|A reader's photo of the park across from the Disney School|
"We've had a growing number of people sleeping out in the parks and near the viaducts under Lake Shore Drive. The vast majority of the people sleeping in the parks have shown chronic signs of drug and alcohol dependency, and many of them suffer mentality disability. The parks are an unsafe place for this vulnerable population.
Members of the 46th Ward staff and I, along with staff from the 48th Ward, the Dept. of Human Services, the Police, and staff from Streets & Sanitation and the Chicago Park District, have visited the parks at 1:30AM in order to offer support and encourage those sleeping in the parks to utilize the multiple social services provided throughout the city. We will continue this practice and continue to take other necessary steps to address homelessness in the ward until we observe a clear indication that the parks and the neighborhood are being respected, and that those in need of services are receiving them.
If you are aware of other public places where there are people sleeping out in the open, please notify my office. We will work with social services to reach out to them and provide them with the necessary assistance to get them appropriate and safe housing.
In future newsletters, I will discuss plans to better coordinate social services in the area in order to foster collaboration and the use of best practices to assist those in need. Given future budget constraints, it's more important than ever that we make the best use of our limited resources throughout the City of Chicago."