Victory for Uptown Homeless

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

After months of community protest, pressure, and shaming politicians, it was announced that the North Side Housing and Supportive Services Shelter on Lawrence Avenue will be saved from closure previously slated Christmas weekend. A rally took place to celebrate the victory at Lake Shore Drive Wilson Avenue, but also vocalize much more needs to be done to help the homeless community.

“We are here to celebrate a victory, a victory of keeping open the Uptown shelter at 941 W. Lawrence Avenue. The most important thing I think to say about this victory –it was not a victory of the politicians, it was not a victory of the wealthy –it was a victory of the community of Uptown, who have been hounding Alderman [James] Cappleman, who have been hounding our mayor, and state officials, to demand that this shelter that is so urgently needed,” said Andy Thayer, Uptown Tent City Organizers and Gay Liberation Network.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Uptown Tent City Organizers was joined by North Side Action for Justice, Gay Liberation Network, and other local community organizations that have fought to keep the shelter open and oppose the police and “social services” harassment of the homeless living underneath the Lake Shore Drive viaducts. “As people associated with the shelter have noted, Alderman Cappleman did not lift a finger to save the shelter. It was community pressure, the people behind me here, who demanded, relentlessly, that the shelter remain open. That is why the Uptown shelter is going to remain open at 941 W. Lawrence. So if we are going to earn future victories, we need to know what the source of our currently victories are.”

As you see behind me today, all the city resources being spent on the homeless, and it’s to harass them, and it’s to get Streets and Sanitation out here to do these pseudo cleanings which serve no purpose, no purpose at all. The resources could be spent to house these people,” said Trish Snowden, long time Uptown resident. “This has been an on-going battle for us, and this is a victory for us. We have an alderman who is a licensed clinical social worker and claims that people refuse to go to shelters, and then in the next breath says, ‘We don’t have room and don’t want these shelters in Uptown’ and doesn’t keep them open. The shelter at 941 W. Lawrence was going to close until we protested, and kept fighting and fighting and fighting.”

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