Alderman Cappleman’s statement on homelessness and viaduct encampments

September 25, 2017

Alderman Cappleman and the city’s Department of Family and Support Services have been taking action to help those who had been living beneath the Wilson and Lawrence viaducts access food, shelter, mental health services, addiction treatment and medical care.

Recent actions have included:
● Hosting a Sept. 8 event next to the viaducts where those living below the viaducts were connected with multiple providers, including emergency shelters, mental health and substance abuse treatment centers and medical care;
● DFSS visits to the viaduct three times a week for the past 18 months;
● Providing placement in shelters including Northside, Cornerstone and Pacific Garden Mission;
● Locating permanent housing for 53 people, bridge housing – an intermediate step to permanent housing, but not a shelter – for 21 people, and shelter for five people in the past 18 months.

Alderman Cappleman also continually works to increase the amount of affordable housing and provide shelter to those in need in the ward and in the city of Chicago.

His efforts have included:
● Leading the push for a Housing First pilot program that will serve as a model for other city programs;
● Requiring a 4 percent surcharge on all Airbnb rentals in the city to assist the city’s homeless;
● Receiving grant funding for Inspiration Corp. to provide case management to those living at the Wilson Men’s Hotel;
● Preserving affordable housing units in the ward, which has the highest number of government subsidized affordable housing units in the entire city;
● Adding more affordable housing units in the ward including: 45 Chicago Housing Authority units and 22 Low Income Housing Trust Fund units (for individuals making 0-30% of the AMI);
● Ensuring that when the R.E.S.T. shelters closed, providers such as Sarah’s Circle and Northside Housing & Support Services took over the shelters, resulting in an increase in the number of beds and in the quality of care;
● Approving a zoning change and government funding for a new Sarah’s Circle facility in Uptown, which will provide new permanent housing for 38 homeless women and a new facility for their existing 50-bed women’s shelter;
● Approving construction of a new shelter in the 46th Ward, Apna Ghar, which is the only domestic violence shelter in the Midwest dedicated to the needs of immigrant women.

Although the 46th Ward ranks No. 1 with the most government-subsidized affordable housing in the city of Chicago, more subsidized housing is needed for people experiencing homelessness. All leaders need to step up to increase the amount of affordable housing for the most vulnerable residents of our city. All Chicagoans should have access to safe housing.

Cappleman Statement on Homelessness-Viaducts_9-25-17