A homeless encampment outside the shuttered Stewart Elementary School in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood has been removed after the city fenced off the area Monday.
Those who lived at the encampment reportedly received advance notice that the area would be fenced off. They were instructed to remove their tents and belongings from the property.
A private developer intends to build a mixed-use development at the site.
Homeless encampment residents said they don’t know where they will live now that they’ve been evicted from the site. They noted that the city’s homeless shelters are nearly at capacity and one in Uptown is slated to shut down altogether in December because of funding issues.
“There’s nowhere for us to go, but they’re pushing us around like we don’t even matter,” Delores Parker, who lived in a tent outside Stewart Elementary, told DNAinfo Chicago. “All we’re asking for is a place to live and lay our heads down.”
The city has also increased its cleanings at tent encampments under the nearby Lake Shore Drive viaducts. Homeless encampment residents say the increased cleanings are a form of harassment.
“The city’s ‘cleanings’ of encampment sites of the homeless is being greatly increased in Uptown to the point where they are seen as gratuitous and malicious, to serve no other purpose than to make life for the homeless more difficult to endure in hopes they would leave the areas of their accord and be ‘voluntarily’ displaced,” reads a statement from Tent City Voices Heard, the advocacy group comprised of the homeless residents.