Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"This Is Not Heartless; It Is Essential"

Ald. Mary Ann Smith and her 48th Ward office staff continue to show compassion and common sense as the saga of the REST Shelter and Edgewater's Epworth Baptist Church continues. In the latest mailing to keep the ward's residents aware of what's going on (what a concept), she mentions that there will be three steps taken to deal with the men who will lose their shelter beds after the first of the year:

1. The number of shelter beds at other shelters will be expanded. A van will stay outside the REST shelter at Lawrence & Sheridan when it's at capacity to encourage those who are turned away to be driven to other shelters.

2. "DHS also is committed to having staff repeatedly visit the homeless who are sleeping outdoors during the winter to try to convince them to accept help and go to an indoor shelter."

3. "Alderman Smith's office will work to ensure that relevant laws, such as the 11 p.m. park closing, are enforced and to have boxes, mattresses and clutter removed from the alleys. This is not heartless; it is essential."

It's impressive that Smith includes the ward's residents in this issue, to the extent of setting up a citizen task force on homelessness and creating a Yahoo discussion board. We can only hope that Ald. Shiller is taking notes.

We're glad that there's one Uptown alderman who's considering the needs of the residents along with the needs of the homeless.

Incidentally, a little bird tells us that the 40th Ward is getting a pretty close look when it comes to providing "other possible sites for the shelter ... not in the 48th Ward," as Ald. Smith's letter mentions.

(You can read the entire text of the 48th Ward's letter to the residents here. Thanks, Edgewater Crime Blotter!)


  1. The 48th ward office is very inclusive, and aware of all
    the residents. The 46th ward office seems to slither about under the radar.

    I know people genuinely like Alderman Smith.....sad to say, I don't know anyone in the 46th who feels that way about Shiller.

  2. Your information about Ebenezer is incorrect -- the building does not have appropriate zoning and cannot house even a temporary warming facility. The congregation did look into hosting a temporary shelter, and that's when the zoning issue was discovered.

  3. I carry an extra blanket, coat, sandwich,wit me when I leave the house.If I pass no one in need I leave it on the train. Little things keep folks warm!

  4. I really am tired about seeing the mass of homeless that have seeemed to make our uptown area their home...It is unhealthy and unsafe to adults and children....If you feel so bad for the homeless people invite them into your home and shut up......