Can you support the homeless while shunning them from your ‘hood?

46th Ward Alderman, James Cappleman is at odds with the Salvation Army over their desire to feed the homeless from a food truck, parked in his district. Turi debates Sun Times columnist Mark Brown on whether Ald. Cappleman is waging a morally just battle.

49 comments

  • RDW

    I am not against food trucks and the homeless in Uptown – I don't want the Salvation Army! They discriminate against the LGBT community – which is very present in Uptown.

    • Susan Raedeke

      Can you elaborate? Do you mean the SA screens poor people for LGBT orientation before giving them a meal? Or they don't hire folks from the LGBT community? Or something else?

      • fgfm

        This is a propaganda line started by lobbyist Rick Garcia. Do a web search on "Salvation Army denies being anti-gay."

      • fgfm

        Funny how Garcia, who I believe used to be some sort of Republican, endorsed Gery Chico for mayor (who was endorsed by the "Chicago Tea Party Patriots"), but called James Meeks "the darling of the hard right wing."

  • Laura

    Thank you for this. It's been very difficult as one of those people who find their ideals up against practicalities of daily life to witness this campaign against the alderman and people of Uptown. Nothing is all that black and white.
    And FYI, there is indeed one of those facilities you mention that houses active drug users in Uptown, paid for by TIF funds on Leland and Racine.

    • Uptown Neighbor

      If you are interested in the gray areas, you might take a serious look at how the principles and practive of harm reduction have helped the world over. After I learned about it, I came to understand much more about why in Europe, for example, there isn't so much of the homelessness and crime among some drug users as we see here. There's a great report that explains how it is widely used and accepted in Europe: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/monograp…. I also found it useful to learn more about Prohibition and how it affected Uptown. History is pretty instructive, actually, for looking at a lot of things in Uptown.

  • Kshizzle

    Okay Mr. Brown. It's pretty clear you have never spent any amount of time in Uptown if you think the homeless problem is unique to the viaducts under LSD. They are EVERYWHERE, and they are aggressive and scary. It's also insulting as an Uptown resident to hear you speak as if those of us who live here are compassionless and unconcerned about people less fortunate. I'll just leave you with this excerpt from Uptown Update, in reference to a map showing the locations of SROs in Chicago. You know, the ones you are wrongly accusing Ald. Cappleman of closing down:

    We are a compassionate community, as our high levels of volunteerism and charitable giving indicate. But take a look at those dots. We don't think one small community should bear responsibility for 15 SROs, eight homeless shelters (within a five block area) and the highest concentration of HUD-subsidized housing on the north side of Chicago. What's wrong with the idea that other communities should be offered the opportunity to show compassion and care to society's most vulnerable members?
    Maybe those who live in glass suburbs shouldn't throw stones.

    • fgfm

      "You know, the [SROs] you are wrongly accusing Ald. Cappleman of closing down"

      Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day!

    • George

      "they are everywhere", "they are agressive and scary" funny, if one were to make the same statements and generalizations about black people, a person would be rightlyand universally condemned, but somehow it is okay to make them about homeless people. Bigotry is bigotry. And drop the victimhood. If you don't like living in a neighborhood with as much low income housing, move to another neighborhood like boystown, or lincoln park, or Andersonville, or Ravenswood, or Roscoe Village, or Lincoln Square, or Wicker Park. Oh but you can't move to those places because you can't afford them and the reason you can afford Uptown instead is because of all the surrounding SRO's etc.

  • Moe

    We probably have more services for the homeless in Uptown than any other part of Chicago, if not Illinois. Everyone, including people who have been comatose for twenty years, know this. Mark Brown is doing a great thing for his career and getting some needed publicity for dying hometown newspapers like the Sun Times. We have much bigger things to focus on besides whether a group of bums is going to get its next meal from one soup kitchen or another, and how stressful it will be for them to walk a block or two to the next one if the Salvation Army has to move to somewhere like *gasp* Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast, or Old Town.

    • fgfm

      *We have much bigger things to focus on besides whether a group of bums*

      As the man concentrates on "a group of bums."

    • Uptown Neighbor

      I agree there are much bigger things to focus on. I'm trying to remain supportive of the alderman but won't be able to sustain that much longer if he doesn't focus some serious attention on the outrageous $32 million subsidy that JDL is asking for to build luxury high-rise buildings in a prime lakefront location at Montrose & the lake.

      It's criminal to give JDL our money off the top of our property taxes (I've been paying them in Uptown far longer than our alderman has been here) when our schools and bus routes are being stripped away or considered for closure because the city budget is tight.

      JDL will use this public money to block out daylight for a huge number of historic neighboring buildings—including the public park district building. This will cause them higher heating and lighting costs and cause property marketability to drop hugely. JDL's plan will dump water from at least 900 toilets, 842 dishwashers, and huge HVAC systems into our ancient and overtaxed sewers.

      JDL's plan will add even MORE small apartments to eastern Uptown's over-the-top quantity of small apartments. The instructions in the ward master plan are loud and clear: don't build more small units because we need family housing. But the alderman has not once questioned JDL's plan to build a huge complex that is 85% small units.

      And then there are the almost 700 parking places that will add so many unnecessary cars to transit-friendly Buena Park National Historic District at the same time CDOT is spending big effort and money to create pedestrian- and bike-friendly streets all over the city just like the one we have on Clarendon.

      Where is the alderman's scrutiny and commitment on these big public expenditures?

  • fgfm

    FYI, all the pro-Cappleman comments are a result of Uptown Update linking to this page and more mostly composed of people parroting the arguments to be found there.

    • Kshizzle

      So, who are you and where do you live? I'm an Uptown homeowner and I look out my window and see the homeless sleeping in the park across the street. I've had to cross the street in broad daylight to avoid being leered at by them as they form a gauntlet on the benches in the park. I can't walk to the grocery store, the restaurants on Argyle, or the entertainment venues on Broadway and Lawrence without being panhandled by people who can barely hold themselves upright they're so wasted. Mr. Brown needs to lose his romanticized vision of the poor, harmless homeless camping out under the viaducts in Uptown and let Ald. Cappleman do the job to which he was elected. Funny how he hasn't mentioned lobbying to relocate those displaced SRO residents to his neighborhood…

    • Kevin Stanton

      Well yes, obviously. This is an issue followed closely by people in the neighborhood, who watch and read media central to issues impacting this neighborhood. It's equally accessible to the Alderman's dissidents, or non-involved listeners from other neighborhoods, cities and states, too. I suppose you're baffled when sports commentary is also filled with commenters who happen to be interested in sports as well. Interesting.

      • fgfm

        I don't think that the people posting here are representative of the people who are interested in this topic as the link is a little obscure. Uptown Update is known for having commenters swarm sites in order to present the illusion of overwhelming support for their positions.

  • Macs

    I live in Uptown and know for a fact that the SRO's on my street and the CHA buildings on my street do NOT require drug testing. My neighborhood would be ten thousand times better if people were drug tested in order to secure highly subsidized housing and a free parking lot to boot for the CHA buildings. I'm not sure where you get your information.

      • Macs

        No, no drug testing required to get a mortgage here although we would all pass with flying colors. My employer, however, does require drug testing (and testing negative for drugs) to work for them and earn a paycheck to pay for my mortgage. If you listened to the podcast, you'd know that I was referring to the statement they made saying SROs and public housing required drug tests. They do not. At least they don't on my street.

  • fgfm

    Funny how Uptown Update is still hammering the Oak Park angle when Turi Ryder is based out of San Francisco. I'm sure she's been following the situation very closely out there!

  • Glenn

    Obviously Mr Brown has no idea of the subject he talks about. He has no clue. Come live in Uptown for year. Then write your column.

  • Christopher

    I support moving the homeless people to Oak Park! Will drive them to Mark Brown's house. He can feed them and let them live in his yard.

  • Uptown worker

    Mr Brown have you taken a walk around uptown early morning when all the homeless are still sleeping around schools, after school programs and parks? Now if you think homeless people have it hard your right they do times are hard. But if they sit there all day on their lawn chairs waiting for this food truck without even trying to find some way to make a buck you have to ask yourself is this service is really helping the homeless.

  • Roger Bennett

    Mr. Brown has descended into sensationalism over honest journalism, showing no real understanding of the problems of Uptown. He should join Fox news.

Comments are closed.

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