Monday, December 5, 2011

No More REST, New Providers Take Over

We've been hearing for years that the REST Shelter, located in the Preston Bradley Center at 941 W Lawrence, has been in financial straits:
  • A few years ago, there was an acrimonious parting of the ways with the Epworth Church in Andersonville, with allegations of non-payment to the church for providing shelter. Cornerstone ended up taking over REST's provider status there.
  • A couple years ago, we heard rumblings that some governmental funding to REST was cut, and that emergency private funding was needed to keep the shelter open.
  • This past summer, REST closed its daytime drop-in shelter and ran a notice on its website: "REST Needs Donations Now or May Close Doors by mid-September."  $200,000 was the amount needed to stay open.
A reader has directed us to an article that announces REST's closing as of November 30th.  An excerpt:
A few days ago, volunteers at the REST homeless shelter in Uptown received an email, letting them know that the shelter would be closing this week.

"It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that after 3 decades of service, REST will be closing our doors for the final time on November 30," wrote volunteer coordinator Kari Aosved. "Due to budget cuts on the state level, and several other funding sources reducing their funds as well, we are no longer able to afford to keep our doors open."

The shelter closes the day after lawmakers voted to restore funding to homeless shelters that had been cut 52 percent in the state budget. Unfortunately, the funding didn't come soon enough to save REST.

Other organizations are taking over REST's programs, with the women's shelter program taken over by Sarah's Circle and the men's shelter by North Side Housing and Supportive Services, and the permanent housing services by Housing Opportunities for Women.
We wish the new shelter providers much success.  We look forward to hearing from the neighbors at Sheridan and Lawrence to see if there's any improvement in the loitering with new shelter providers.

Update:  Here is North Side Housing And Supportive Services announcement about the change.  And here is the announcement from Sarah's Circle, which apparently began providing services to REST's women on November 1st.


  1. Hi, sorry, I am slow... is this shelter closing 100% or is it remaining open with other organizations taking it over? thanks

  2. I live down the street from the Epworth Shelter, every morning addicts and losers file out of there and proceed to drink, smoke rock and turn the block into a bathroom. The sooner all these enabling factories are closed down the better.

  3. USH! -- New agencies have taken over REST's buildings and caseload. They seem to be reputable.

    Alek -- The difference between a well-run shelter and a poorly run shelter is staggering. If you have problems with Epworth's residents' behavior, contact Cornerstone (although I'm sure Sandy Ramsay will tell you that it's not her people doing that -- her stock response to any criticism).

    You just reek of the milk of human kindness. Ready to have three ghosts visit you on Christmas Eve?

    "At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge", said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

    "Are there no prisons?", asked Scrooge.

    "Plenty of prisons", said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

    "And the Union workhouses?", demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"

    "They are. Still", returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

    "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?", said Scrooge.

    "Both very busy, sir."

    "Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course", said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it."

    "Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude", returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when want is keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?"

    "Nothing!", Scrooge replied.

    "You wish to be anonymous?"

    "I wish to be left alone", said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

    "Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

    "If they would rather die", said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

    Sound familiar, Alek?

  4. Great sentiments, Boohoo, and certainly, many people who experience homelessness are deserving of help and support and a hand to get them back on their feet.

    But let's not pretend that the people Alek speaks of don't exist or are misunderstood. They are users and losers and none of them give two $%&*s about their neighbors in Uptown.

  5. Boohoo that was right on time...utterly appropriate.

    Merry Christmas to ya!

  6. Alek - please do not hesitate to contact Epworth when ever you see the problem you note occurring. We, Epworth (along with the service providers) would like to address it immediately. Thanks - Bruce