Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dumpster? What Dumpster?

The view on Clifton looking west from Broadway
We noticed that the much maligned dumpster/compactor that sits on the sidewalk outside Cornerstone Community Outreach is now being "masked" by about 8 arborvitaes. It looks nicer, but we can't help but wonder what goes on back in that corner now that it is hidden from view by the trees.


  1. Aren't there much more pressing things in life to worry about than a dumpster?.? If an individual were to commit a crime, i'm sure he or she wouldn't run behind a few tiny shrubs and call it a day. If you are indeed truly concerned, wouldn't it be a clever idea to walk over take a peek for yourself instead of making your own assumptions? Or perhaps make an effort to have a bit of bipartisan dialogue with CCO? Relax.

  2. Isn't that dumpster on at least one surveillance camera as we all must surely be aware of by now? That little piece of Clinton is surveiiled in both directions. Uptown Recording has at least two right?
    As you must know Clifton doesn't have an alley so the dumpster is out front. Just like in NYC but now with bushes...yay.
    Would you like I should stop by and paint some bushes ON the dumpster?

  3. Cornerstone means well but they do a poor job of managing their clients, thus the concern about places to hide. It becomes sad when people start to question if the work Cornerstone is doing is really helping the homeless to get back on their feet.

    Cornerstone is long overdue for some fence mending. This situation didn't help matters any.

  4. Holy Moley

    You can connect with Cornerstone on facebook. They regularly post up bios and photos of now formerly homeless proudly holding keys to their new place.

    They put out some plants to make the place look a little nicer, hardly a nefarious act till proven otherwise. We just had 6 gunshots at Malden and Leland and no UU post on that but dumpster bushes?

  5. The subject of Cornerstone and its poor management has come up time and time again. I doubt this complaint would have ever surfaced if they were better neighbors to the community.

    There's a lesson to be learned from this. Until that lesson is learned, my guess is that complaints from the community will continue.

    1. It comes up on UU but sometimes it is better to get your info from more then one source.Cornerstone has had many many success stories and its easy to confirm.

      This corner is not hidden from view at all with the bushes. You can see the camera upper left pointed right at it.

      So hidden from view to who?

      This is a curious posting.

  6. Ah, now I understand. You think the focus is about the bushes.

    It's not really at all. It's about the lack of response to some concerns raised about the way they provide services to the homeless. You've probably seen the videos of adults doing their drug deals, drinking, and peeing on the street in front of their shelter. If they held their clients to a higher standard rather than provide yet another hiding place for this inappropriate behavior, this "curious" posting would have never appeared. Have you ever noticed that the loitering along Wilson Avenue clears out when it's time for another meal to be served at Cornerstone? After the meal, they go right back out along Wilson Avenue to do their drinking and it continues until it's time for the next meal.

    I'm not fooled by a very few number of success stories. It's time for Cornerstone to do a much better job than what they're currently doing. I'll give them some slack when I see fewer of their clients loitering around the community.

  7. It is more then a very few cases and if you don't know that Holy Moley you have been fooled.

    Yes this is a curious post, its not like those are the only bushes in Uptown to hide behind, and these bushes have cameras on them.

    Yes this post is about the bushes. Unless the bushes were just a prompt. That location takes care of a lot of homeless families with young children, but how could anybody reading your comment know so.

    It is because the totality of your knowledge of Cornerstone has been formed by UU posts and comments along with presuppositions that the people you see on Wilson are between free meals.

    There is more to the story if you or anyone else chooses to take a more comprehensive view of the facility, their mission and record.

    They put some bushes out by the looks nicer. The bushes are not as tight as they appear in the photo from that angle, its not a good hiding place. Yes this is a curious post. I'll leave it at that since its all good.....;)

  8. Holey moley is a person who thinks he knows what's going on at cornerstone and probably wouldn't last a second in the shelter program with that attitude. I know a lot let me repeat a lot of people who have been helped by them

  9. eric, Holy Moley probably isn't an immediate candidate for the shelter program, so whether or not she or he would "last a second" isn't really a point here, is it?

    Anecdotal evidence aside (we can all produce "lots and lots of people" to bolster whatever point we want to make), I have to wonder where the various Uptown shelters rate in the goals set by the city -- placing clients in interim and permanent housing, rather than giving them two hots and a cot every night? Surely some of the social workers who post here can provide some statistics to tell us how successful the nearby shelters are doing with that?

    REST lost its government funding because it wasn't successful at doing that. As Alderman Cappleman said a week or so ago in his e-mail, social services funding is going to become even more scarce in 2013 and 2014 because of the city's pension crisis.

    I'd like to know what shelters are doing well in finding permanent housing for their clients, and which ones are doing very little toward that goal.

  10. TSN is spot on... I would like it to be a requirement that all shelters have to provide an audited report on success rate. I understand it is not going to be 100% but if some shelters are hitting, say 55% and others 10%, I think it is fair to ask why. Build on the success of those that are better at doing their job. Lowered expectations equal lowered results ... also, I thought they were going to look into licensing homeless shelters... what happened with that?

  11. A audited report would be a good idea to prove their success rate and if they fall below certain guide lines they would be shut down. Far too many just fill their pockets with donations and tax doallars and give back little to thoses in need.

  12. I agree with TSN as well. There is a mega-bundence of anecdotal info on all sides of the issue. With that said it isn't the easiest thing to measure but can be done to a degree.
    It can also be noted that even plain and seemingly self-evident facts can be interpreted in wildly different ways, a hallmark of our political discourse it seems.
    A great exaple would be these bushes, some see landscaping, others see an attempt to hide something, another might prefer lattice and hate bushes altogether.
    But that is no reason not to try to assess what are the results. Every organization needs to assess the outcome of their efforts to improve or even to know what is what.
    I hope we can find a way to do it in good faith so Cornerstone can not only continue with their good work but improve results. The results we all want at the end of the day, less homelessness, hunger and despair.
    Cheers.....keep cool Uptown!

  13. @Littleton Arts Uptown Well put! @Uptown SuperHero! @WISEGUY Simply placing success requirements on homeless shelters is like telling a rehab center that they risk a shutdown if they re-admit a certain percentage of patients. A small percentage of a shelter's success may be due to a need in staff and facility improvements, but the majority rests on the individual. There is only so much a shelter can do for the individual. At that point it's up to them whether or not they end up back on the streets. Instead of passing judgement as though you are the authority figure of homeless shelter programs, perhaps you ought to use your time efficiently and volunteer over there. Get the full perspective.

  14. Homeless shelters that require their residents to work full-time on their issues that caused homelessness in the first place will probably fare better than homeless shelters that allow their residents to drink, drug, and pee in the streets.

    I've not witnessed the same types of problems going on with the Salvation Army shelter at Lawrence as I have with Cornerstone. However, it would be good to compare the success rate of Salvation Army with Cornerstone and see if there's much of a difference.

  15. Dear series of numbers and letters:

    Like it or not, the City of Chicago judges a shelter on how many people it is able to move from being a repetitious drain on a system that has limited financial resources (i.e., sleeping night after night in a shelter and making no move to change one's life beyond that) to self-sufficiency and independence (being moved into interim and permanent housing, and getting off the streets).

    You may not like it, but that's how the City of Chicago sees it and that's how they decide who gets their money -- money that is drying up at a rapid pace. We're all paying for the Daley years now and the piper doesn't come cheap.

    JPUSA loves to say "come on down and volunteer if you don't like the way things are run." Sorry, don't buy that line of reasoning. I prefer to work with programs that have a history of welcoming and embracing the community rather than circling the wagons and stamping their feet at the "unfairness" of it all. Why is it that Cornerstone never, ever mentions the fact that their wonderful shelters employed a security guard who was convicted of trafficking heroin on the job a few years ago?

    Perhaps Cornerstone and JPUSA have a fabulous record of placing people into permanent housing. I'd like to see those figures, compared to other shelters that receive government funding.

    Here's a deal for you: Show me that Cornerstone is doing an above-average job at getting people out of overnight shelters and off the streets, as compared to other shelters on the North Side, and I'll volunteer for a month on weekends. I'm not talking pictures of people waving their keys around, I'm talking facts and statistics from a source other than a JPUSA affiliate that show Cornerstone's success rate at placing people in permanent housing as compared with other shelters on the North Side of Chicago.

  16. Truman square nabr will u embrace the residents it works both ways it takes two to tango like the late sylvia robinson sang on the 1973 hit pillow talk

  17. They are clearly doing a better job than any of you whiners are.

    I can't believe the asinine complaints over the dumpsters and the recycling containers. Whoever is complaining (Uptown Recording) clearly cares little for their neighborhood and neighbors and chooses only to waste time money and resources on idiotically invented problems.

  18. There it is, that warm embrace, that all-encompassing, love-thy-neighbor JPUSA attitude, as so beautifully illustrated by Otto's response. It just makes me all fuzzy inside. I don't know if the JPUSA Bible has all the verses I grew up with.

    "So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."

    "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

    "Forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

    "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."

    "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

    Tell us, Otto, who would Jesus flame?

  19. GG,

    you need to give Otto a break. He's one of the few JPUSA's who publicly avoid the passive aggressive stance of non leader Trott. I appreciate that. It's a bit more honest than the oleaginous meanderings of the great non leader.

    Otto's been a bit stressed out lately. Now my understanding from some Uptown living ex JPUSA types is that Otto is the pledge chairman for their little intentional community.

    By that I mean he is or was their recruitment director. You know finding damaged young people who they can exploit for free labor has to be tiring.

    I mean what would Jesus do?

    In any case it pains me to even suggest any level of agreement with Otto or his JPUSA comrades, but Cornerstone putting up the shrubbery is a good thing.

    After all as Monty Python proved shrubbery is a good thing.

    Any comment regarding JPUSA is unworthy of a hyperlink.