Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Parking Required for New Condos?

Nursing home could become SRO

Hmm, not enough parking to develop 1470 W. Carmen into a condo? Uptown Update can think of at least six buildings converted to condos in the 46th Ward that have no onsite parking.


  1. This is the stuff that makes me mad as hell. Shiller can give a zoning variance.

  2. Conversions don't need anything but new construction does have some requirements and yes an alderman has great control over "administrative adjustments" (they don't call them zoning variances anymore).

  3. Well whatever they are called. She's full of crap on this one. All we need is more SRO in Uptown.

    We need term limits in the City.

  4. Yes I voted. I vote in every election.

  5. I guess she wants to make sure the area up there doesn't turn into Andersonville.

  6. Actually it is not really a "conversion" as such. Taking a nursing home and turning it into condos is a little different than "converting" a 6 flat where no walls are changed and the exterior walls of the units remain the same.

    An alderman can not stop a condo conversion under current ordinance. Although, Im sure many would like to and have proposed changing the law.

    That being said there could be an adjustment to meet the needs of the condo conversion.

    The alderbeast clearly does not want that.

    We'll see if her neighbors on Carmen are so thrilled with her next election. Assuming she runs again.

  7. I spoke with the former owners of the Carmen Manor and they had previously approached Ald. Shiller about making that address senior assisted living units that would have market-rate rents. Shiller told them no way, so they sold the building.

  8. I live on Carmen, and I feel like the last thing we need are more condos. Housing is for everyone. Living neighborhoods shouldn't be enclaves. Who is the 'we' who doesn't need the SRO? Obviously, some of people do. But I guess 'those people' should be kept out of sight and out of mind.

  9. I haven't been down by the block in question, so maybe the last poster has a point for all I know. But isn't it fair to say that as a general matter, Uptown already has an over-abundance of SRO's and other entities that attract the homeless and disadvantaged to our neighborhood. I'm not against any of that stuff, but when you have one single neighborhood on the north side attracting the vast majority of it, it becomes too much. It shouldn't be Uptown's job to bear the burden for the poor and homeless of the entire northside. Sometimes I feel as if Uptown is just a big warehouse for the downtrodden. Depressing. In that context, another SRO probably ain't gonna help that much.

  10. I live very close to Carmen Manor, several houses away. Most of the people in the immediate area are opposed to this conversion. We did an online survey and the majority of the people polled have serious concerns.
    We had a meeting last night and 50 people showed up even though news of the meeting was spread mainly by word of mouth.

  11. Uptown does not and will not need more low life housing. And I don't care who I offend. I am tired of the scum in Uptown. Humbolt Park isn't as bad.

  12. The meeting last night reiterated the general sentiment of the posts that I've read online in that no one is talking about the larger social/moral dimensions of this SRO. We talked about building codes, property values, and aired a variety of misguided stereotypes about addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. And, not ONE person explained where "people like that" should go. If you care about poverty and addiction, then maybe confronting your own bourgeois notions of security and comfort is a good place to start.

  13. Matt -

    Why is it the burden of one ward/neighborhood to deal with society's problems?

    I agree that a discussion about where low income people should live is important and needs to take place at all levels of government. The short term solution should not be "put them in Uptown since there are others like them there."

    Why isn't an SRO being proposed in Lakeview, Lincoln Park or even Bucktown? Uptown houses more low income and mentally ill people than any other neighborhood on the north side. Studies have show that concentrations of poverty are a disaster.

    I am aware there is brand new, smartly designed SRO on Clyborn in Old Town on the former Cabrini-Green site. From what I have read, that is a model of what a modern SRO should be like.

  14. Maybe Matt lives in Uptown and my comments are about to be way off base, but here I go anyway.

    There are a lot of people who want to tell us what to do with Uptown, and for the most part they live elsewhere. They jump on the Uptown bandwagon for social services because they don't want them in their own backyard, and then feel good about themselves because the support them in Uptown.

    A lot of Northwestern students do this, they showed up at the Shiller- Cappleman debate as Shiller supporters, they're nice enough, you get to talking to them, turns out they're NW students from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the richest freaking suburb in Michigan.

    I know it's a lot of rambling to get to my point - if you don't live in Uptown keep your nose out of our business. If you'd like more SRO's - suggest they put them in your neighborhood.

  15. Cub Reporter, I just recently moved to Uptown from Lincoln Park and we had this exact same discussion about the overnight shelter and food pantry my church operates in Eastern Lincoln Park (Clark/Fullerton.) The neighborhood association opposed the shelter on zoning grounds but whenever you went to a meeting the "softball issue" to quote one of the leaders from last night, was the social problems which poor people are perceived as creating in lived neighborhoods.

    All of the same arguments were employed, all of the same underlying racism was present, and all of the same general misunderstandings of homelessness were front and center. I don't think the issue is SRO's in uptown because churches, nonprofits, and free standing SRO's operate in all over the neighborhoods you listed providing identical services and I have been present for many of those discussions. It follows a predictable formula of generally white, middle-upper class people saying "Not in my neighborhood."

    I'm a social worker and I have to tell you (without ascribing bad intentions) that I don't think many people in that room last night have ever had a friend who was homeless or struggling with a severe addiction that put them on the street. There was way too much distant generalizing for me to believe otherwise. And in my old neighborhood the only consequence after all the demagoguery and Armageddon like prophesizing was that we have some black folks who push their carts full of aluminum cans down the streets during the day. They don't bother a soul. I'm more worried about some overzealous lawyer/stockbroker who lives on Fullerton attacking the poor then I am the converse.

  16. Social workers don't make good politicians.

    Uptown should not be a haven for all the social services on the Northside.

    And frankly I don't feel sorry for the homeless, addicted and crazies.

    I have a brother that has used mental illness his whole life so he didn't have to work or be responsible. It funny how smart he is when it comes to using the system.

    By the way there is plenty of welfare and assistants for these people already. It's not too hard to get socical security disability and food stamps.

    I go to work to pay my mortgage and put food on my table I shouldn't have be punished for those that are even too good to work at McDonalds or push a brum.

    And I will not let someone try and make me feel guilty for the way I think.

    I guarantee all these people have had someone in the their life that cared and tried to help them but couldn't so they gave up on them.

    It's not my problem.

  17. I should add it's not my problem nor should it be Uptown's problem.

  18. Matt's a social worker, so basically these people are his business, anything that equals less of them equals his unemployment. I have audited many non-profit, social services in my career and found them to ba a joke. They mis-manage money and their clients, but no matter what are findings were the state keeps giving them money becaise it makes them feel better about themselves. If they were real businesses they would have been out of business long ago.

    I love how people like Matt love to throw out the race card. Most of us white-middle class types you refer to were 100% behind Sandra Reed, a black woman in the '99 and '03 elections. Our objections to SRO's have little to do with race and more to do with common sense. We've been around long enough to see the problems they cause. People like Matt live in a fantasy land where they can't see the truth, just look at the number of arrest coming from people who list Uptown social services as their address and you'll see why we are opposed.

  19. Many people are in support of the proposed new residents at Carmon Manor. The vocal naysayers are positioning this building and the proposed use as something it is not. It will not be a standard rent by the month SRO run by a landlord. It will be a home for very specific groups who happen to live in single rooms and a communal setting (half of these residents will be chosing this lifestyle and have a strong work ethic) they will simply live in a place where they go to the bathroom and shower down a hall. Is that what people are afraid of? Geeze... Get your facts straight

  20. Most people that become Social workers are social workers because of the results of trama in their own life. So they get a big feel good by being a social worker. Same thing with the Drunk that sobers up then becomes a Addiction counselor.

  21. sounds like a sex club to me. No one should be sharing a bathroom. We shouldn't allow that in Chicago period.

  22. What we're afraid of is another Hotel Chateau and others like it. It's easy to say it's going to be this or that before it happens. Once it happens and it's run poorly, we're all stuck with it.

    People like Shiller and her follwers don't care, they never hold these people accountable when they become bad neighbors.

  23. I can't understand why the Alderman have so damn much power over things. It's crazy if you ask me. Trust me SRO will be a haven for prostituion and drugs.

  24. I think it's interesting that i'm being personally attacked, psychologized, and ridiculed because I raised a simple question about our collective concern for the poor. That defensiveness was also pervasive last night when I simply asked a few people questions to clarify their position.

    And to respond to the charge that social service agencies are often poorly managed, I agree. But that does not in any way suggest that the work of standing up for the poor/mentally ill/addicted is somehow a joke. It just means that these populations are often underserved by inefficiency.

    I happen to work at Children's Memorial Hospital--a non-profit which is very well managed. The Heartland Alliance is also very well managed and seems to have actually integrated a corporate model into their management structure. Don't paint with too broad a brush my friend. I suggested to the Heartland Alliance that they host a neighborhood meeting in which they explain their management structure, their security policy, requirements for occupants, etc. I think many neighbors would feel more secure if these questions were addressed.

  25. Getting into a conversation about who cares about the poor is clearly not going to get us anywhere. We need to have a meeting with the Heartland Alliance, the Alderwoman, the neighborhood association, and any other relevant parties. Although I support the SRO, I absolutely agree that the process should be democratic and to the extent that it hasn't been, I would agree that we should not proceed until a more open process is undertaken.

  26. I don't think this is a race issue at all. Maybe Matt hasn't noticed, but a crapload of the homeless, mentally ill and addicted in Uptown are white.

  27. I am not attacking Matt I am sure he is great guy and has a fine job and CMH.

    I am just a little tired of Social workers in general thinking they know what is best for Uptown. I say why not LP or LV.

  28. Matt, I appreciate your mostly well thought out posts, although leave out the race card next time. The big point that you're either ignoring or refusing to concede is the notion that Uptown is bearing an outsized share of the "social services" burden. Walk around Uptown a little bit and you can clearly see the effects of concentrating so many poor and troubled people in one neighborhood. It's not a simple matter of dealing with a quiet old man pushing his cart down the street not bothering anybody - it's more like fifteen homeless people and their carts getting drunk on a Thursday afternoon in Challenger Park, terrifying everybody that walks by. It's gang violence and drug dealing that inevitably results when you concentrate so much subsidized housing in a small area. And when you have such an overabundance of SRO's, aid agencies and whatnot, there's bound to be more bad apples in the bunch. You argue that SRO's operate all over the city. That may be technically true but so misses the reality that it's pretty much bullsh-t. Show me one neighborhood on the north side with as many homeless people as Uptown. And Heartland may be the gold standard for all I know, but it's pretty hard to argue that SRO's have been good for Uptown.

  29. To confirm an earlier (the 2nd) comment:

    YES, in answer to the question in the title of your post: Parking IS required for NEW construction.

    But when you CONVERT, you can't take parking away that's there, but you are NOT obligated to ADD parking unless you add units.

    Parking requirments

    In other words, you can have a big old rental building with NO parking for ANY units and convert to condos and have NO parking, as long as you converted 1-to-1. We all know this from our own experience: obvious examples are the many conversions of large court-yard buildings on the N side

    Shiller knows this. She told the News-Star BS and the News-Star printed it.

    Excerpt from News-Star:

    Shiller told residents that she was approached by six or seven developers who wanted to redevelop the site for condominium units, but the property did not have enough parking spaces. The city's zoning code specifies a minimum of one parking space per dwelling unit for new residential developments. The existing lot only has seven spaces. The parking space requirements for SROs is one parking space per ten units.

    "To create anything other than senior housing or an SRO, nobody has been able to come with a proposal that would allow them to have the number of units they would be restricted to, to the amount of parking spaces they can access. (The developers) couldn't make the parking work," Shiller said.

  30. I am not sure Shiller knows that. I don't think she knows the truth from a lie. Much like the peoples homeless and crazies she really doesn't know what is up. She in fact might be hearing voices and talking to herself a lot. For the life of me I don't why she doesn't just go work for some non profit Jewish organization for the indigent.

    Here legacy to Uptown is blight. We should name it Downandouttown.

  31. The building was a nursing home, correct?

    Not an apartment building.

    Shiller probably could block a "conversion" to condos because it was never apartments and likely requires massive renovation and changing of "unit" sizes.

    If I'm wrong.......correct me.

  32. she is the alderman they can do anything they want to period.

  33. Agreed Pirate, probably not profitable to convert 1-to-1 a nursing home to condos, not sure what a building full of studio condos goes for.

  34. Alderman can't do whatever they want.

    Let's say I own an apartment building in Uptown. Let's say it is a rundown courtyard building with 20 units.

    Let's say I keep the number and layout of the units the same and "gut" the building for conversion to condos.

    Any alderbeast can't stop that. Certain alderbeasts have proposed changing the laws but as of yet they can do NOTHING but whine.

  35. It seems to me they have way too much power. And we need about half of the Alderman we have.

  36. Hey, I'm from Bloomfield Hills, MI.

    And I personally think it would be awesome if Uptown were more like the Bloomfields back home.

    Castlewood is a good start...

  37. For those of you expressing your concern for housing for the poor, where were you three weeks ago when the Diplomat on Sheffiled in Lakeview was being put up for sale? Were you in Alderman Tom Tunney's office screaming that he should find as much money ($700,000) out of the annual ward services budget for the poor as he did for the LBGT Center on Halsted? Were you in State Rep Sara Feigenholtz's office just down the street from the Diplomat demanding for funds? Were you criticising the Lakefront Citizen's Council and it's Lakefront Action Coalition (low income acvocacy group) for sitting by and doing nothing as more low income housing was removed from their own Lakeview neighborhood? Were you criticizing Block club leader, Diane Marselek, for commenting in the Skyline News that she hoped it would go condo because anything would be better than the existing low income housing operation? Were at City Hall demanding funds from the Housing Department? Didn't think so.

    I guess your moral conscious is geographically limited to keeping Uptown down and Downtown Up.

  38. Speaking of the infamous Hotel Chateau, why again is that the Uptown block clubs are crossing over the Irving Park line to battle the drug trafficking problem when this problem lies in Lakeview? Isn't this a problem for the Lakeview Citizen Council to address?

    Oh that's right! I remember now. I read their LVCC meeting minutes where they said they voted themselves in charge of all of Uptown's lakefront parks, because the Uptown block clubs were too busy fighting crime. Wonder why?

    While LVCC tip toes through the tulips and plays with the little birdies, we get stuck with the dirty work they unload into the Uptown neighborhood. Thank Neighbors!

  39. Shiller said in no uncertain terms at the community meeting that in order to use Carmen Manor for any purpose than a nursing home, to use it as an SRO, for example, the zoning would have to be changed. We now know that is patently false. RM allows for an SRO, but to have as many residents as the new Carmen manor plans to have, they had to change the zoning. Why tell a lie like that? Why have the powers that be been so secretive about this entire project? Why is it the community has had to pull information out of them?

    The people who support this project assume that if Helen is for it, and H.A. is for it, ergo it requires zero scrutiny and no modifications whatsoever. That strikes me as naive, partisan, and just plain wrong-headed. This proposal, in terms of its financing and the unique combination of residents, is very complex and requires more discussion at the very least.

  40. I think the entire Carmen Manor problem could be defused if the parties involved would put their current plans on hold, and review the history of development plans for this building. There are all sort of rumors flying---I have heard that the owner of the building proposed its use for senior housing but this was rejected by the alderman.

    Let's hear what has been offered, why it has not worked, and what might be done with the building that would allow all parties some measure of peace. The people who live near the Manor are reasonable and deserve, as all people do in my opinion, to have some say in what goes on next door to them.

  41. Concerned resident, I guess I played "the race card" because people continue to relate "gang violence" and "drug dealing" (as you did in your own post) to transitional housing for people living with HIV. Now, maybe in your mind, "gang violence" is a race neutral concept but not for most people. And beyond that, it's patently irrelevant to the existence of a transitional housing center for people with HIV. I know lot's of low income people who are HIV positive (including one of my best friends) and all of the various boogie men which you invoke have nothing to do with their circumstances.

    The biggest issue, as you righly point out, is this perception that Uptown is disproportionately being saddled with these kinds of SRO's. I haven't seen the numbers so I couldn't honestly make a comparative analysis. But, talking about what others are failing to do has nothing to do with whether we are carrying our fair share. That's like saying that European countries should base their funding for the AIDS pandemic in Africa based on how much Bush has allocated. Lincoln Park or Lakeview should not be the standard against which we judge ourselves. How do we compare to Rogers Park or the South Loop or Humboldt Park or Edgewater? Aville is generally very affluent and hardly on the verge of some sort of hostile take over.

    And while I sympathize with folks who seem genuinely worried about this SRO, I am finding the response somewhat hysterical. Heartland is a very credible organization and I think old battles with Schiller are spilling over into this and really muddying the issues. If she is unresponsive then we should address that but do so without invoking "gang violence" and street crime in relation to people with HIV. That's apples and oranges as far as I am concerned.

  42. Matt, there’s really no debate – Uptown IS burdened with a disproportionate share of SRO’s, assisted living facilities and subsidized housing, and there is a tremendous amount of blight as a result. Now you make a good point that an HIV transitional living center is a separate species of SRO from the typical one that we associate with gang violence and neighborhood blight, so to attack Heartland basis on that basis seems unfair. I’m with you on that. But here’s the thing – it IS fair. In my mind the two issues are linked. At a certain point it is entirely reasonable to say “screw it, not another friggin SRO and I don’t care what kind it is.” This is reasonable because it’s not about the effect or non-effect of any one SRO on the community, but the fact that we have an alderman who has almost singlehandedly turned Uptown into a mecca for social services to the detriment of its economy and quality of life.
    And it IS fair to look at the neighborhoods surrounding us and ask why we seem to be shouldering their burden. I frankly don’t understand your Bush/Europe AIDS comparison (because it makes no sense). What is Uptown in that analogy? Albania?

  43. > Shiller said in no uncertain terms at the community meeting that in order to use Carmen Manor for any purpose than a nursing home, to use it as an SRO, for example, the zoning would have to be changed. We now know that is patently false. RM allows for an SRO

    Folks might be surprised to know how widely SROs are allowed. The zoning re-write of 2004-5 liberalized the restrictions on SROs and built in some generous density bonuses for SROs.

    SROs are permitted by rights in RT4, RM, and B2 districts. SROs are allowed as a special use in B1, B3, C1, and C2 districts. SROs are prohibited in RS (single-family home), RT3.5, and C3 districts. The gist is an SRO can potentially go in pretty much any area where residential is permitted, except for SFH areas.

    Residential Allowed Uses

    Business and Commercial Allowed Uses

  44. From the News-Star:

    "The two organizations are seeking to upzone the property from RT-4 to RM-6, which allows for greater density."

    In terms of uses there are no differences between RT4 and RM6. RM6 allows them to cram in more than THREE TIMES the number of residents as RT4.

    Bulk and Density Standards

  45. > The building was a nursing home

    I see your point, IP.

    But our zoning code is pretty much agnostic as regards to rental apt, condo, nursing home room. It regulates "residential units" with respect to land area.

    Based on your point I strongly suspect the nursing home was non-conforming, that is, it was home to more folks than were technically allowed under the existing zoning RT4, is why they can't really convert 1-to-1.

    From the News-Star: "... the building's 65 units ... "

    1470 W Carmen Ave

    Property Index Number: 14-08-304-046

    7,003 sq ft land

    1466 W CARMEN - thin vacant lot to E

    PIN 14-08-304-047

    3207 sq ft land

    10010 sq ft land total

    Under RT4 (existing) this would allow

    10000/1000 = 10 condos

    10000/500 = 20 SRO units

    Under RM6 (proposed)

    10000/300 = 33 condos

    10000/135 = 71 SRO units max!

  46. I also take your point that converting nursing home rooms to condos 1-to-1 is of course not practical. But for Shiller to claim no developer could make conversion of this building (even at just 10 condos) work seems misleading at best.

  47. It's very interesting that when the word "SRO" becomes involved, everyone starts screaming about the fact that 1470 Carmen is part of Uptown--yet during the election lots of folks were accusing Ald. Shiller of NOT living in Uptown because she lives in that same area, bordering on Andersonville. Yet another local political paradox.

    HIV-positive supportive housing and intentional community housing? sounds like about the most innocuous SRO on the planet. It will probably be much less of a problem than any college dorm is, not to speak of the transient hotel-type SRO.

    I live two blocks from the site and support the plan.

  48. sorry

    10210/135 = 75 SRO units max

  49. Concerned resident, the point of the analogy (whether you understood it or not) is that your contention that Uptown is shouldering an unfair burden is based on comparison to other neighborhoods. What neighborhoods are you comparing Uptown to? You continue to mention LP and Lakeview and if they are your standard for comparison then I would agree that Uptown houses more SRO's. But, if your basis of comparison were Hyde Park or Wicker Park or Rogers Park, I think your case falls apart completely.

    You have some normative idea about how many SRO's are reasonable which has nothing to do with the effect they are having on the neighborhood (as you concede in blindly opposing this one . . . "Not one more SRO" as you state.) Until other neighborhoods like Lakeview "catch up" you don't think we should take any more. And I just disagree with you on that. I think the criteria should be how they are affecting the neighborhood, what values they promote, etc. rather than simply opposing SRO's on the basis of numbers.

    There is also a difference of values in this debate. You see an SRO and call it "blight" I see it as something far different. It might not be a beautiful new condo but it is a place where people turn their lives around and I will choose that over any fancy commercial development. You and I might just have different values on this point, which are not going to be bridged. We probably have different ideas about what a vital, thriving neighborhood looks like. I do appreciate your well thought out comments though, they have helped me to understand your concerns and the worries of others in the neighborhood. Take Care.

  50. I am very encouraged by the discussion about SROs and similar housing in Uptown. The community needs to have a frank conversations regarding what type of housing is needed in Uptown and surrounding communities.

    Personally, I think that a well-run SRO can be a good neighbor. SROs can provide a vital need to people whose lives are in transition. Saying that, I believe SROs are a form of transition housing for individuals, not a place to spend years or decades.

    Unfortunately, I have had negative experiences with three SROs in particular (Wilson Club Hotel, Hotel Chateau and Aragon Arms). Wilson Club Hotel houses at least 11 registered sex offenders, which is across the street from the child care program at Truman College. The upkeep of these facilities is poor - at least externally. I can only imagine what the condition is like inside. From what I can see of the Wilson Club Hotel from the L, it doesn't look pretty.

    There are some well-run SROs in Uptown, but since they don't cause problems, they aren't noticed.

    A group like ONE or the block clubs should organize a discussion of housing in Uptown.

  51. Look we don't need anymore SRO or transient housing in Uptown period. End of Story. If you all are so caring then take some of these homeless into your house.

  52. Matt, I never mentioned any other neighborhood by name, but I am thinking of those neighborhoods that surround Uptown. Geography matters, and when you see the drastic difference in streetlife between Uptown and every single neighborhood that borders it, it makes you wonder.

    My idea about how many SRO’s are reasonable has everything to do with the effect they’re having on Uptown. The effect is a disproportionately high number of residents in the Uptown who, face it, don’t contribute value to the neighborhood. Of course there are exceptions and a whole range of responsibility and maturity, but for the most part I see a whole “fringe” population who are just sorta “maintaining” and living their day to day lives, which is pretty easy to do in Uptown because of all the social services. But their day-to-day lives come at the expense of quality of life of all others in the neighborhood. Now if I saw more forward progress and “success” (whatever that means) related to all the social services in Uptown, maybe I’d feel a little differently, but it really does feel like Uptown is essentially a warehouse for all the people other neighborhoods didn’t want. It’s the warehousing that’s the problem.

    I know Uptown has been a welcoming place for the downtrodden for a long time, and I respect that tradition, but when you overrun the neighborhood with SRO’s and other facilities, that segment of the population come to dominate the area in a way that isn’t healthy for the neighborhood, and probably doesn’t help them make forward progress in their own lives either. All it does it help maintain a status quo of alcoholism, vagrancy, petty crime, and pissed off condo owners.

    I hope that explains a little better my basis for thinking another SRO – of any kind – is the last thing Uptown needs.

  53. There is a large courtyard building that went condo a few doors down from Carmen Manor, less than half a block and it has at most a couple of spaces in the back.

    Also, Carmen Manor has 45 rooms. They are planning to put 65 people in those 45 rooms.

  54. > large courtyard building that went condo

    If this is such a great proposal why are lies being told? Condo conversion can't possibly work, fictitious parking requirements. Shiller hurts the cause by lying to her constituents.

  55. While I understand your overarching point about social service saturation, I don't agree at all that this infrastructure helps "maintain a status quo of alcoholism, vagrancy, petty crime." You act like having a social service infrastructure somehow perpetuates these ills by having more poor people in close proximity to one another. In other words, that these populations would be better served by being divided up. I think they would be better served if every community was making an investment in creating a social infrastructure for low-income people. But, I certainly don't think that simply breaking apart pockets of people who are utilizing the same infrastructure has some therapeutic value unto itself. Especially, when you concede that other neighborhoods have not made similar investments and thus don't have infrastructures which could support them.

    More to the point, how many people who are opposing this SRO spend time trying to pressure other neighborhoods to expand their social service networks? If folks are upset with Schiller opening Uptown to these SRO's then why don't they use their considerable influence to pressure other alderpeople to make a commitment similar to Schiller, which would inevitably lessen the burden on Uptown? Just read some of the posts on these pages or talk to folks at these meetings--a considerable number simply say "It's not my responsibility. I have a job. We already have enough SRO's" And I wonder how many of them supported all the previous SRO's before they started utilizing this line that we have too many. From my experience in LP, any SRO is one too many.

    This sentiment is pervasive and reflects a deep ignorance about homelessness/mental illness/ and addiction. Rage gets misdirected onto the poor themselves when it should be addressed at the systems which largely perpetuate the creation of social misery. But, that is very difficult work, and far less gratifying then pretending that you or I (because we have jobs and pay taxes) are just higher creatures.

    It would be sheer political correctness to deny that many people's concern about poverty is all talk. When it comes to actually committing financial resources, time, political influence, etc. to alleviating poverty we see the lie behind all the rhetoric. Imagine if instead of opposing this SRO our community organizing was committed to systemically pressuring adjoining neighborhoods to take on more SRO's themselves. How many of us say we care about poverty but then purchase flat screen TV's, second/third houses,etc. but have never made a charitable contribution to an anti-poverty organization?

    This issue is a lot deeper than a pragmatic concern about social service saturation. It speaks to economic privilege, materialism, attacking symptom rather than cause, and a whole bunch of other crap that you and I could argue about for days.

  56. The Federal Fair Housing Laws requires all communities to be open to the disabled, including the mentally ill. Here, Chicago has exhibited a pattern of using its funding programs to concentrate low income housing – ie. disabled housing -- and services for the mentally ill and disabled into a virtual leper colony called Uptown. Their City Housing Plan always reflects the breakdown by Northside, Southside, Westside, etc. Yet, virtually all the Northside contribution is geographically provided within just a few blocks in Uptown. The result is that persons who become disabled or encounter mental illness must move to the “leper colony” gain ready access those services. Doesn’t that bother anyone in the social service community?

    Groups like Equip for Equality and the ACLU fight to close institutions so that persons may be placed in least restrictive community settings. However, as they do this, they know that for 30 years community treatment has not been anywhere near adequately funded, thus those persons will not stay on their meds, will become subject to abuse, and will, perhaps end up in the Illinois defacto mental institution, i.e. JAIL. Meanwhile, as that uncared for person spirals downward, someone could be harmed. Do citizens of Uptown have an obligation to be the social and perhaps actual punching bags for this screwed up system

  57. Matt, since you work at Children's Hospital in Lincoln Park,did you fight to keep the Diplomat on Sheffield and are you fighting to open the new supportive living facilty for 105 elderly that the homeowners on Melrose oppose? Seems they are in greater opposition and in greater need for low income housing than we Uptowners.

  58. Matt, your comparison of the issues in Lincoln Park and Uptown are way off base. I lived at 531 West Deming - within a block of the Catholic church overnight shelter in Lincoln Park. Then I moved and have lived 15+ years in Uptown among the numerous shelters operating here.

    While living at the Lincoln Park location, which was in the same 23rd Police District, I never saw what I've seen here in Uptown on a regular basis. For example, parks being used as toilets, persons passed out on the street from drinking and left there, naked individual roaming the streets with their social service agencies stating that they did not have to take them back in because they walked out on their own (while still continuing to cash their assigned SSI checks), a drug dealer on Agatite acting as the designated SSI check recipient for homeless persons and doaling out drugs with the proceeds,a mental patient chasing dog walkers on Kenmore with a butcher knife while police stated that there is nothing they can do about it, a mental patient shoving my pregnant neighbor down a flight a stairs while the police stated there is nothing they can do about it, a mental patient beating my neighbor to a pulp at a bus stop for no reason, and while the police stated there is nothing they can do about it.

    You don't see these events because the authorities refuse to document them. They make sure there is never a paper trail - no incident reports, no perpetrator's name disclosured (medical privacy you know), no protection for community members. We just pay the property damage and medical bills.

  59. Matt, we're not all social workers here, and we don't all need to be. I applaud your occupation but it's not everyone's (or even anyone's) "duty" to build a social services infrastructure and/or ensure that such structure is equitably distributed throughout the city. In other words, get off your high horse. Property owners, and all taxpayers for that matter in Uptown have been royally screwed by the fact that seemingly 99% of the social services for the north side of chicago have been situated in our neighborhood. I'm sorry, but if you can't see how that is causing the neighborhood to suffer, then there's really not a whole lot more I can say to you.

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. I wish I had never even mentioned that I was a god damn social worker because that is so irrelevant to the points I am trying to make. My point is that your opposition is short-sighted. And to the naysayers I have been involved in the discussions in LP. My church was front and center in those disputes and we fought tooth and nail to keep our shelter open against our entire neighborhood and we won. I don't need to justify my credentials to any of you people because you don't know me. And yet you assume that I think i'm some sort of higher creature, which i've never implied.

    You are conceding that it's not your responsibility to care about where the people in this SRO will go if they cannot find a home in Uptown. Spare me, the high horse crap. That's a product of your own defensiveness and has nothing to do with me. You're saying it's not your responsibility to care and that's an entirely respectable position and one I sympathize with. My point from the beginning is that I find it short-sighted. Saying "Not in me neighborhood" does not begin to address the larger underlying issues. Being an advocate for a cause like poverty is very different than occasionally opposing SRO's which will supposedly affect the quality of life within a given community.

    I have not questioned anyone's sincerity in this discussion specifically--I have merely said that I think a lot of people opposing this SRO are not terribly sympathetic to the plight of poor people. And I still very much believe that. It would be nice to be able to argue my convictions without others assuming I am a hypocritical, holier than thou social worker. That's a nasty way of conducting what was once a civilized discussion.

  62. Oh, and per my point about sympathy for the poor. Check the front page of the website. There is a homeless man sleeping on the street and a cute headline making fun of his despair. But,we're all sensitive to his situation, right? Some of us have the privilege to joke around but I guess pointing that out makes me holier than thou.

  63. Matt, let's get our issues straight. The issue at hand is NOT eliminating homelessness throughout Chicago, as great as that would be. The issue is why we have an alderman who seemingly is doing everything she can to bring as many homeless and other marginalized segments of society as she can to one single neighborhood.

    And about the latest "man sleeping outside Aldi" post - gimme a break. When you have to deal with this shit everyday, a little humor to vent your frustration is JUST FINE. Also, the point of that post has more to do with the Aldis than it does the unfortunate soul sleeping outside it.

  64. Matt pack your bags quick and fast and leave Uptown immediately!!

    Take your cause and the homeless with you as well.

    There is no reason Uptown is the dumping ground for all the homeless and people that just got out of jail.

    I pay a huge mortgage and yes I have more of right to be in Uptown than they do.

    Further they are all so damn mean and disrepectful. Just walk down Sheridan from Lawrence to the Jewel.

    Not anymore in my Uptown.

  65. While I understand and share the frustration of the last poster, I'm not at all sure that such bluster will accomplish much, and only makes us condo owners look like we're a bunch of republicans. And I would suggest also that if you see trouble, aggressive behavior, public drinking - or whatever, call the cops! Call 911, EVERYTIME. I get the sense that many people who post angrily online have never called 911 or done anything except suffer silently with an occasional online venting. I moved here within the past twelve months and have called 911 at least fifteen times, all for legitimate concerns. Part of our tax dollars go to the police, so so long as you don't abuse the system, you should absolutely take advantage of the resource. You think you see what might be some drug dealing? Call the cops. A guy drinking on the corner? Call the cops. See someone sleeping a doorstep across the street from where you live, or maybe even on a completely different street? Call the cops. You get the picture. One, it gives the cops more of an opportunity to do their job, and two, it creates a record that in theory can be used to hold the city (and perhaps in a perfect world, our alderman) accountable, and three, it really can't hurt.

  66. I just wanted to personally thank the second to last poster for his welcome to the neighborhood. And by the way, i'm soooo impressed by the size of your mortgage. I'm sure that compensates for other smaller things.

    And to the poster after him, you're absolutely right to say blustery creeps like that do a real disservice to your cause, especially when there are real productive discussions taking place on this message board.

  67. My Uptown? I just noticed that. So, I guess we have like King George or something living in Andersonville. Fancy living next to royalty. You should leave your address and stop posting anonymously so I can bring over some bread pudding.

  68. Hey, I am just not afraid to say Uptown is full of homeless and crazies and it's rediculous!!! All you have to do is look to other neighborhoods/streets that aren't in Shiller ward and see there is a problem in Uptown. If you like to live in the slums that is fine. But frankly I didn't buy in Uptown knowing Shiller was such a piece of garbarge. I also never had any dealings with her directly until over some developer/condo issue and she had done guess what "NOTHING". It's not my job to call 911 and frankly she also controls them here so calling them doesn't do much good otherwise they would be doing their jobs. Hey in 4 years she won't get back in so I am not that worried and market forces will change the neighborhood. I am not against planned development but we already have enought lower income, homeless shelters and street people in Uptown. Again I was not aware of that either when I purchased here. My bad. If being being a Republican would get us a new Alderman then I would vote Republican. I think it's always funny how either you are a Republican or Democrate. That's what wrong with our system we have to choose a party. BTW the I way voted Democrate in the last few elections. I am not at all impressed with any politicians Rep/Dem they are all full of shit and araid to be a straight talker like I am because they have to get votes.
    I also go out of my way to support local decent business that don't have a bunch of bums hovering around them.
    It takes balls to disagree with people I guess I don't really care if you like me or not because I only speak the truth. The think you all need to keep in mind Shiller is going to do what ever she can in the next 4 years to fuck all our zoing up because she knows she is on her last breath as an Alderman.

  69. by the way do you think all the homeless and indigents in the shelters the ones talking to themselves read this board and voted for anyone other than Shiller. if you do I suggest you might be one of those ones talking to yourself. a lot of people that really truely care about a walking neighborhood feel the same way i do btw the way and I don't have to post anything other than anonymous because I am not hear running for anything and I have nothign to prove and my main point was us that really have invested in the community of Uptown are the ones that are getting the shaft the most.

  70. OK guys, some of the past few comments are starting to make Matt look like the reasonable one. I'm a condo owner in Uptown and agree with probably 80% of some of the most negative comments on this thread, but the other 20% (ususally involves calling someone "garbage") gets us nowhere, and sort of makes the commenter look like a racist yuppie asshole.

    Silly rants aside, any sane reasonable person with eyes and ears can see that Uptown, compared to every single neighborhood surrounding it, is practically overrun with homeless, mentally ill, and otherwise "fringe" type people. For someone like Matt to use words like "vibrant" in the same paragraph as Uptown goes beyond anything I can comprehend. So I can sorta understand the anger his posts on this thread has generated.

  71. I get sorta charged up and let it my mouth flow sorry for that but I agree with the last post. I am not always politicaly correct but I am so tired of people telling me I am wrong on my stance about the state of Uptown and the homeless. And I am the anonmymous poster. Here is a nice way to put it:

    1) We have enough homeless in Uptown that aren't getting social services. ie tonight on the way home from the el they are all just standing around looking for hand outs.
    2) I see people all the time just standing around and yelling at one another across the street. It doens't make it very pleasent to go for a walk. -- these people don't have jobs or programs that keep them busy during the day. So is more SRO and those type of places going to make the hood better?
    3) I saw a guy in front of JJ Pepers on Sunday ask 10 people for a cigarette and he was harrassing everying.
    4) walking the other day I hear "when did you get out?" trust me they weren't talking about High School.

    I would fully support a in treatment psych facility. In fact I know of one that wanted to come here but was turned away by the Alderman.

  72. also:

    My dog even runs from them. So that tells you something if a dog is tired of them.

  73. Isn't putting an SRO for end stage HIV positive guys within a block of a male strip club and bathhouse with a history of problems about as dumb as having a Salvation Army homeless shelter across the street from an Aldi's with a (cheap)liquor license?

    Helen has proposed both of these in the past months and both uses seem to be a little irresponsible from a public health and zoning compatability standpoint.

  74. I'm wondering what led you to the conclusion that 1470 Carmen would be utilized for men with "end-stage HIV?" A transitional housing center for people living with HIV is not a hospice. And truthfully, there's no way you could know intimate information about the medical details of every person's situation anyways.

    I realize that these pesky little "details" don't quite provoke the outrage and irrationality that some deliberately continue to try to inject into the discussion. But, please, let's be accurate here rather than resorting to Armageddon prophesies.