Chicagoans are protesting Thursday morning on the North Side near Lake Shore Drive viaducts “to call attention to the mounting problems of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing” in the city.
The demonstration is being led by Uptown homeless residents with Tent City Voices Heard as well as the community group One Northside and the Chicago Housing Initiative coalition.
Homeless individuals who live under Lake Shore Drive viaducts in Uptown are concerned that the city may soon require that they remove their tents.
The commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services recently said that the city could make a decision after October 14 on whether the homeless encampment residents’ tents will have to be removed from under the viaducts.
“On the eve of the Mayor’s anticipated announcement Friday, 150 demonstrators will demand security of tenure and possessions for the Uptown homeless along with passage of the ‘Keeping the Promise’ Ordinance to ensure access to permanent affordable housing for the camp residents, as well as thousands of others on the (Chicago Housing Authority’s) waiting lists on the brink of homelessness,” the groups involved with the protest said in a news release.
“If passed, the Ordinance will provide over 12,000 families access to affordable housing without drain on the city’s budget by strengthening City Council oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority to ensure accountable use of CHA’s stockpiled funds and future revenues.”
A city pilot program is underway to place 75 chronically homeless individuals living under the viaducts into permanent housing. As of last month, 40 people had been placed into housing and 11 dropped out of the program. The city, which announced the pilot program back in April, hopes to have the remaining pilot program’s participants housed by November.
The demonstrators say “the Tent City residents should be left unmolested to live their lives as best they can, until permanent housing can be found for them, as the Mayor promised in April, 2016.”
UPDATE 1: More than 150 demonstrators came out to call attention to the issues facing the Uptown Tent City residents and traffic was temporarily blocked on Lake Shore Drive. One person was arrested during the action.
Here is a look at some of the protest: