Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anna of Green Gables, or The REST Of The Story

A reader writes:

"I was going thru all the public documents about crime in Uptown and came up with some really disturbing news. Between, Newsworthy Arrests, the IDOC website and good detective work, I put two and two together and came up with drug dealing, prostitution, Uptown Baptist Church and the REST women's shelter.

All summer long I've been badgered by a really aggressive prostitute who has been working the Sheridan Rd corridor. I've seen her working every corner from Lawrence to Montrose, at all hours of the day and night. I've seen her take customers into the infamous Mosa building on Leland when it was still unsecured. Needless to say, she has had a few choice words for me when I have been calling 911 about her "activities." I thought she was just involved in prostitution until I saw this video of her involved in a hand-to-hand drug transaction.

The Classic Exchange from Joe Gray on Vimeo.

Now I know that she has been arrested for prostitution and that she has a name, and an extensive record for narcotics and prostitution.

Anna Green has been staying for months at the REST women's shelter in the basement of Uptown Baptist Church, which leads to so many questions:

Who is monitoring REST's clients? Why isn't the shelter concerned that Ms. Green is outside for hours at night and the early morning? Does REST have any accountability for their clients and the impact they are having on the community?"


  1. i expect this to be a hotly debated post and am curious to see what the community feels.

    Me personally, I do not think that REST is responsible for the actions of this woman outside of the confines of the church. They're just trying to give basic necessities to people who are in need. One organization cannot do everything, they can just do what they can.

    Frustrating I know.

    To be fair, I don't know much about REST and it's practices. Are there any REST organizers on here that can share their policies?

    What else can be done? Would it be harassment to positively loiter in a group around this woman, effectively preventing her from "working"?

  2. I know who this is, and I'm glad she's locked up. She threatened me and pointed me and my kids out to her pimp after I called 911 on her. She was smoking crack right across the street from my house after performing oral sex on the stairway there. The crack was her payment for a job well done. I really got educated about what a "crack whore" is by ol' Anna. I had no idea she stays at REST at Wilson and Sheridan. If that's so, why, exactly, is she out at 2:00 in the morning giving BJs and smoking the glass pipe across from my place?

  3. vitals M?

    (not that there's anything wrong with that)

  4. i've called 911 on her a bunch too. she definitely does point out "watchers" to her pimp.

  5. I think the reader's questions at the bottom misunderstand the role the shelter is trying to play in the community. Its not intended to be a comprehensive service center and they don't make people demonstrate a willingness to turn their life around to get a warm bed and a meal. Some people call this willingness to give without strings basic compassion or Christian love. Others see how this gentle act can enable someone already in a bad situation.

    This woman likely stays at REST some evenings but not on others. She probably follows the rules of the shelter when she is there and doesn't on the evenings when she is not there. What would you do if you were homeless, addicted to something and had no money but knew a fast way to get some? You'd piece it together as best you could.

    Oh how I wish this community could really sit down and address these issues in a productive way!! In my view, both "sides" make fair points. If you see someone homeless and selling their body should you do nothing and wait until they hit rock bottom? Or, should you offer a warm place to sleep, a meal and some friendly conversation in hopes that by engaging this person you can both find a way to turn things around? Alternatively, what should you do when addiction or mental illness is in the mix and the gentle approach is unlikely to have any effect? How much of your need to be compassionate in this way causes chaos in the community? Boundaries and rules are not merely restrictions. They also have the benefit of letting people who follow them see that they belong to something greater than themselves.

    I can't imagine that it feels good to know that so little is expected of you. I mean, who grows up thinking, "I'm going to be a homeless crack-addicted prostitute?" I wonder if people who are in such a predicament question whether there are functional people who even want them around? Who truly care if they live or die? Setting limits can have a way of saying, "we want you here and we know that you can become the person you wanted to be."

    Uptown really needs to get these issues front and center without all of the BS about "cleansing" and all that crap that was spouted in the Trib comment section. Working backwards from "what would help the most" I think everything should be on the table as far what can be done.

  6. FYI _ she's up in court next week. Individual Inmate Report
    Jail I.D. #
    2009-0063027 Inmate Name
    GREEN, ANNA Date of Birth
    Booked Date
    09/19/2009 Housing Location
    03-AX-1-C1- Visiting Day / Time
    Call for Visit Info Bail Amount
    Next Court Date
    10/29/2009 Court House Location
    Criminal C

  7. d, I respectfully disagree.

    First, even if REST claimed to be an just overnight crash pad, why are its clients turning tricks and dealing drugs in the middle of the night when they're supposed to be inside? Do they get hall passes to commit crimes and come back in to catch 40 winks? Shouldn't REST be keeping track of what their overnight guests do during the, well, overnight hours?

    (For the record, I've seen Anna sitting on the newspaper boxes across the street from UBC, waiting for the shelter to open. She's undisputably a resident there.)

    But REST isn't just a crash pad. It claims that it's a full-service shelter. Its mission statement includes: "REST works collaboratively to provide safe, quality, permanent and emergency housing options and supportive social services to adult men and women who are homeless in Chicago. REST assists these individuals to develop their employment and life skills to achieve the transition to independent living."

    As such, I expect them to monitor their clientele and be responsible for their behavior during the time they're REST residents. If they're in the REST support system, REST needs to know - and should already know - that they're out turning tricks and dealing drugs a block from the shelter.

    Hell, we all know. Why doesn't the provider of their self-proclaimed all-encompassing support system know? And if the provider of their all-encompassing support system DOES know, why doesn't it do something about it?

    When I've had bad neighbors, I've complained to their landlord to put things right.

    When Uptown has bad neighbors, the community tries to work with them to improve the situation.

    REST gets money from public donations - individual, corporate and government funding. It is accountable to the public for the behavior of its clients.

    In short, REST attracts clientele to Uptown. Should Uptown be better or worse because REST is here?

  8. Sassy, you said,"Its not intended to be a comprehensive service center."

    REST says different:

    REST runs five major programs to provide both immediate relief and long-term solutions to homelessness. All of these services are ultimately aimed at increasing self-sufficiency and residential stability.

    When REST's funding was cut a while back, because City of Chicago dollars are going to shelters with proven track records of success, and REST hasn't proven that it's good enough to get those dollars, guess who swooped in and made sure they got public funding from other sources?



    The alderman of the 46th Ward, Helen Shiller.

    Talk about enabling bad behavior.

  9. I expect them to monitor their clientele and be responsible for their behavior during the time they're REST residents.

    I don't think that REST sees the people who sleep in their shelter as "REST residents." If there is a bed and you can follow the rules of the shelter when you are there you can stay there for the night. Services are offered if you'd like to take them up on it. As I understand it, there really isn't any official relationship between the shelter and people who stay there. Maybe there should be for the reasons that you point out. Its just I don't think there is any expectation on the part of REST or the City that it is that kind of facility. Its not a half-way house or a supported SRO or something.

  10. Yes, TSN they do offer programs but to the best of my knowledge it part of the city's number of "emergency" beds. You can show up there and ask for help finding a permanent place to live and they do have resources to help people try to do that. But as we all know, its more likely the case that people staying there are chronically homeless, mentally-ill, addicted, etc., and they are there for a bed and a meal. Whatever resources REST may have (and its not a lot), there will be plenty of people who are not prepared or willing to take them up on the services. What is the shelter supposed to do with someone who only appears in the winter or for 15 days at the end of the month when their money has run out (for example). If you are an "emergency" bed facility, you can't make people come back every night. You've got the carrot but no stick.

  11. Sassy, are you playing devil's advocate or are you serious?

    Are you really saying that REST should let someone stay there night after night and come and go as she pleases to commit felonies?

    This wouldn't be acceptable to me if it were a privately funded business, like the Wilson Men's Club, but it's even less acceptable to me when my tax dollars are paying for it.

    The City of Chicago doesn't allow people to sleep in their shelters for X amount of nights without having them join in the comprehensive programs offered. It's not being funded to be a crash pad. It's being funded to get people to change their lives.

    Now Anna is taking advantage of another publicly funded residential program, the penal system, because REST allowed her to commit crimes while residing there.

    Again, I ask, should Uptown's residents be better off or worse off because the REST shelter is here and we're paying for it?

  12. But Sassy - if they are advertising themselves as more than just temporary cot & hot, then they should be held to higher standards. If they didn't advertise themselves as more, then I agree with you.

  13. Truman Square. I think you make many incorrect assumptions on how this program works and both what it does and what it legally is able to do. I would also ask you to read over their site again, as the quote that you pulled is general offering. Sassy's post also makes some good realistic points.

    It is not REST's responsibility to monitor the activities of the people who stay with them when they are not in their building.

    REST is has two programs - an emergency shelter and a long term program. Social services are available but not imposed. Likely she is not interested in the long-term program or the social services. These are all voluntary. As they should be.

    How do we know that the nights she is out at 2am she is staying in the shelter? We don't. You don't. Likely she's out all night and doesn't go to the shelter at all.

    If REST is letting people come and go (they can't legally keep them from leaving) that's another issue, but we have no evidence that is happening.

    If you do have evidence of REST being involved in anything troublesome, please present it.

  14. REST did such a bad job managing the shelter at the Epworth Church in Edgewater that it was fired as the service provider there.

  15. Again
    - REST is just providing beds, services are optional, even if that inconviences you.
    - No one yet has presented any evidence that REST allows people to come and go as they please.

    Please do if this is a problem so we can address. They can't legally lock people in. But if they leave they can lock them out. Chances are...on the nights Anna is tricking, she never even went to the shelter.

    Facts please.

  16. For the record - I'm not pro-REST. I'm pro community and would like to take action if required.

    I just want to go into battle with equipped with FACTS and incidents not speculation and transference.

  17. I'm trying to be fair about the kind of services that REST sees itself offering (i.e., shelter + additional help for those who are willing and able to follow through).

    Personally, I believe that shelters and soup kitchens only put a band-aid on a serious set of problems that we are not adequately dealing with as a city, county, state, nation. I'd like to see more comprehensive addiction/mental illness/job preparedness programs (that include housing) created throughout the city. In order to get into them, you must get clean, stay on your meds and not engage in criminal activity. There's very little political will to spend any money on that kind of thing. (See the billion dollar TIF slush fund.) People much prefer the do-good charity circuit or canned food drives than dealing with the messy reality that we Uptowners see every day.

    Its compassionate to feed people and provide shelter. I get that and I don't blame people for wanting to do it. But I think we need to be realistic that we're really not addressing the problem sufficiently. Thats what frustrates me to no end about Uptown. You've got these social services and people who have their hearts in the right place and are trying to do something. But, the minute that you point out that they actually need to be more radical and less accepting of the status quo they accuse you of hating the poor and wanting to throw people out on the street. What they're missing, in my opinion, is the fact that they need to grow a bigger coalition of people who want to see true change. The charity circuit and the corporate donors are expedient but false friends. People who have to deal with the chaos that comes from prostitution, mental illness and the drug trade are more likely to demand lasting results. These people can help them get the attention and resources that are needed to fix things via grassroots outcry. Instead, we have a mess of negative attacks that reduces support and engagement rather than increases it.

    Hope this makes sense...I'm late for a meeting...(we've all got our addictions!)
    I'll check back in later...

  18. Really, d? How many nights does the Chicago Continuum of Care allow someone to stay in a drop-in center without seeking services?

    Is it two, or five?

    Anna's been there all summer. I live right there, I see her, I recognize her. Hell, she's even cursed at me. We're like/this.

    Perhaps you don't have a problem with someone committing felonies and going in and out of a publicly-funded institution to do so. I do.

    On that, we will have to agree to disagree.

    REST should have gotten a big wake-up call when it didn't get funding from the city because it didn't meet the standards of care the city requires of shelters. It also lost a boatload of money when Epworth fired it. The only reason it's still open is because of Helen Shiller finding non-city public money to keep it going.

    Oh, well. Helen, like Anna, may well be gone soon. If REST doesn't start being a better neighbor, it may well be history too.

  19. TrumanSquareNabr

    to answer your question. as many as they want.

    i wish it was more. you wish it was more. but that doesn't make it an obligation for the organization.

  20. REST gets paid every time it fills a shelter bed. Anna checks in, and REST gets a paycheck.

    In my book, that makes them responsible for her overnight activities, including what she does when she leaves the shelter to take a crack or trick or drug dealing break.

    Why should this community suffer - and be very clear, Anna Green is a blight on Uptown - because REST has found a way to get paid without taking responsibility?

  21. Forgive them, Lucy Maud Montgomery*, for they knew not what they did. I hope.

    Lots of good points on this thread, pro and con. My "take" is concerning the reference to one of the classic positive-role-model characters of children's literature in a story of one of Uptown's classic "characters."

    Your attempt at being "punny" wasn't funny.

    *Yeah, and Paul Harvey too.

  22. On one hand, what exactly IS someone like Anna Green supposed to do during her waking hours? Hunt down a job with her criminal background and likely poor work history? Although I sound sarcastic, I am really asking people what homeless people are expected to do, job-wise? I don't know enough about their world to comment, but I know that I've had problems enough finding steady work, and that's with my own apartment, my own computer, shower facilities, clothes, etc.

  23. Will, honestly. I hope you're not excusing her prostitution and crack use, are you?

  24. Truman,

    Rest is responsibile for this woman's actions when she is inside the shelter, but not after she leaves it. And REST does not allow people to come and go throughout the night. They can go, they cannot come back. As far as the services REST offers, well you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. The notion that REST is responsible for or should be able to control their overnight guests behavior when they are off REST's property is ridiculous.

  25. All I know is that no alderman in the surrounding wards would permit this lack of accountability of social services. It's not a coincidence that some of the least accountable social services happen to be located in the 46th Ward.

    Sean, call Helen compassionate, if you will. I call her enabling.

  26. Sean, here's the trouble I see: REST operates a shelter that anyone can crash in, regardless if they agree to treatment or not. That's humane, but then this happens: Anna goes back out, turns tricks so she can buy crack. That attracts drug dealers, who in turn belong to gangs, who then fight over turf and we have bullets flying.

    Does Anna want to get better? Is Anna mentally capable of dedicating herself to a program to get better? I don't know. But when someone's catches a stray bullet in the back of their head, my sympathies for both Anna and REST drop considerably. There has to be a better way.

    Sean, how would you do things differently?

  27. holy - No, I'm not condoning her behavior...I just wonder what real hope this woman and others like her really have. As I said, I don't know enough about the homeless to make an informed statement, but it sounds like some of the other posters here might be able to tell me what the homeless are really expected to do on a long-term basis. I mean, if I had a criminal record and no hope for another job beyond bussing tables or cleaning office buildings, I'd probably get high or drunk too.

    That said, I just wish they'd do their business, whether hooking, selling/using drugs, or urinating in an alleyway, somewhere else.

  28. No social service agency is responsible for the criminal actions of those who receive their aid.

    That's the police department's job.

    Even if a crime is committed on shelter property, all the agency can do is refuse future admittance.

    And you can't expect an agency to refuse services to someone who is known to engage in such activities, unless they stipulate up-front that they do not serve anyone with a criminal record. However, I suspect that an agency with that rule would be hard-pressed to receive any public funding.

  29. "The notion that REST is responsible for or should be able to control their overnight guests behavior when they are off REST's property is ridiculous."

    You want to know what I think is ridiculous, Sean?

    - a plethora of social services who get paid whether or not they help people

    - a shelter that gets paid for providing a home base to someone who commits felonies on a regular basis, yet claims that it's in the business of turning people's lives around via wraparound care

    - the notion that this is just fine and dandy and hey, keep that money rolling in

    What would you do with Anna, Sean? How should and could REST, or any other social service, have done to prevent this arrest while she was under their care?

    I think I speak for most of the community when I say that wringing one's hands and saying that a person can't be helped isn't good enough anymore.

    Because if someone like Anna can't be helped, why do we even have 100-plus social services here in Uptown? Just to keep her home base in Uptown?

  30. people trying to lay blame on REST for this woman's behavior and arrest are clearly using specious arguments to try and target REST for the apparent purpose of removing them from the community. The argument makes as much sense as blaming Fenger high school for the brawl among their students that took place far from campus and then suggesting that Fenger should be shut down.

  31. No, Sean, stop projecting what you think other people mean.

    What do YOU think can be done for Anna by the social services in Uptown?

    or is it all just hopeless?

    If memory serves, you're a social worker. What's the solution for the many Annas in our midst?


    Why is it that other wards can hold the social services accountable but it isn't done in the 46th?

  33. Maybe a better analogy would be our prison system. Think how many thousands of people go through our prison systems only to come out and reoffend. What are we paying those prisons for? They get all that money and people come out of them and commit more crimes? Cleary we need to cut off all the funding to prisons and shut them down.

  34. People please...

    There's quite a spectrum between 100% culpability and 0% accountability. Sean seems to be of the opinion (and I could be wrong here) that since REST isn't, can't be really, 100% resposible for the miscreants behaviour outside the facility that REST has 0% resposibility. If REST is providing a portion of this individual's food, clothing, and/or shelter then REST is, indeed supporting her nefarious behaviours.

  35. "REST for this woman's behavior and arrest are clearly using specious arguments to try and target REST for the apparent purpose of removing them from the community."

    If I wanted to be a cold hearted jerk, I could very easily make the argument that if there were NO shelters, or programs, or whatever,that Anna would eventually move to where those places were.

    But that's not what I want. I want things to get better. Letting the status quo go is not the solution either. So what is?
    REST provides a bed for Anna every night if she wants it. No questions asked? OK. But then why in the world would I

    1. Want REST in my ward, since it plays a role in housing criminals
    2. who in turn attract drugs and violence to my neighborhood?

    It seems to me that a shelter like REST could change their policies, demanding that guests engage in programs in exchange for the benefits. And I would be happy support additional funding if this would produce results.

  36. like I said Truman, you can offer a horse water, but you can't make them drink. Anna can be helped, but she will need to want to be helped and make an effort. A lot of effort. No social worker or program can make Anna change or control her behavior, she has got to want to and make an effort.

    And the social service agencies do help a lot of people in Uptown. For every Anna, there are many more who have changed their life around with the assistance of places like REST.

    A lot of people have spoken positively of Inspiration Cafe. Many of their employees were at one point living lives like Anna here, but they changed their lives with the help of places like REST.

    And change isn't gonna come the moment they walk through the doors of REST or some other agency. Even for people with a lot of resources and social support (think Hollywood types) it can take many attempts and a lot of effort to get off drugs.

    Where does this idea come from that just because there are service providers in Uptown, there should be no social ills to be found in the community? That is like saying because crime occurs, clearly the police aren't doing their jobs. The police will never be able to prevent every crime and social services will never be able to reach every individual like Anna and presto chango, turn them into a well functioning, contributing member of society.

  37. "Maybe a better analogy would be our prison system. Think how many thousands of people go through our prison systems only to come out and reoffend. What are we paying those prisons for? They get all that money and people come out of them and commit more crimes? Cleary we need to cut off all the funding to prisons and shut them down."

    Sean, this is a bad argument, and for one reason - in prison, there are guards and the incarcerated doesn't get to go out at night to commit more crimes.

  38. Holey....what is this 'allow' stuff? Fact, people who have used shelters in other wards have also committed crimes. And if this woman is out on the streets at 2 a.m., she is not a shelter guest. REST is not responsible for people not staying in their shelter. REST is not responsible for people who may have stayed in their shelter now and then and then moved on to commit crimes.

  39. My concern is that she is very harassing of residents here. Currently, she is where she belongs. Keep calling 911 -- Anna shows us that it does indeed get results!

  40. Freddie, what proof do you have that this woman committed any crimes after leaving REST in the middle of the night.

    And it is a good analogy in that people are trying to blame REST for the actions of people after they have left REST. Why not blame prisons or schools for the actions of people who have left those institutions? Maybe because it doesn't lend itself to anyone's political agenda at the moment?

  41. "REST is not responsible for people who may have stayed in their shelter now and then and then moved on to commit crimes."

    But what if they return? Then go back out, and commit crimes again, like Anna?

    Sean, I am not sure if you work for REST or are just defending them. I want REST to be able to help people, not facilitate a dangerous environment.

  42. Sean,
    My political agenda is to not get shot at or attacked while walking home. Or to have my apartment broken into. (all of which has happened). What's yours?

    Analogy time:
    So when a person leaves school (lets say for the day) commits crimes (lets say prostitution) then shows up the next day and goes in, what's different from REST?

    1. Accountability - you gotta make the grade.
    2. There's authority figures trying to keep you on track (Principle, Teachers) and work towards your betterment. ITS NOT OPTIONAL.

    Now let's talk Prisons
    1. When you go into Prison, you stay for awhile. You are on a firm, rigid schedule and in most cases have to work in some capacity. There's armed guards at all times. How's this different from REST?

    From what I am hearing, when person walks into REST, they just get a bed and thats that. Its shelter and food, plain and simple. Nothing to work towards, nothing saying "Hey man, you're homeless and strung out on something, you gotta get your life back on track." Its OPTIONAL.


  43. As someone who has worked for REST in the past. I can say that they do not as a policy let CLIENTS come and go, in the overnight shelter programs. Once a client leaves they are not allowed back in. If Anna leaves during the night before lights out then her name would be scratched off the weekly bed roster, unless she is enrolled in the programs available with a case manager. In that case she would only be allowed to have 3 absences in a month before she would be dropped from the program and lose her assigned bed. If she is using the emergency shelter then she signs up for a bed and given a ticket. Which doesn't guarantee that she will be chosen to stay overnight at a REST shelter.

    I am sure I am forgetting other points I wanted to make but there is a lot to cover in this thread.

  44. Freddie,

    REST does not allow its overnight guests to go in and out during the night. If they leave, they are out and can't come back in. REST cannot keep people confined inside of the shelter. That is illegal.

    Furthermore, we know nothing about when and for how long this woman stayed at REST or if she had been in the shelter on the same nights she was out committing crimes.

    Another thought, on the nights she or anyone else stays at REST, they are not on the streets turning tricks and using drugs. If REST weren't there, she and others might be spending more time on the streets engaging in these and other activities.

    And Meg, I agree with you. Someone behaving like Anna needs to be kept off the streets and I applaud those who make an effort to call the police and have the Anna's of the world locked up.

  45. Freddie, my agenda is to put some critical thinking into these problems and not draw conclusions based on loose associations, make unfounded accusations, or baseless generalizations.

    And actually there are people speaking the words of your last full paragraph in the shelter. Workers at REST do try to engage with people to lead them to making positive changes in their life. REST does have additional services to offer besides a mat on the floor if people are willing work with them. And they have helped hundreds of people like Anna through the years leave that type of lifestyle behind. But how can anybody expect REST or any other provider to be instantaneously and 100% successful in helping to turn around the lives of people like Anna?

    Tell me Freddie, do you really believe that REST should be able to prevent any person who ever spent a night in their shelter from ever committing a crime again? Really?

  46. Aww, Anna Green is the new mascot of Uptown! I vote for shirts printed with her mug.

  47. Found an interesting piece...I think at for the long quote:

    "Depending on the perspective your local community, an offense committed by a homeless individual may be considered a felony while in another community that same offense may be considered a simple nuisance. As a volunteer, you may want to become familiar with these perspectives as this can
    often provide clue into how the shelter and the community view the circumstances of the homeless individual. In fact, it is believed that in communities where offenses committed by the homeless are simply a nuisance, you will most likely find the shelter's management staff and charitable donors believe homeless individuals are victims of circumstance. In contrast, homeless shelter and communities who view the offenses of homeless individuals as felonies, there is a stronger tendency to believe the homeless have an innate ability to pull themselves out of their dire circumstances and, ultimately, should take control over their lives."

  48. "
    Tell me Freddie, do you really believe that REST should be able to prevent any person who ever spent a night in their shelter from ever committing a crime again? Really?"

    I'm looking into my posts to see where I was holding REST accountable for the crimes she commits (IE made her a hooker, etc). I can see where, based on my statements, you could draw your conclusions. When I said she was leaving, I meant after a nights stay. So my apologizes for not making that distinction.

    Rigza, thanks for the info. It helps.

    "Freddie, my agenda is to put some critical thinking into these problems and not draw conclusions based on loose associations, make unfounded accusations, or baseless generalizations."

    Good. So now that we understand where each other are coming from, here's my point: I don't want REST to shut up shop. But if REST (or anyone else) grants a space to sleep but doesn't add the caveat that someone has to try a program, or something to that effect, what then? We'd have to look at REST's records to know the true story of how often Anna used the shelter, but the people who live near there see her going in and out.

    Yes, REST can't stop her for being a hooker. And no, I don't hold them responsible for the choices and circumstances that have lead her to where she is. But she keeps coming back to the ward (I think everyone agrees she needs to be off the streets), and to REST. And it seems nothing gets better. If REST (or any other shelter) said "If you're going to stay here, eat the food, use the facilities, you have to commit to the program", isn't that key?

    I'm confused as to how REST does intake. Do either you or Rigza have details? I am guessing an experienced social worker can spot someone who is a drug user - my sister is a social worker in Cleveland and has filled me in on this.

    So back to my point of a way to make things better - like I said, I'd be all for massive increases in funding for this places, but the two way street is when someone walks in, not just giving them the place to stay.

    What do you think?

  49. Sean,
    Let's simplify the question and stop talking hypothetically. What should REST do the next time Anna shows up at the shelter?

    Others have expressed their ideas, but you only seem to say that these aren't options. Please, what should they do (and why)?

    If you don't mind, please highlight how your solution is going to help Anna.

  50. I'm afraid many of you are focusing on the larger picture. We have a local problem. There are too many REST's, SRO's and Section 8's etc in Uptown. With Wilson Yard, we're going to have even more. We will never eradicate the Ms. Green's from this neighborhood or any almost any other within the City of Chicago, but we can make it difficult for these individuals to conduct business if the CPD has the resources to fight crime. I'm very concerned about the fact that the CPD has been called by our neighbors several times about Ms. Green's business practices. Apparently, the CPD can't keep up with the criminal activity here because there's too much of it. There's too much crime because there are still way too many welfare services & properties in this ward for the infrastructure to handle. It's public knowledge that politics is what created this mess here, and it's going to be strategic politics organized by the community's leaders and their supporters that's going fix it. The rest is just meaningless blogging and sentimentality while our kids attend schools located directly across the street from drug rehab centers and SRO's. We've had riots and individuals walking the streets with rifles taking shots at one another. People are ducking behind their couches to avoid getting shot. There is no dilemma about what needs to be done here. The only bewildering question is why so many individuals (who are not part of the local welfare services industry or Helen Shiller's office) want to preserve as much of the status quo here as possible. It's not going to get better and we're not going to reform the crackheads, dealers, and prostitutes. We just want fewer of them. There's plenty of real estate in the city so that each community has only 12 prostitutes per police officer, instead of the 50 our diverse neighborhood supports.

  51. I was looking up online, whether shelters have any sort of 'background checks' in place (most don't for obvious reasons).....most do it on the basis of visual, and interview checks apparently.
    The 'background check' issue came up mostly, as it related to known sex offenders.
    Personally, I don't blame the shelter.
    But I am glad when criminals (homeless or not) are incarcerated.

  52. Would guys actually PAY to have sex with her? IP?

  53. She seems pretty set in her ways. Why not suggest she continue her "job" in Vegas where it is legal. I'll even provide the miles to get her one way ticket.

  54. In some jurisdictions, Anna may be a sex offender. Especially since some of the lewd acts occur outside.

  55. Anna couldn't do it in Vegas, those woman have to be tested.

    I will assume Anna has contracted numerous diseases in her illustrious career and drug use so the question begs to be asked.. At what point does Anna become a public health risk?

    One kids gets what could potentially be H1N1 and the whole school gets closed down, the kid gets quarantined, and the building is scrubbed. Yet Anna is potentially out spreading numerous and maybe even deadly VD's and we just release her back in to society.

    It makes me yearn for Irish Pirate's Immune System.

  56. REST has known about this woman's activities for a long time and have chosen to ignore it. And yes, they are responsible for their clients activities. It doesn't take much to figure out that she has been a problem in the neighborhood. Spend a few minutes in the evening at McDonald's and watch her fight with passer's by.

    I'm glad she's off the street and am thankful that someone figured out her identity so we have a name and a face. I'm also glad to know that someone was able to identify the location where she was staying and which social service was responsible for her.

  57. The reason she is so easy to follow around with a camera is that she is homeless (assuming, for the sake of argument, that she actually is homeless)—with no place to hide her mischief and no means to defend her reputation. Try pulling the same stunt with a gainfully employed attorney—at any place or time—and you’ll wind up doing hard time for harassment and/or stalking.

    The camera is fairly steady, and it shoots from above her. The photographer is apparently shooting from the comfort of his own home—something she does not have.

    Why is there so little outrage directed against the gainfully employed people who buy the illegal drugs? I wonder whether people are concerned that she commits illegal acts, or merely that they see her commit the illegal acts.

  58. "That's the police department's job."


    only in Uptown

    the protestations in this thread by defenders of the shelter that the shelter is not responsible for their clients' behavior w/i blocks would be of great interest to Chicagoans in other neighborhoods

    such frank comments are not the kind you tend to hear when an organization is pitching to a community

    thanks for your contribution to our city's dialog on dealing with homelessness!

  59. "I wonder whether people are concerned that she commits illegal acts, or merely that they see her commit the illegal acts."

    Joey, wonder why I'm concerned? Because this very scary very mean woman called me and me kids out to a pimp when we were at the grocery store. Because I've seen her giving BJs and smoking crack RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOME. Just what my pre-schoolers and every other kid on my block needs to see. Because I've taken the trash out and seen 'hos performing anal sex in the alley in the middle of the afternoon. It's not a class issue, as you seem to be implying, with homeowners picking on the poor poor prostitute/addicts/dealers. Do my kids need to see this from their living room window? Do the kids who live at the CHA scatter-site housing next door need to? Do the Graham Stewart students walking to school need to? Do the people who shoot the videos need to see drug transactions from their balconies? Absolutely not! Get real. We all suffer from people like Anna and her pimp doing business in Uptown.

  60. This woman is not a client of REST. The video clearly shows this woman out and about on the streets during the night. If she was a client of REST, she would be inside the shelter. REST is not responsible for people who might have used there shelter at one point in time and then stopped staying there and then gone on to commit crimes.

    This is clearly a case of yellow journalism to support a political agenda for driving homeless people and homeless shelters out of Uptown. There is absolutely no evidence of this woman's involvement with REST and all the arguments that REST is somehow responsible for this woman's or anyone else's behavior when they are not staying at REST is laughable, unless of course you need the specious argument that they are to support your political agenda.

  61. "There is absolutely no evidence of this woman's involvement with REST."

    Except that those of us who actually live in Uptown, near Wilson and Sheridan, see her staying there, and have since the beginning of summer. She's hard to miss. Please feel free to continue to ignore this.

    "This is clearly a case of yellow journalism to support a political agenda for driving homeless people and homeless shelters out of Uptown."

    Whatever. You and Helen talk constantly of hidden agendas. Satisfy your need to play victim? Or divide-and-conquer? You crazy wacky kids, you!

    By the way, getting much social work done today?

  62. Ralphie Boy,

    yes some men would pay to have sex with her. Also while I joke about hookers I am NOT an expert on hookers.(shifty eye thing going on)

    Don't ever underestimate the depravity of your fellow man. By man I mean the male of the species.

    As for this woman my guess is that she needs to be forcibly institutionalized for her own good and the good of the community. She seemingly has some serious mental health issues and they need to be addressed.

    Prison is not the best place for that. Part of the problem we have with mental health issues in this country is that too many people get too little help dealing with their issues. It's easier just to dump those folks on the streets than treat them in a controlled situation.

  63. Sean,

    Thanks so much for avoiding my question and blaming those of us here who would like to have an open dialog of "yellow journalism."

    As has been said, Anna has stayed at REST in the past. Whether or not that qualifies her as a "client" is another issue (as I don't know the legal definition of client in this case.)

    Again I ask you: What should REST do the next time Anna shows up at the shelter, and how is this response going to help her (and by proxy the community)in the long-term?

  64. The actual police report lists her address as 10XX W Wilson. That would be the Women's REST shelter.

    When people see her enter REST at night and leave the next morning, I think is safe to assume that she is staying there.

  65. This is clearly a case of yellow journalism to support a political agenda for driving homeless people and homeless shelters out of Uptown.

    Oh c'mon now. This is exactly the kind of dial-it-the-extreme reaction I was referring to in my earlier post.

    Let's take a step back here. On one hand, REST is partly an "emergency" shelter and while they do offer additional services to people it is outside their purview as a shelter to be responsible for people who stay there from time to time. Its just not what they do and there have to be "emergency" beds somewhere. On the other hand, chaos is caused in the surrounding community by people who use this "emergency" resource chronically and are unable or unwilling to address the addictions that are part of the problem.

    Freddie asked a good question that never got answered. He asked, (aside from the morality of it) why would Uptowners want homeless shelters in their ward if they attract people who will engage in illegal activity and no one is able to take responsibility for this outcome?

    Uptown does not somehow generate more homelessness than other areas of the city. So we're talking about people who come here after living in the parks or in other neighborhoods because a resource is here for them. Personally, I am proud to live in a neighborhood where we said, "people will not freeze to death in dumpsters" and then we did something about it. But just because we are doing the right thing doesn't mean that we should be expected to do so at the expense of this neighborhood's basic quality of life. We are a densely-populated residential area. I'd have to check it out but I wonder if there are so many emergency drop-in shelters (as opposed to half-way houses or managed SROs) in dense, economically diverse neighborhoods elsewhere in this country?

    Lets put aside this issue of "cleansing" the area of poor people and all that nonsense and try to work through the issue as if we all want to have homeless shelters in Uptown, shall we? How many beds would we have? How many beds of that percentage would be for nightly stays and how many would be for people who use social services during the day? Since we're building subsidized housing in the ward right now, how can we reduce the number of people at the shelter and get them into permanent housing? What needs to happen in order to make that a success? And why in the world is this little neighborhood expected to figure this out itself? Hows that city-wide countdown to end homeless coming?

    I think the perception from local residents is that the shelters are very much in focused on the city's homelessness problem at the expense of what might be workable for this neighborhood. I think that is a fair criticism and doesn't necessarily equate a NIMBY perspective.

  66. Another thought: why can't we be a pilot location for how well homeless shelters can be run? We all know damn well that few aldermen are begging to get a new homeless shelter in their ward. They don't want to place to turn into Uptown for goodness sake! :) Instead, why can't we be a model for how possible it is to have stable property values, economic diversity and a commitment to social justice?

    Rather than assuming the worst about people who give good reasons for why its not working so well here, why not turn it around and try to figure out how it could work better? Are we so pessimistic that we can't even entertain the possibility that there might be a way to run homeless services so that people will say, "we're doing our part and you can too. Here's how..." Right now, there's not too much to emulate other than the generosity in people's hearts. In an odd way, our lack of success helps to reproduce NIMBY-ism elsewhere. No one wants to become like us. Wouldn't it be great if our little neighborhood could prove them wrong?

    The more we fail, the more the rest of the city will do anything to not be like us in any way. Just a thought...

  67. "This is clearly a case of yellow journalism..."

    it's not journalism, it's a blog

  68. "...all the arguments that REST is somehow responsible for this woman's or anyone else's behavior when they are not staying at REST is laughable..."

    careful - you don't want to get ahead of REST on this line of defense - you're freelancing here

  69. Truman...if this woman is committing crimes on the streets at night then she is not staying at REST. On nights she is staying at REST, clearly she is not on the streets committing crimes. She can't be in two places at once, now can she? Or maybe you can tell me on which of the nights that she spent sleeping at REST she was simultaneously prostituting herself and buying drugs on the streets. Take away REST and she spends more nights on the streets committing crimes. Is that what you want?

    Just how does this accountabiltiy by REST supposed to work according to your 'thinking'? How many nights does a person have to stay at REST for REST to then be accountable for whatever that person might do when they are not sleeping at REST? One night? If someone spends one night at REST, is REST then forever accountable for the person's behavior in public? Is it a week? Two weeks? And for how long after the last night someone stayed at REST is REST responsible for that person's behavior? A month? A year? The rest of the person's life? And what is REST supposed to do to stop someone like Anna on the nights she doesn't stay at the shelter? Should the shelter staff leave the shelter unattended, to go out and search the streets with a big net looking to capture Anna and drag her back to the shelter to ensure she doesn't turn a trick or buy some drugs?

    And what MAGICAL interventions are REST staff supposed to use to instantaneously stop a person who has spent a night or several nights in their shelter from ever being a nuisance to the public again? Please, tell us how its done Truman, people the world over would love to discover the solution.

    And I am getting a lot of work done today and helping a lot of people. I also consider countering the falsehoods, malice, and ludicrous assertions spewed here against REST and other homeless service providers part of my mission in social work.

  70. "I also consider countering the falsehoods, malice, and ludicrous assertions spewed here against REST and other homeless service providers part of my mission in social work."

    keep it up

    every comment is making it harder on legit providers

  71. Sean, your own community where you live would not be having this discussion. The outside world (outside of Uptown) wouldn't put up with clients of a shelter causing all kinds of problems. Epworth overnight shelter doesn't allow it in Edgewater.

    Anna has had no incentives to change. None, nata, zip. She could continue to prostitute and do crack and some organization would always come to her aid making sure she felt comfy and well fed.

    If crime was low around the 2 blocks of this shelter, maybe you wouldn't be hearing these complaints. But go to ClearMap and look at the rate of violent crimes and then compare it to other areas with shelters in other wards. I don't begrudge REST. I just think they took on more than what they could handle.

    The homeless come to Uptown from all over, including YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Before you call us NIMBYs, it's already in our back yard. Now it's time to put it in your backyard as well.

  72. seem to be following the same MO as that fgfmagain poster from the tribune story. Are you one in the same?

  73. "I also consider countering the falsehoods, malice, and ludicrous assertions spewed here against REST and other homeless service providers part of my mission in social work."

    do your bosses consider explaining to neighbors that providers' responsibility ends at the threshold part of your job?

  74. or is this more of a personal mission?

    you might try checking with them

    they might say, "Sean, you're absolutely right, of course, but best knock it off, you're scaring people."

  75. Physically knotted,

    I apologize, you did ask a legitimate question and you deserve an answer. Before I would tell you what I would do, I want you to know that no social worker can force a person to change or force them to accept treatment or any type of programming, or control where they go and what they do with their time. Now a judge in a court of law can, which might be the best hope in Anna's case, 'cause other than that it is completely up to Anna to change her ways. Which is also why it is important for people who may witness her soliciting or buying drugs to call the police, have her arrested, and serve as witnesses.

    If I encountered Anna in the shelter I would start by trying to get to know her and to develop a trusting relationship. I would introduce myself and ask her permission to talk with her (I can't force someone to talk to me and asking permission is a sign of respect, which is necessary if we are going to have a therapuetic relationship). I would explain to her who I was and what I do and honestly answer any question she may have about me and my role, especially as to what I could and could not do for her (the worst thing a social worker can do is make promises they can't deliver or otherwise BS a person to gain their favor. Being very frank and honest goes a long way in gaining someone's trust). I would work to get to know her and her history, find out what type relationships she has in her life, both with people and institutions. I try to find out which relationships were good or beneficial to her and which ones were not and try to lead her to make use of and strengthen the good relationships and minimize or end the bad ones. I would find what her strengths are and try to have her make maximize use of those. I would try to find out what she wants for herself, what she might want to change, to develop goals with her. She might not identify getting off of crack or whatever drug(s) she might use as a goal, but maybe she might identify obtaining stable housing as a goal and maybe I could use that goal to address her drug use, use motivational interviewing help her see that addressing her drug use might be a necessary step in getting housed. I would try and develop a few simple and realistic goals for her to start with (starting with goals to quit drugs, get a job, and rent an apt. to be a positive, contributing member of society might not be realistic to start with). If, say, she is staying in the shelter an average of 2 or 3 nights a week and working the streets and drugging the other nights of the week, we might shoot for a goal of staying in the shelter 5-6 nights of the week (every night she spends in the shelter is one night she is not being a nuisance to the community). If she tells me she really wants to quit using drugs ASAP and is motivated to do so, then great, I would try to get her into a long term treatment facility for substance abuse. It might take a few weeks to find an opening somewhere, but sometimes you can get someone in right away. If she needs detox first, I'd work to get her into detox. And not that, wiz bang, once she is in treatment, problem solved. Usually it takes a lot of attempts to get clean.

    There is a lot of focus here on Anna who is not yet a success story, but there have been hundreds of success stories that have come out of REST through the years. I recently ran into an old client I knew in the mid to late 90's. He too had stayed at REST, was a crack addict, and had numerous arrests for prostitution and drug possession. It took a few attempts, but he eventually got himself clean, has been sober for nearly 9 years, has completed college and earned a Masters degree and now is employed full time.

  76. physically knotted, I answered how I would approach Anna. As far as to what REST should do if she came to their door again, they should offer her a warm and safe place to sleep at night. If they are able to engage with her along the lines of how I described, great. If Anna doesn't want to talk, then they should offer her a warm and safe place to sleep at night because for every night she is in the shelter (or jail) is a night she is not being a nuisance to the neighborhood. I think it would be better for Truman and others demanding that REST be held accountable for Anna to answer as to what REST should do. So tell us, Truman, Freddie, Holey, et. al., what should REST do?

  77. Sean, I would probably do what other shelters outside the 46th Ward would do. Certainly that means engaging her and understanding what she hopes to gain from receiving the services she’s presently after. Then tell her we would love to help her, but with that comes some requirements. She has to be engaged in case management to help get her back on her feet. If she’s not wanting that yet, that’s fine, but it restricts us from what we can do for her.

    She might have a bit of a puzzled look on her face because this notion of accountability had never come up before, but the cold air and her hunger has her thinking that maybe it’s worth exploring getting some real help. If crack is speaking louder than the need for warmth and getting fed, that’s okay. She’s out on the streets and she will get hassled by others out there who will try to take advantage of her, the police who will arrest her, and the community who will call the police when she breaks the law. Eventually, the cold and the hunger seem worse than the crack addiction and a door starts to open to being receptive for real services that provide real change.

    When she gets help from the shelter, she will also notice another strange phenomenon. Either a volunteer or a staff person from the shelter makes the rounds monitoring the street activity, noticing if clients are not acting appropriately, and afterwards, this representative from the shelter will speak with businesses to make double sure the shelter is being a good neighbor to the rest of the community. Why, Anna might even notice that a representative from this shelter attends CAPS on a regular basis to make sure they are being good neighbors just in case staff miss something during their regularly scheduled rounds done at different times of the day. At the CAPS meeting, if the staff member hears that clients from the shelter congregate at a certain bus stop, that staff member stops by the bus stop to check in with the clients and gives a polite warning.

    As a social service, I might even be an extra good neighbor and when I find the need to expand my services, I wouldn’t do it in a neighborhood already besieged with too many homeless shelters in the area.

    You might think that staff don’t have the time to be good neighbors to the community because they are so busy helping the homeless. Staff from other shelters know that being a good neighbor brings in lots of neighborhood volunteers to help so they don’t mind being a good neighbor. Better yet, being a good neighbor means the shelter won’t need Sean to be on a message board defending the shelter’s lack of accountability to the community.

  78. What is interesting about this case is the jail picture of Anna here in this entry identifies her as a male. Also the picture of her does not match the picture of a female Anna Green that is found on the IDOC web site. The Anna Green listed on the Cook County Jail website cited by Meg has the same arrest date as is recorded on the picture accompanying this article and it also has a birth date that matches the birth date of the female Anna Green seen on the IDOC website. I think the Anna Green shown in this article is a man who is using the identity of the female Anna Green from the IDOC web site who has several drug and prostitution related arrests. Not that this has anything to do with all the previous discussion, but it is interesting because I don't think the true identity of the person arrested on 9/19 for prostitution and discussed here is known to the authorities and it is not the same the person as the Anna Green with the same birth date pictured on the IDOC web site. So who really is this guy?

  79. have no idea what other shelters in the city do, you just want to malign Shiller. You write a lot and say very little. You write that you would say to Anna that you'd love to help her, but it would come with some requirements. What help exactly and what requirements. Be specific (if you really understand what that means) If all the help she wanted was a place to sleep at night, what EXACTLY should the requirements be (and there are requirements for people who want that from REST). If she wants to get into one of RESTS housing programs or what exactly should the requirements be (and REST has some specific requirements for people in their interim and shelter plus care housing programs). And you write that if she does not want that, fine, but that if would restrict what they could do for her. What EXACTLY would be restricted? Please be specific, cause that is what REST needs to know. If Anna only wants a place to sleep at night and is not interested in services that might help her better herself, what exactly should be restricted? And you wrote that it is fine if she were on the streets to be hassled and to hassle and be arrested by the police. Interesting.

    One area you did get specific on is that you write that REST staff should patrol the streets looking for people who have stayed in their shelter to monitor their behavior and give them polite warnings. Interesting, at least it is a start. When should they be doing this patroling? At night? During the day? Both? What staff should be doing these patrols? Should the overnight staff leave the shelters to do these patrols? Should the day time staff leave the clients they are working with who are working on goals and in programming, ignoring them to patrol the neighborhood? Are you going to provide REST with funds to hire additional staff to do thie neighborhood patrols? Exactly what are they warning them about? What gives them the authority to issue warnings to private citizens on public land? What authority do they have to move people out of public bus shelters? I don't think the police even do that, but REST staff are supposed to have powers to do so above the police? What consequences are they warning them about exactly? And in Anna's case EXACTLY what should REST have done? Should they have had staff patrolling the streets at night like the police looking for people who had previously stayed in their shelter and who might be up to no good, and do what? Tell them to get into the shelter? And if they refuse? Tell them not to commit any crimes? That is going to do the trick? You just blab generalities about being a 'good neighbor' but have no idea what you are talking about.

  80. We had difficulties with REST at Epworth church they preach to help the homeless yet they didn't know hwo was at the shelter. They preach how other sshould be compassionate, yet a 72 y.o man was never helped by REST. Until Cornerstone took over and with the same funds are paying double the rent and are paying the gas bill. REST is in serious need of a new outlook and the government should do some forensic accounting. Shiller needs to put her foot down, Smith did and we have a 90% improvement in the management of the men and frankly more human. REST does not seem to get involved with its homeless but just uses them for money

  81. Sean and HM,

    Thank you both for the information. When I first read the OP I thought there was an obvious approach. I quickly realized that what I thought was obvious, was rather naive. I have a lot of thinking to do before I have a well formed opinion.

    There are 2 main aspects I get out of this. One is the necessity for a personal approach to social services. The need to give these people something positive to live for is great. Second is the importance of the entire community developing and supporting a comprehensive approach.

    On the second point, I know this is a difficult time for social services in Uptown. The current political and economical climate (within all of the ward, city, county and state) is not helping. May I suggest that the shelters like REST (and other social services) need to do a better job of reaching out the the community? I don't mean by asking for money or lobbying government officials (both of which I have seen increasing recently) but by educating the community on what they are trying to do. Currently the only image many of us have of some of the social services are the Anna Greens . Personally I think this level of community involvement is a large part of Inspiration Corp's success. (Which other social service sponsors positive loitering?)

  82. Not-for-profits all over the country have been learning from other organizations about identifying who their real customers are. For the area shelters, their customers are the homeless, the local residents, businesses, hospitals, educational institutions, community leaders, and elected officials. They worked to establish good relationships with all of them. Those that don’t will struggle with funding and finding volunteers.

    Uptown is unique because social services here never had to learn that lesson. They could excuse themselves from any accountability, shrug their shoulders, and say, “It’s not our fault. We can’t control them.” Their alderman always rescued the shelters and this allowed them to continue in their alienation of the rest of the community. Some were rather vocal, like Cornerstone, but even they are backing off because they see the writing on the wall.

    But just like the auto industry, REST was shortsighted and didn’t count on changes in the economic climate and worse yet, to their horror of horrors, a possibility that one day Helen would not be in office. Now they face the terror of reaping the alienation they sowed in the community with their divisive behavior from the likes of Sean and others who don’t live in the neighborhood but rush to judgment when residents complain about viewing BJ’s.

    I’m not saying REST and the other shelters are doomed, but they have a ton of work to do to improve their relationship with the community. I personally don’t know if they can do it. If they wait until Helen is out of office, it may be too late. The ball is not in the court of the residents. It’s in the court of the not-for-profits. The community can be fairly forgiving, but the not-for-profits are pushing their luck right now, and Sean is not helping them at all.

  83. we have heard both sides with their points and discussions... may we also ask for policy proposals (from ALL sides) how we can balance all these points, so services can be provided for those in need while the neighborhood becomes safer and more inspiring? so far we have just been hearing bickering... solutions are what matters!!! and it doesn't matter who started the 'discussion' in uptown... if you have a policy proposal and can express it in a civil tone we would like to hear it! Again, both sides points matter!

  84. I don't know, but it seems to me Sean is paddling upstream defending the failed social service experiment in Uptown.
    I'm no expert, but H.M's comments make the most sense.

  85. The Trib has an interesting article today about a little battle going on with area residents and residents from a facility for the mentally ill in Evanston. It's regarding the use of a nearby public park.

    Get this, someone from the facility goes out to this park and checks to make sure their clients are picking up after themselves.

  86. holey moley....telling more lies to support you agenda I see. The Tribune article absolutely does not say that anyone from the nursing homes goes out to the parks to check on their check on their patients to ensure they are picking up after themselves. The article states that the nursing home administrator says that he does his best to ensure that his clients are respectful and pick up after themselves. Nothing more than that. It is right there for anyone to read, the article titled turf war at Evanstaon park on the Trib's web site.

  87. Sean, perhaps the administrator sends out thought waves to the mentally ill to encourage them to pick up after themselves. Yeah, that must be it. ; )

  88. Just a joke, IP. No offense intended. And I agree with the rest of your post as well, although I still don't understand the first sentence of it.

  89. Sassy says, echoing the sentiments of many others, that "Uptown does not somehow generate more homelessness than other areas of the city." Others seem to echo this sentiment with the notion that ridding uptown of these homeless shelters would do much to rid uptown of people like Anna.

    As someone who has worked with Chicago's homeless for the past several decades, I can say without hesitation that this is flat out wrong. For a variety of reasons completely separate from the presence of shelters, Uptown and Edgewater do and have historically attracted a greater number of homeless people than other neighborhoods.

    First off, the park (technically lincoln park) along the lakeshore adjacent to Uptown and Edgewater is very attractive for the homeless. South of Irving Park, the lakefront is much busier and homeless people are routinely harassed to the point where it becomes difficult to stay in one place. And, anyone who has been on the lakefront this far north late at night knows that there are very few people around and a lot of open space, making it feasible for a homeless person to find a secluded place where they can sleep undisturbed. Most of us in these neighborhoods enjoy the absence of crowds on the lakefront and the beach. The homeless do as well. There are southside neighborhoods that have a similar combination (though without the same amount of park space) but many caucasian homeless people avoid the south side because of the perception that it is more dangerous for a white homeless person to be in a predominantly african american neighborhood (Remember, for a homeless person, a minor injury can very quickly become life-threatening).

    Second, many homeless people ride the trains during the day and the red-line is the best line in the city to do this on because it is above ground and lengthy. Only the brown line has the same combination and it isn't quite as long. Put yourself in their position, would you rather ride a line all day that is underground or in the middle of a highway or one that runs through neighborhoods.

    Third, the major streets in Edgewater and Uptown tend not to be overrun by pedestrians. Broadway and Sheridan, for example, have sidewalks that are much less congested. In addition to the fact that this makes being distrubed much less likely, for a homeless person carting around bags, etc. this makes a huge difference.

    These factors are for many of us positive aspects of living in our neighborhood as opposed to Lakeview, but we also have to realize that this makes it more attractive to the homeless as well.

    If you think that getting rid of these shelters will solve the problem, you are deluding yourself. The fact is that the likely result would be more people like Anna wandering the streets at night, sleeping in alleys and most notably along the lake. In addition, if shelters started turning away any people who misbehaved, acted out, had a bad history, etc, they would be virtually empty.

  90. MJS, many of the things that you said were very informative and from the perspective of having worked with homeless people. Thank you. Although I feel you accurately describe the situation faced by homeless people in Chicago, I disagree with the conclusions you come to. At the end of a very long thread, I apologize for responding point by point but here goes:

    Sassy says, echoing the sentiments of many others, that "Uptown does not somehow generate more homelessness than other areas of the city."

    In this statement I was referring to the root cause of homelessness, namely, people not having a place to live. In our neighborhood we support a varied housing stock from SROs to half-way houses to affordable market rate rental units (our median rent in the 2000 Census was $564---very competitive other similarly "poor" neighborhoods but not with some of our immediate neighbors to the south and west), and affordable subsidized housing. We also have affordable home ownership opportunities for people above the City's average. (See the Trib's story today about middle class homeless families and how even the "evil homeless owners" are not immune either.) In addition, we have a variety of social service agencies that can offer a bit of assistance if someone's situation has changed quickly. For these reasons, I believe this neighborhood generates less (and certainly no more) homelessness than other areas of Chicago. But all of these supports are not without their problems. I think the general tone of the thread is that things are not working as well as they should and that its time for new ideas to come to the table. (The two old ideas---getting rid of shelters and doing nothing different---haven't done much for us in dealing with the issues so far!! LOL!) You yourself show reasons why people are attracted to Uptown. Why is this basic fact that 1) we are a responsible neighborhood and 2) people come here from other areas to partake in what is here such a source of contention? I really do not understand it. We can't have it both ways.

    That is why I think the conversation must get to: We have created these resources here. They serve a local population but also people who are drawn to them. Some of these people are very troubled. How much can we responsibly take on and how well can we handle what we've got without having a negative effect on the overall community? Even knowing that we could already be doing more, are there any benefits to setting limits on the amount and kinds of services that this neighborhood has for certain groups of people? Is that heartless or responsible? No matter what, I think these are things to think about because these are no longer "emergency" resources as they were intended in the late 1970s-early 1980s. This is public policy. I think it is appropriate for citizens to question the city's predilection for concentrating poverty. (I am not merely talking about Uptown.)

    [I have to break this into two posts. More to follow.]

  91. For a variety of reasons completely separate from the presence of shelters, Uptown and Edgewater do and have historically attracted a greater number of homeless people than other neighborhoods.

    Wrigleyville gets an influx of Cubs fans during baseball season. That has its pros and its cons but the bottom line is that the community has infrastructure in place to accommodate non-residents using the space in ways that are often contrary to how residents wish to use the space. If it is natural that we would we get homeless people seeking shelter here because of the way the trains run and how the park is, then why shouldn't we make better arrangements to accommodate this kind of interest in our community? Furthermore if this is some inevitable effect of the way Chicago is, why aren't more City resources directed towards us to accommodate the disconnect between people who live here and number of people who are drawn here for our resources? A network of shelters and services needs infrastructure to accommodate them just as for-profit businesses that attract customers do.

    South of Irving Park, the lakefront is much busier and homeless people are routinely harassed to the point where it becomes difficult to stay in one place. And, anyone who has been on the lakefront this far north late at night knows that there are very few people around.

    So you are saying that South of Irving Park is busier. I can grant you that. As for the rest, what came first? Chicken or Egg? If homeless people are "harassed" more South of Irving Park and they are not "harassed" North of Irving Park then we have one reason why homeless people choose to be here. Does that cause fewer people to use the parks late at night or is it a consequence of it? Being "harassed" in one area and not another is not something inevitable. Policies should be enforced equitably everywhere. If we choose not to, then accommodations should be made to deal with the effects of concentrating the issue in one area over another.

    Southside neighborhoods that have a similar combination (though without the same amount of park space) but many caucasian homeless people avoid the south side because of the perception that it is more dangerous for a white homeless person to be in a predominantly african american neighborhood.

    Our crime rate is much better than places on the west and south sides. Why not try to make it in a safer neighborhood? I don't blame any homeless person for that decision. On the other hand, the only homeless shelter along the south lakefront (outside of the Loop) that I know of is St. Martin de Porres. There aren't too many options along a train ride or near the lakefront on the southside. Why is that? If we had more options more evenly distributed throughout the city wouldn't that be a benefit to people who have recently become homeless?

  92. The major streets in Edgewater and Uptown tend not to be overrun by pedestrians. Broadway and Sheridan, for example, have sidewalks that are much less congested. In addition to the fact that this makes being distrubed much less likely, for a homeless person carting around bags, etc. this makes a huge difference.

    I think the chicken-and-egg argument fits here.

    These factors are for many of us positive aspects of living in our neighborhood as opposed to Lakeview, but we also have to realize that this makes it more attractive to the homeless as well.

    What you say here is odd because you're sort of saying that homeless people are attracted here because we have great amenities for homeless and non-homelesss alike. What??! I simply reject these notions that Uptown has a set of fixed attributes that cause it to be attractive to homeless people. What we have are decisions---at the national level, state-level, city-level and by aldermen in the city's wealthiest wards. Only part of Uptown's homelessness issue is the result of personal choices by homeless people trying to get by. I can't believe that you wold be homeless advocate and not see that the way homelessness services are organized are in reaction to decisions made elsewhere.

    I really mean this: please help me understand your perspective. Why aren't people like you who work with the homeless ANGRY!?? Why is the anger you do have almost entirely focused on the prejudicial, insensitive, NIMBY-oriented thoughts of individuals rather than a system that has done little to address the problem. Again, I ask, how's that 10-year plan to end homelessness coming along? Looks to me like we've got a lot of talk and not enough action. We were supposed to be building affordable home ownership opportunities for families near UIC. However, connected insiders got a hold of the properties and flipped them. Wilson Yard has a high cost for the number of units it is creating. How many more units could have been created (here or elsewhere) if these city tax dollars were spent differently? Few Aldermen have opted-in to the affordable housing set-aside ordinance. Will Michael Reese really be developed into affordable housing units or was that all talk too?

    For the love of all that is good in this world, we MUST change the direction of the conversation. We are getting nowhere seeing this as a NIMBY issue.

  93. Guess who is out of CCDOC custody... Keep your eyes open for Anna's tricks and not-so-much treats and call 911.