58. Yet another issue is the awful smell that these vagrants create under the viaducts. Many years ago Chicago had a Vagrancy law required every person on the street to have a minimum amount of money. They need to bring it back.

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  59. bill gates, you make a lot of irresponsible statements that are the most careless, irresponsible form of slander as well as their being wild accusations much of the time.You've made such accusations about me as well as others. One guy, for example, you say he hangs around softball diamonds so you decide he's stealing bags. Now, you don't know this at all, I guess you think he just looks like a thief or you've decided ALL homeless have to be thieves because you're terrified of them , but, although you don't know and have no reason to suspect this about him you decide to make the accusation anyway, just in case. You don't think that's just a tiny bit bigotted? What if someone applied the same logic to you? You would be rightfully outraged. You've said similar things about me (amnd I still have no idea what youwere referring to if you didn't make the story up out of whole cloth, and others.
    Broadbrushing the homeless as substance abusers is not dissimilarly irresponsible. There are, of course, living examples of that as there are of all stereotypes but the homeless are about as varied a group as any other. As familiar as I am with ALL the people at that viaduct, I already know the statements you made about the drinking and bothering of passersby on Lawrence avenue are flat out untrue and I would have to consider it much too charitable of me to say anything other than that they are entirely made up. I showed some of those comments you made to some of the people there this morning and they were just incredulous. They're seeing they are the target of a slander campaign.
    As far as tossing a few back after work, it may be illegal - for them - but only because, to paraphrase Victor Hugo, "The law, in its infinite wisdom, has seen to it that neither a rich nor poor man can steal a loaf of bread, sleep under a viaduct or urinate in an alley."
    The law, of course, is not infinitely wise and doesn't provide for unforseen circumstances such as homelessness and is made by the privileged and generally made for the comfort and convenience of the privileged and without much consideration for those who are not.
    In any case, tossing a few back after work is not, I'd wager, a right you would deny yourself. People who have had it made really shouldn't say too much about people who have to make it on their own.
    And as far as not being hateful, what is one to make of statements such as this?
    "Bill Gates succinctly states what I was trying to say. The Gangs are here, because the bums/addicts/mentals are here. Period. We dump the derelicts and the Gangs will move on. Cappleman/Rahm need to grow a pair and drop the hammer on the Non Profits, profiting off of Uptown."
    All the malice and illogic of bigotry.

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  60. What you all don't realize is that if you expel the homeless from the viaducts all that happens is that they then are scattered throughout the park and neighborhood.Well, bill gates, you say you are concerned for the homeless and I believe you've said something to the effect that you would like to see the homeless under the viaduct housing where they can drink, get high, be crazy and get the care and services that they need.
    You know what? We agree with you, and Cappleman and Osterman both agree with you. The two alderman are on record expoundingat great length on their commitment to such a solution that is along the lines of this http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/housing-first-solution-to-homelessness-utah.
    But then, bill gates, you have to give us credit because if hadn't stood firm and not aloud the encampment to be swept away and all the homeless within to be scattered and dispersed it wouldn't've and couldn't've happened. This talk by the aldermann is fairly recent and the mayor still needs to get on board.
    You're gonna have to prove you really care like you say you do, however, and are not just blowing smoke to soft pedal an extermination or erradication or "urban cleansing" (from the term, "ethnic cleansing' only founded on economic class rather than nationality) policy and you're gonna have to be willing to wait for it. Because if those homeless get scattered far and wide to roam the city and neighborhoods looking for trouble and a place to lay their heads in who knows what distant spot, it'll never happen - and if you would be satisfied with that then you will have been lying about caring about them after all.
    So let's work together on this as we say we have the same goal - and we'll be, as Ralph Nader would say, unstoppable.
    There is a matter of displacement from the neighborhood. The homeless in Uptown chose to be here for a reason, I know saome personally who are refugees from the violence of the South and West Sides - something else you might want to write Rahm about. One is 35 years old and had been shot FOURTEEN TIMES in his life. Some have no doubt that if they are made to return to those areas they would be shot and quite possibly killed not long after. Needless to say, any solution that returns them to those neighborhoods is unacceptable to them.
    Prove then, bill gates, that you really do care about these people and are not just trying to get rid of them by willingness to share the neighborhood with them. Nobody is trying to P you O, bill gates, they're only trying to make it. Expelling and evicting people is not a way of caring .

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  61. One reason the "housing first" approach is so necessary is because homelessness is as much the cause as the symptom of the personal problems, like mental illness or substance abuse, that are associated with it. Sometimes it is exclusively the cause other times it is, cyclically, both cause and symptom. It was found among mental health professionals that to treat the homeless mentally ill at all effectively it is first necessary to get them housing. Almost all homeless people go somewhat nuts from being homeless (and if you don't believe me I'd invite you to try that life for a while and see what happens).
    Some homeless people become depressed, some may talk to themselves, others may drink to much, etc. I've heard the "housing first" approach called "harm reduction" housing.

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  62. As far as "tossing a few back after work" being illegal, it certainly isn't illegal for everybody. I'd invite you to visit any of the softball games in the park in the summer, at least down by North avenue (seems the richer the neighborhood the less illegal it is) and look in the blue, recycle bins. That's easily $40 worth of aluminum - for each of two guys - my friends would have almost every night and the cops wouldn't DREAM of busting the Lincoln Park yuppie picnic where Pinot Grigio is drunk from wine glasses and some attendees do, in fact, get quite tipsy.
    Most people, including cops and local politicians, have the worldliness to know,on some level, that the law is not always just and use their digression to tolerate some violations of it.
    It is, in fact, illegal to smoke in the park now but that isn't enforced and I suspect it never will be as I think the public wouldn't take it.
    I agree that selective enforcement of the law has a discriminatory flavor to it and it seems enforcement only against people who are disliked but I'm less concerned if the infractions of the more privileged are those not tolerated.

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  63. Collette Hatchet, you are worried about your property values. Well, the poor and homeless of Uptown were here long before you. You bought a property relatively cheaply because of it and are now looking to sell high by expelling all the poor and homeless from the neighborhood.
    What is the moral kosherness of THAT practice?

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  64. The homeless are not dangerous??? https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160204/rogers-park/homeless-man-charged-murder-of-rogers-park-man-who-befriended-him "We have an addiction. We drink. A lot of shelters won't let you in if you drink," https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160119/bucktown/shelters-crowded-wont-allow-booze-bucktown-homeless-sleeping-outside

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  65. Mark, you haven't mentioned if you lived in this neighborhood. Also, if you think this community is so afraid and unaccepting of them, you are more than welcome to share your back yard with the tent city population instead of trying to shame residents of Uptown.

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  66. As a friend of people who live under them bridges I'm offended by this action. I assure you there is no feces under the bridges and Weiss hospital allows people to use the restroom. Also everyone under the bridge knows families go through there so they keep it clean and stay friendly. As far as calling people mentals, I guess if you for good about yourself for making fun of mental handicaps, you will get no where doing this in front of our congress and aldermen. And also we think this group calling this action is responsible for cars honking their horns at night the disturb the peace and a newer model red car drove by Lawrence and through a beer bottle at an occupant. You guys are also dumping your garbage on the sidewalks under the bridge to make the homeless look bad. Are you proud of yourself for picking on the Chicago homeless. Hm do you? I'm ashamed of you for picking on the defenseless. And riding bicycles on the sidewalks anywhere in Chicago is illegal so I don't know why you concerned about not having enough room to do so. And now the drugs. Yes one or two have habits but I promise you they don't go to Leland lol. Your a dork. Grow up and quit picking on the homeless. You are shameful

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    1. Just because they could use the Weiss toilets does not mean that they choose to use the Weiss toilets anymore more than the choose to use the park district toilets. They piss on the bridge wing walls all the time and it reeks when you walk through those underpasses. I, for one, get tired of seeing guys with their dicks out of their pants taking a leak as I drive to and from my home.

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  67. Letter sent. Thanks for putting this together. There needs to be a better solution for both homeless and residents.

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  68. Mark I never said We dump the derelicts and the Gangs will move on. Cappleman/Rahm need to grow a pair and drop the hammer on the Non Profits, profiting off of Uptown." Some other guy was referencing my post. None of the story I posted are fabricated or made up, I call them as I see them. I agree that scattering them is not the answer. That is why I proposed the park idea as a short term fix. It is safer for the homeless and the local residents. The park system from Foster to Montrose is very big and I would not mind sharing a small part of it with the homeless. As far as the drinking and drug use go, you already have a community pissed off at you and you want to add drunk and disorderly on top of that not a good idea. I have witness plenty of open container enforcement and cooler inspections by CDP I think it is more of a man power issue why you see so many get away with it.

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    1. They don't want their own place out the way. They want to be where people will pass them so they can ask for money.

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    2. If other cities like Dallas can solve the problem and build housing, we can to. Even NYC which is expensive as heck is rehabbing buildings for the homeless.
      There's also an inversion program in NYC where they try to match the homeless with their families; do we have that program? NYC social workers call the family of the homeless and see if they can send them back home. Give them a one way ticket out of town.

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  69. How many of you whining from your condos have lifted a finger to pressure the governor on a budget so the necessary services can be restored? How many of you have written to the mayor asking him to spend the $450 million dollar surplus the CHA is hoarding and replace the low income housing the city has taken away or is in the process of selling to private developers? And you have the cynical gall to claim you have "humanitarian concerns"? If you really care, add to this letter that you demand the restoration of mental health services and the passing of the Keeping the Promise Ordinance.

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    1. Oh, here we go. It's all about putting on a show to get more money for your cause. Wasn't there an Inspector General's report that showed that the vast majority of the money allocated for homeless services goes to administration and very little filters down to the homeless. Isn't it time to stop wasting the homeless funds instead of demanding more?

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    2. Uptown Girl: You need to learn a bit more about the subject. The funds I am speaking of are CHA funds. The report you mention is totally irrelevant to this. I don't want more money for my cause. I want the CHA to spend its money to fulfill its mission. You aware of how Housing Secretary, Castro characterized the situation at CHA???

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    3. As far as State services, the impact of the budget crisis is clear. It is right outside your door. Tell me things have not gotten worse in the past couple years.

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  70. Mark is a few cans short of a six pack, if you know what I mean.

    There is help for people who are looking for it. If they really wanted help then they should accept the rules of the shelter. Instead, they choose to abuse various types of substances. Which is keeping them from gaining assistance to better their situation. That is their decision. As it is now, they choose NOT to follow the guidelines of the shelters that are available to them. They would rather live in their own shit,piss,vomit,etc... so they can abuse what ever substance they want without worrying about getting kicked out of a shelter. Believe me when I tell you. They will NOT be staying where they currently are long term. Too many taxpayers, cops, political people,etc... what them out! You want to call me a bigot or that I'm prejudice of the homeless folks, fine go ahead. I don't care what you or the whinny people under the viaducts think. If they truly wanted help but won't accept it because they would rather booze it up....that's their choice and are open for ridicule. I hope you show your tent buddies this text also. Tell them I personally said, Your not welcome here, move on and get help from the shelters. If they had half a brain and truly wanted help out of their current situation, there is help available. I feel zero pity for these people. Its their choice to live there. But I know it wont be for long.

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  71. I lived in Uptown 6 years but have been away in NYC for 2 years and just returned to my home (which I've owned all along) here in Uptown this week. I saw the tents last night for the first time.

    I understand the compassion and empathy towards the homeless and want to do everything I can as part of this community to help, but having them live in tents under a bridge is not a safe solution. It will lead to more drugs and violence, and will do nothing to help take these people out of poverty and homelessness. They need a safe place where they can sleep and be cared for. I find it unfathomable and shocking that anyone would champion them living in tents under a bridge as a feasible solution to their condition.

    I sent in the letter. This has to be stopped before it becomes even worse, which believe me it will.

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    1. Chris Booker, that is not our proposed solution, to have people live in tents. We are only certain that if the homeless are swept away and dispersed it will be business as usual and their concerns will never be addressed.
      Our proposed solution is the "housing first" method of providing housing with "wrap around services" which the alderman are on board with and bill gates says he's on board with but the mayor is not yet.

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  72. Kenmore kid, of all the shelters mentioned in your letter only one accepts adult men and it's always full. I've shown the letter and the discussion from it to residents of the encampments and they would find it laughable if it wasn't so sick for being so outrageously false and malicious.

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  73. Anyway, tents are not our solution, housing is but we want the rights of the homeleas unmolested in the meantime.

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  74. It is really a mischarachterization of our purpose to say we see tent cities as the ultimate solution. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough about that, that mischaracterization is one objection I have to the above comments. In the meantime, however the stability and protection (and a great concern of unhoused people is of being attacked by hateful people, usually teenagers who learned from their elders to despise the homeless and which happens quite frequently in some parts of the city if not so much on the North Shore) of a camp community is a good thing in lieu of other options and, in general, the homeless don't deserve to be harassed and made into refugees in flight. If the homeless are swept away from the encampments they will be dispersed, less visible and we feel their concerns will not be seen as so urgent and will not be addressed.
    I believe I said in an earlier post responding to bill gates' saying he, in effect, agreed with the "housing first with wrap around services" approach that we and the aldermen - but not yet the mayor - are in favor of that we are that much on the same side but that he's gotta prove he wants that by being patient and not trying to sweep the homeless away - because if they are their concerns will be forgotten and the plan will never be implemented.
    I just continued to argue after making that post because I was so apalled by the dishonesty and maliciousness of so many of the comments.

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  75. How about offering them 1 way Grey Hound bus tickets to Florida, Texas, New Mexico, ect..? It would solve the issue here and they can live in tents year round with nicer weather?

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  76. You're right, my bad bill gates, that was another guy but I'm afraid I know EVERYBODY on Lawrence pretty well and know what you said about their drinking parties, for example, isn't true. There is, in fact, very little drunkenness at Lawrence. I would say folks there even drink less than the general population.
    In general, Bill gates, you make very , seemingly willfully, irresponsible statements, accusations without foundation and no small embellishments and twists of the truth and maliciously so, it seems, which the people of the encampments, for some, don't appreciate after my showing them to them.
    But your idea of parkland for a temporary fix is a sound one but I do fear somewhat it could become a permanent. The very visibility of the current camps is a spur to policy makers that the problem be adequately addressed.

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    1. Mark,

      You're still dodging my questions (copied below for ease of access). It's obvious you don't live in the hood, if you did, you would have first hand knowledge of the direct connection between the gangs==>homeless==>1/2 way homes. I see it every day on my block, so stop yer preaching. Your a soft bigot that profits off this malaise. People like you are the problem.

      What is your solution here, or are you OK with the status quo? Are you aware of the direct correlation between gang violence and homelessness (the gangs are fighting to sell drugs to the homeless in Uptown and the Mentally Ill in housing in Uptown)? You're OK with all of this?

      If the tent city status quo is your aim, do you profit from this arrangement (As in is it your paying job to ensure this situation continues?)? Additionally, do you live in Uptown? Please advise

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  77. What we need is for the City of Chicago to step up and create publicly funded homeless shelters with supportive services onsite. We also need for the city to relentlessly shut down any current homeless shelters that aren't up to code, provide unsafe or unsanitary conditions, or that take advantage of these people be making them listen to a sermon before giving them a meal. We also need to adopt a "housing first" initiative so that people on the street can get housing BEFORE can are expected to deal with their addiction issues. It's almost impossible to heal an addiction or get a mental issue under control when you are sleeping on the street and not getting adequate sleep. Here is what Dallas is doing: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/20/tiny-home-dallas-homeless-housing-first-strategy

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    1. Does anybody know why the Homeless Coalition groups don't get together and buy some of the city or govt foreclosed homes and rehab them for the homeless?

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    2. We need the City of Chicago to stop concentrating the vast majority of the services offered to the indigent and low income into one neighborhood. Their are poor and homeless that arise from all neighborhoods in the city, yet the city does not provide services to them in all neighborhoods. They concentrate the services in a few communities, with Uptown being the service mega center. Why? Alot has to to with the politics of homelessness. The homeless advocacy groups want all the homeless congregated into a voting bloc that they can control. And, the political party loves it when the North Side politicos deliver the homeless vote to their political candidate of the year. And, City Hall has a win-win situation when they take the portion of city improvements that should go to Uptown and distribute them to other aldermen while taking the homeless and low income services that should go to other alderman and delivering them to Uptown. They come off looking like saints when really they are manipulating the situation in a very bad way for the homeless and the neighborhoods. Sadly, that means that people have to move to Uptown or one of the other targeted neighborhoods to access most services. That is why you see people on the CHA housing wait list for years and years and years. They refuse to accept housing that is offered to them in neighborhoods that do not have a full range of services. They live illegally in CHA units with families or friends while they wait for a preferable opening in Uptown, which can take years because it is the high demand neighborhood that has the most freebies. Alternatively, they can move into a homeless lifestyle in Uptown so that they can live near the freebies prior to getting into housing here. Where else can the go to get the full smorgasborg of free food programs, clothing programs, medical programs, childcare programs, drug programs, etc all in one place? Only Uptown. In short, if they - they city leaders by policy and the advocacy groups by politics build it, they will come. Now, the sad thing is that studies have shown that forcing people - particularly the mentally ill, from their own neighborhoods in this manner, leads to more destabilization and it increases the likelihood that people will remain homeless. Why? Because these people have to leave their families, friends, churches, social networks and everything that they are attached to to get state and city services. How sad. This situation is caused by city policy and the city policy is driven by politics.

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    3. They'd love to if you'd give them more money, more money, more money. It's all about the money. Yet, with the city spending $70,000 per year on each homeless person, they still aren't served. And you want to give them more? They want more. How about reading the inspector general's report about the rampant waste of taxpayer dollars on administration and no service. Those of us who watch low income housing units - like Wilson Yard - built with mediocre to low quality materials that cost more than the luxury highrise units built two blocks over on LSD can't justify adding more money to the homeless game. And, it is a game.

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  78. Americanlt, vibrancy laws have been struck down as unconstitutional and rightly so. Criminalizing poverty is unamerican even if it does convenience the intolerance of the privileged. Your personal comfort is not more important than others' survival and "the smell" that is your greatest hardship is easily taken care of if a just solution is sought.

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  79. Kenmore kid, I'd invite you to try it and see if with all the help you say is available you can move of the streets in less than a few years time.

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  80. ThisGirlThinks, have you lost your idealistic naivete or have your vested interests changed because you started making money and bought a property. Now gentrification is a GOOD thing, huh? Now that you have a lot invested in the system.
    Delete

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    1. Yes.
      But then, I've always thought gentrification was a good thing. Where do you think the money comes from to fund homeless shelters and services? I guess you believe it falls out of the sky, along with our mortgages apparently.

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  81. UPDATE: A neighbor of mine went to Cappleman's office yesterday and was told something is going to be done SOON about this issue. Emanuel received over 300 complaints and apparently that was enough to move on it.
    Congratulations to everybody (including the author) that sent that letter out!

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    1. This is good news but let's continue to put pressure on city leadership. Hopefully we can come up with a solution that works for everyone.

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  82. That would be great Koocachoo. I believe they have something like that in New York but the city shelters are a little substandard.
    I heard that the constitution of the state of New York has housing as a basic right. Anyway, I belive that "housing first" was implemented first in New York and it's success there is what inspired Utah.

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  83. Americanlt, that's what I call "kicking the can down the road", literally.
    Florida, according to a homeless person I knew who recently came from there, has 500 private prisons, and who better to keep them stocked than the homeless?
    It's like the old Southern vagrancy laws to keep free labor on the plantations after the Civil War you'll get a lengthy prison term (six months, I heard) for spitting on the sidewalk. I also heard it's felony to sleep outside so as soon as you're released, if you have nowhere to go, you're back in.

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  84. Mark I do believe in the housing first model. Like I said before none of the stories in my post are made up or fabrications. These event really took place and have had an effect on my family, and like I said before not all are bad. Take a look at this link: http://www.guerdonmodularbuildings.com/index.shtml This is the fast modular homes that are cost efficient and code compliant that the city and county should be looking at as fast term semi-permanent type solutions. Every community can do there part and have a few of these structures around. I agree that scattering them is not the answer, as someone who has lived in uptown for 20 plus years and grew up not far from uptown. I can tell you that when you scatter them you will now find them in your hallway or back porch or in your yard. So as bad as the viaduct situations is it can be a lot worse when they start to take to the inner neighborhood. I just hope you advocates are not coercing these folk to stay there so you and advance your political agenda. I hope these people are not going to be harmed in anyway, as well as the community at large. I see a lot of problem, reaction, solution dialectic being implemented, so please proceed with cation so we all can find a solution. As to one of the post regarding bikes on the side walk, kids under 13 are aloud on the side walk and can be accompanied by an adult. At one time some of these viaducts did have a designated bike lane that lead into the main path. Maybe all forgotten now with the tents.

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  85. ThisGirlThinks, where the money comes from, came from and why we have mass homelessness goes like this. We didn't have homelessness in the United States anything like now until beginning with the Mideastern countries nationalizing their oil industries and effecting an embargo in 1973. Then we began to have recessions and that was the final push to move manufacturing out of the cities and then, when Reagan began to remove tariffs, clean out of the country.
    Before manufacturing was the tax base for the cities but now manufacturing is gone so property taxes are now the tax base.
    Also, Reagan removed housing subsidies and deregulated the housing market and that too helped create homelessness.
    That's a funny idea, gentrification pays for shelters, of course, shelters wouldn't be needed without gentrification. Sounds like giving back a tiny portion of what was stolen from the low wage workers and feeling good about it.

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  86. " We didn't have homelessness in the United States anything like now until beginning with the Mideastern countries nationalizing their oil industries and effecting an embargo in 1973."

    Where did you dredge up that bit of complete fantasy Mark?

    Homelessness was -IN FACT- much worse long ago:

    http://calumet412.com/page/13

    Difference then was, instead of enabling the homeless into being picturesque pawns for the agenda you are peddling here, people were encouraged to get out and go to work in an economy that fostered personal growth and prosperity.

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  87. Mark, stop defending the homeless and try to look at those who own property in Uptown. I can't even walk my poodle without being bothered my some vagrant looking for change.

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  88. Mark (AKA Topper) Allan Hull barfs, "I don't live far from the Lawrence underpass." Agreed. He continues, "There is a drug dealer in my building who is dealing to gang members and homeless people." Is this a confession, ace?

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  89. Sid Ishus, it's simple fact if you research the subject. We didn't have recessions - like what we would call recessions now - until the oil embargo and soon after that we had people losing their jobs and living in their cars (if they were lucky enough to have cars) because they couldn't find a job.
    That'd never happened before since the Great Depression. Then Reagan cut out the housing subsidies and you had grandmotherly and grandfatherly old people living out of their shopping carriages.
    There was something done to fix that, seniors get first priority in subsidized housing now and now veterans finally do as well, after seniors.
    Before manufacturing left there were jobs everywhere for the uneducated and unskilled and there was a large blue collar middle class. You could quit a job in the morning and expect to have another one by evening and cheap, affordable housing was everywhere too as manufacturing paid the taxes not property owners.
    That's the only reason Jack Kerouac could live the life he did or the hippy ethos could flourish. People only had to worry about getting high and getting laid and luxurious concerns like the Sexual Revolution were the most important issues.
    Homelessness was a kid's game then and unless you were really stupid or a real bad alky or junky you could ALWAYS find SOMETHING - and even then most times you could.
    Now homelessness is more like the Great Depression, greatly depressing.

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    1. Jack Kerouac's "Beat" years shared more with the angst of the Great Depression and WWII than anything Mark. And his bit of fame was a full decade before the Sexual Revolution....

      As for what you attribute to Reagan...That is complete hogwash.

      You apparently can't discern political pablum from real history Mark.

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  90. Americanlt, I guarantee you nobdy asks for change under the viaducts.

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  91. Housing was, in effect, a basic human right before the oil embargo - and before Ronald Reagan.
    Reagan not only cut the housing subsidies and deregulated the housing market but he also acted to remove tariffs to help manufacturing leave. Then the free trade agreements, WTO, NAFTA, etc. did a lot for that.

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  92. Looks like we have a bunch of "homeless advocates" from Evanston and Oak Park expressing outrage that we residents--condo owners OR renters--of Uptown don't want our front yard of our neighborhood looking like a refugee camp. They want US to host them, US to pay for their services, US to clean up behind them, US to tolerate everything they do because their circumstances are unfortunate. Neither the "advocates" nor the homeless themselves in many instances have any respect for the people who live in Uptown or make a living in Uptown--they view their squatting on a public way as a "right", and damn us for wanting the public way to be PUBLIC--open to all. If someone at a Cubs game took a whiz on the sidewalk, they'd get arrested. If someone pitched a tent on a sidewalk along Belmont, they'd get a visit from CPD to move along. Why should Uptown be treated differently? We've had open arms for years, hosting shelters and social services for the homeless and mentally ill, so that means that when we want to keep Uptown's front yard open and welcoming to ALL, that we're mean and petty? Having those open arms for so long gives the homeless and homeless advocates free license to literally shit on us without recourse? Why aren't these people thanking Uptown for all that we already do, and have done for years, instead of wearing out their welcome by trying to force more weight on the shoulders of a neighborhood that is trying to pick itself up and create opportunities for everyone instead of acting simply as the dumping ground for the problem people for the entire city.

    So there isn't adequate beds for homeless men in Chicago...the homeless advocates need to find funding sources and a location--OTHER than Uptown (maybe Evanston or Oak Park!) to build more capacity. One neighborhood should not carry the entire load, and taxpayers shouldn't have to finance every dime when we're already stressed. So there's still a need to use tents? Fine. Talk with the existing shelters about providing storage lockers for personal belongings, and pitch your tents in a more out-of-the-way part of a park where other people won't be tripping over you...and the Park District should create a permit system that limits the number of tenting homeless in a given area AND requires something from the tenter for the right to tent in Park District public property--maybe picking up trash from that park area. And limit the length of time they can stay there. Otherwise, there are no claims on public land and public ways without the expressed consent of City Council--homesteading for land claims in Illinois was finished long, long ago.

    So please, homeless "advocates", have some respect for the people who actually live and work here and who care for our land and our neighborhood--we have skin in the game and aren't transient--"passing through" not to stay and contribute. If you can't respect us, we sure as hell aren't going to have any respect for you, and that is what you're seeing with the petition to clear the LSD viaduct sidewalks now.

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    1. Bear is right. Property owners are the ones who are suffering and the homeless advocates need to get off their butts, buy some foreclosed property, rehab it and put the homeless in those properties. The easy way out is to give them tents.

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    2. The city has used a leper colony approach to homelessness and mental illness for far too many years. They concentrate services in certain targeted areas so that those in need have little choice other than to move to those area. "Build it and they will come" has been the city hall policy and vilifying those who live in the target areas and complain about the impact on their neighborhood has been the city hall PR game.

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    3. Bear60640! is spot on! Of all the crazy stuff I have sen living in Uptown for 14 years - this is the most ridiculous!

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  93. I got a few replies to my email from state reps. That's encouraging. Something needs to be done to get people off the streets. With all the vacant & foreclosed property in the city, I don't see what the problem is with rehabbing them, turning them into micro apartments and renting them to the homes for a nominal fee.

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  94. I'd like to know why we don't see these advocates of the homeless in the papers or on the local news talking about how horrid the conditions are in shelters? Why don't we see them collecting petition signatures to force the city to clean up problem homeless shelters? I'd really like for them to provide a list of shelters, what the charges are against each shelter, and what we and/or they can do about it so that these homeless people do have a place to go where they feel safe and have a bit of dignity.

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    1. Why don't the advocates fight hard to clear out the gangs from CHA and subsidized housing in Uptown and Rogers Park?

      That would free up plenty of space....

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  95. The "advocates" aren't interested in improving the awful conditions in existing shelters because they're afraid they'll get shut down. And besides, they think they can look like do-gooders by sticking to their agenda of helping the homeless--even if it's with blinders on. They also have a victim's way of thinking--"if I'm hurt, I'm gonna hurt someone else", even if those they're hurting didn't cause the hurt to begin with. And they are so tied up in the agendas of their allies (I'm thinking O.N.E. and others) that they can't do anything beyond one-track thinking and activity without running afoul of those other agendas. Webs of deceit...and social politics.

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  96. The Foster underpass mural is largest public art piece in Chicago to honor Native Americans. It was a beautiful piece of art and an educational tool. With so many homeless now camping in front of it, you cannot even get near it. The American Indian Association of Illinois would like to ask you to find these homeless people shelters away from the mural.

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