Friday, December 15, 2023

New Shelter Planned On Wilson Avenue

1140 West Wilson (courtesy Google Streetview)

File this one under "elections have consequences."

Ald. Angela Clay's office has announced plans for a new "non-congregate" shelter (i.e., an interim shelter that provides non-communal accommodations) right in the middle of Uptown's resurgent business district. 

The proposed space at 1140 West Wilson is slated to be operated by CCO (Cornerstone Community Outreach, aka The Jesus People). This is the same building that is home to Downstate Donuts  and  2Bears Tavern. 

The 46th Ward office has just released a community survey that can be filled out here, but we are sure this is already a done deal. 

A community meeting is planned for Monday, January 8 at Wilson Abbey, 935 West Wilson with the DOH (Department of Housing) and Cornerstone Community Outreach (which already operates three other shelters just steps from this proposed location). Online access to the meeting is also available.

The shelter (which is listed for sale for $7,590,000 as of this posting) will require a "special use permit." It is unclear whether the building is being bought as part of the transaction, but we have learned Cornerstone will also be applying for $4.5M in TIF to operate the shelter

Those of us who've been in the area a while remember the extremely business-unfriendly condition of Wilson Avenue until relatively recently. Coming out of COVID, adding another shelter along a busy retail corridor is the last thing that’s needed.

If this shelter opens (and we have no doubt that Alderman Clay will approve the zoning change and shelter no matter what kind of community feedback is given), it will be the fourth residential shelter in a one-block area (Clifton and Wilson). It will be a fifth shelter if you count CCO's apparently illegal overnight men’s shelter located in the middle of the 4600 block of Clifton. 

Given the recent news that Chicago's other neighborhoods will be required to take on more affordable housing and supportive services with the abolition of aldermanic privilege, it makes us wonder -- Why Uptown for another shelter? And why on Wilson in the middle of the business district?

Uptown has always had the majority of Chicago's shelters and leads the city in HUD subsidized housing. 

Uptown has six shelters that receive city funding compared to the rest of the city,
three of which are run by CCO on Clifton.

Uptown has always been a compassionate community and the founders of this blog moved here for the fact that people in Uptown come from all walks of life and different income levels. That's the reason many of us choose to live here. 

We are extremely sympathetic to the plight of people needing shelter, and our group have all quietly donated to and volunteered at organizations that help people. 

But when you add in the interim domestic violence emergency shelter run by Apna Ghar in a nearby location, Sarah’s Circle’s interim shelter two blocks away, and the Evangeline Booth Lodge another two blocks away from Sarah’s Circle, as well as the 1,000 migrants living in emergency housing at the former Immaculata School at Irving Park and Marine Drive, we wonder: Why this, why here, and why now?  

And, if this is a purchase, where is the money coming from? We find it awfully curious that Alderman Clay is allowing $10 million in surplus funds in the Clark-Montrose TIF to expire on December 31, 2023, only to see those funds go into the City's "general fund." Is that money going here? Something to keep an eye on going forward.

Ald. Clay says in her weekly newsletter that "Cornerstone is also seeking TIF funding from the Wilson Yards [sic] TIF to complete the project."

So again -- why Uptown? 

Homelessness is a city-wide issue that requires a city-wide response.

Adding another shelter here sends a message that other communities can depend on Uptown for picking up the slack for them

At some point, it's time to make sure the whole City pitches in. Why not Lake View, Roscoe Village, Andersonville, North Center, Edgewater or St. Ben's?  What do you say, Alderman Martin and Alderman Manaa-Hoppenworth? 


  1. I agree. I don't want the unhoused to have direct access to a major transit hub, public college, or community with expanding housing capacity and business district work opportunities. I expect existing populations to drive elsewhere in Chicago without also having to acknowledge others believe in a Jesus. I know deities don't need to concern themselves with administrative efficiency or locational span of control when seeking and utilizing public funds. Heartland did it great!

    It's absolutely fair to imply that efforts to diversify the location and number of these shelters aren't ALSO happening. I think the problem is an Alderwoman the founders of this blog publicly opposed while quietly supporting the unhoused population until, conveniently, now.

    P.S. On weekends me take a grammar hammer to Sidetracks [sic] to make sure people know I English.

  2. This is insightful but we should all continue to blame that one block club that voted against things and sneakily overrode the previous alder by expressing their concerns.

    1. Can you explain Anon? I don't know about this.

  3. The shelter (which is listed for sale for $7,590,000 as of this posting)
    ^^ What does this mean? Does it mean the property is for sale? And if it's for sale, is it being sold to a new developer for new housing or to continue the shelter.
    Yawl voted for her (I didn't) so yawl are stuck with her.
    This is right across from Truman College. I wonder if the City College has any say in this?

  4. Wow this was a hateful read. I hope this space provides respite for those who need it most.