Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Does anyone seriously think people are better off living under Lake Shore Dr.?

I’m not kidding with that question. Because when it comes to the matter of people opposing city officials who want to do repairs to the drive in the Uptown neighborhood because it forced homeless people to relocate, I just don’t get it.
Homeless not just in Uptown, also downtown

The issue came to a head earlier this week when Chicago police had to use force to get people who had developed a “tent city” of sorts near Wilson and Lawrence avenues to leave the area.

CITY OFFICIALS HAD made arrangements for homeless shelters to accommodate those residents, but many of the homeless did not want to go. Which I almost understand – when one has little in life, they tend to cling too tightly to what little they do have.

No matter how cruddy it might be.

But there were activist groups who were fighting the city, trying to get measures approved in court that would interfere with the efforts to do the repair work to the bridges that are some 85 years old and are considered to be structurally deficient, due to age.

To those activists, the right of a person to take shelter under the bridges was more important than the public safety at large.

THERE ALSO ARE some people who think that plans to include bicycle paths are less about making public improvements for the surrounding neighborhood and more about making the area unsuitable for the return of homeless people once the bridge repairs are complete spring of next year.

Now throughout my years as a reporter-type person, I have heard countless arguments about gentrification and community repairs being made that do not take into account the existing residents and are meant more to turn a community into a place suitable for someone of a higher economic bracket.

I actually can sympathize with those arguments on the grounds that you’re trying to chase existing residents from their homes.

But in this case, we’re talking about people without homes. Personally, I find it shameful to think that anyone can find homelessness to be acceptable, and think that those people forced to seek shelter in public places isn’t an embarrassment to our society as a whole.

I’D SAY IT’S wrong that it took a road repair project to get city officials concerned enough to want to find proper shelter for those individuals in our society who, often through no fault of their own, have no other place to stay.

I’d say it’s long overdue that city officials made an effort to find alternate sites for those people who in some cases were pitching tents (and in some cases might not have even had that much shelter) to provide themselves something resembling housing.

And I’d say city officials ought to be concerned about the existence of conditions that cause many of those homeless officials to resist the idea of staying in a homeless shelter.

Seriously, anyone who reads the news reports of recent days about this issue can hear from those homeless who think a tent is a better shelter because of the sanitary conditions or overcrowded conditions of some of the homeless shelters.

IT TRULY IS sad to think our society in Chicago has reached a point where some people think they’re safer and more secure living out in the open of the Uptown neighborhood (which may not be the impoverished turf along the north lakefront that it used to be, but is still far from luxurious) rather than in a place with electricity and running water.

Perhaps those activists who were fighting in court until recently to thwart the road repair projects should have focused their efforts to improve the shelter options for those people whose life circumstances have caused them to resort to such conditions.

And I don’t want to hear from anyone who wants to believe that some people don’t know better and want to live like that. They’re probably the same nitwits who think that some women choose to be in prostitution.

We all have an obligation to try to help those at the bottom rungs of our society, if for the only reason being that our society as a whole is no longer than its lowest members.


No comments: