Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No REST For The Homeless

From the News-Star:
"Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th Ward) this afternoon announced a new space-sharing agreement for Edgewater's last remaining emergency homeless shelter.
In an e-mail to Edgewater residents, Smith announced that Epworth United Methodist Church has agreed to keep the shelter in the church's gym at 5253 N. Kenmore, "with changes to reflect the expressed concerns of our office, the church congregation and the community."
Smith also announced that a new service provider would supervise and manage the shelter. Today, the Chicago Department of Human Services fired the Uptown group Residents for Effective Shelter Transitions (REST) as shelter manager." Continue Reading


  1. Now, how do we deal with the People's Church issues.. including constant drug dealing at the corner of Lawrence and Sheridan?

  2. Interesting.

    And, yeah ... kudos to Smith on keeping the community in the loop.

    (is it just redundant, at this point, to mention how Helen never provides information, let alone in email form?)

  3. Here's the e-mail from Mary Ann Smith.

    Dear Neighbors,

    Over the past several months, our community has struggled with the
    potential closing of the last remaining men's emergency homeless
    shelter in the immediate Edgewater area. In this discussion, this
    community that has shown tremendous compassion, knowledge and common

    Epworth church has graciously agreed to keep the shelter in place,
    with changes to reflect the expressed concerns of our office, the
    church congregation and the community.

    There is a new space sharing agreement, heating assistance arrangement
    and a new direct provider, as well as a collaboration between existing
    local service agencies to provide a direct conduit to interim housing
    and social services (such as drug and alcohol case management). The
    goal of everyone involved in this effort is a system that reflects
    best practices in a transparent setting, connected into the community
    it serves. There will be open quarterly meetings to review the progress.

    Epworth will host a community meeting, at the church, to discuss the
    details of the new arrangement on January 22nd at 6:30 PM. Because
    there is no new request in front of the community, our office will
    have a report to the Z&P on January 28th to discuss whether and how we
    should engage in more process on this issue.

    The church is presently preparing a list of tasks that we, as a
    community, can pitch in to do to make this a better facility. We
    expect to have this in hand by the end of the week and will provide it
    to the many people who have stepped up saying that they want to help.

    Thank you so much for your patience and commitment as we worked our
    way through this. More than that, thank you for making me proud of our
    community and our commitment to each other.


    Mary Ann Smith, Alderman
    48th Ward

    I just want to say, that one of your reader's, Tom Mannis, who blogs out of Rogers Park had several posts on his page that said some very unkind and untruthful things about Epworth Church, its pastor, Joe Johnson and the church board.

    As a friend of Epworth this church was under intense financial stress because they could not pay their heating bills. REST for the past three years has ingnored Epworth's financial plight. The church's structure is in dire need of repairs and the church membership could not address these repairs because they were unduly burdened by the cost of the heating bills. This winter, they could not even afford to heat their church on Sundays for their services. Instead they had to use a smaller chapel in the building for their services. REST illegally installed a washer and dryer and flooded out the church library. The church could not afford to replaster the ceiling and had to close that section of the building off from it's members.

    When Epworth asked REST to live up to the terms of the space sharing agreement, REST stonewalled.

    I say good riddence to REST.

    If you were half the journalist you claim to be Mr. Mannis, you would have gotten both sides of the story.

  4. I got involved with this community process and along with others, pushed for the use of best practices and also a requirement that the provider attend & participate with their local CAPS meeting on a regular basis. I was delighted that when decisions were being made, we used a framework to ensure that everyone's needs were identified and addressed.

    In the past, many of these men would return to Uptown and have little to do during the day. This is expected to change with having these men involved in more intensive case management as they get into transitional housing.

    Congratulations to Doug Fraser, Ald. Smith's chief of staff, who went out of his way to avoid any polarization within the community. It enabled the process to go more quickly and had the community more willing to work together.

  5. When was the last time anyone said congratulations to Helen or any of her staff?!?!?
    Ald. Smith proves that solutions can be found and progress can be made.
    Ald. Shiller proves she is....useless...

  6. I have lived in a lot of places and Shiller stands out to me as I remember the worst politician I have ever encountered in my life.

  7. " ... one of your reader's, Tom Mannis ... had several posts on his page that said some very unkind and untruthful things .. "

    please be aware that there are some bozos posting as Tom Mannis in order to get Tom in dutch

    pls maintain a healthy scepticism regarding the mapping between online identities and human beings

  8. Really? This is from Manniss's own website, Dec 4 '08

    Ald. Smith is too polite to tell you this: Rev. Joseph A. Johnson, Pastor of Epworth United, has been working overtime to boot the homeless men out. Johnson is allegedly more interested in padding his congregation with nearby condo dwellers than in carrying out the mission of his supposedly Christian church. The sign out front calls Epworth "A Reconciling Congregation." What it is that the good pastor thinks he's reconciling is a mystery to mere mortals. One wonders how he will reconcile kicking homeless men to the street will be reconciled when St. Peter asks him why he should be admitted to Heaven.

  9. Congratulations Helen Shiller on more than 20 years of poverty induction and oppression of the poor and helpless. Thank you for your continued fight to promote a lower quality of life and for keeping the mentally ill in squalor. And a hearty kudos to your valiant efforts at transparency in government. I sure know where my vote is going in 2011. Viva James Cappleman!

  10. Yes, Hugh, Really is really right.

  11. uh, yeah, mannis' blog is by mannis

    what I was trying to point out was that he has enemies and they are commenting under his name