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Chicago Has A Plan To End Homelessness

Getting Housed, Staying Housed

The Chicago Continuum of Care represents organizations whose work directly impacts the homeless service system in the City of Chicago. This network of nearly 200 private and public organiations developed "Getting Housed, Staying Housed," the city's ten-year plan to end homelessness. Mayor Richard M. Daley has endorsed the plan. Chicago's plan represents a new approach. Rather than placing homeless people in temporary shelters, their goal is to find them permanent housing with supportive services right away. The reason being, that people respond better to job training, education, substance abuse treatment and other services when they have peace of mind about their living situation.

The vision of the Continuum of Care is that at the end of 10 years, all individuals and families at risk of homelessness in Chicago will have access to quality affordable housing and supportive services Through this program, there will be no new homeless people, and safeguards will be established for those at risk. Overnight/emergency shelters will be eliminated and any recurrence of homelessness will be prevented.

The Uptown Chicago Commission invited Liz Drapa, the Acting Director of Chicago's Continuum of Care, to speak before a group of about 20 people, representing 10 of the area's block clubs on March 1, 2005. The goal was to obtain a better understanding of the Continuum, as well as how this program would impact Uptown.

end homelessness article or list of accomplishments

Due to an inordinate number of arrests that were made at or near 2 local nursing homes, the UCC's Public Safety Committee worked with the Chicago Police Department and instigated an investigation. The following letter was a result of the investigation:

(to view letter as a PDF document please click)

May 17, 2005

Ms. Edie Stockey, Long-term Care Supervisor
Illinois Dept. of Public Health
Bellwood Regional Office
4212 W. St. Charles Road
Bellwood, IL 60104

Re: High number of arrests of residents living at 2 nursing homes

Dear Ms. Stockey:

This letter is to alert you about a concern that a number of residents have voiced in our neighborhood. Many residents all over Chicago work with a Chicago Police program called CAPS. Itís a program that involves the community to assist the police with addressing crimes, especially ones that are chronic.

At our CAPS meeting, we observed that a number of arrests were occurring outside of two particular nursing homes in our neighborhood, and I asked Sgt. Chris Davis to look at the number of arrests that occurred around these two places. Sgt. Davis looked at all the arrests that either occurred somewhere on the property of these two nursing homes, or involved a person giving the nursing home as his/her home address.

At the Wilson Care Nursing Home located at 4544 N. Hazel in Chicago, the following occurred from April 2004 to April 2005:

  • 11 arrests at the address of this facility: the arrests included 2 for prostitution, 2 for drug possession, and 3 assaults.

  • 50 arrests where the arrestee gave the address of Wilson Care as his/her place of residence: the arrests included 6 for drug possession, 10 for drinking on the public way, 1 for public indecency, 1 for urination on the public way, 1 for disorderly conduct.

  • A resident whose name is Mr. Robert Shuerger is a registered child sex offender. The Wilson Care is directly across the street from Joan Arai Middle School, and by law, Mr. Shuerger is required to live at least 500 feet away from a school or playground. At the Grasmere Nursing Home located at 4621 N. Sheridan in Chicago, the following occurred from April 2004 to April 2005:

  • 6 arrests at the address of this facility: the arrests included 2 for drug possession and one for public urination.

  • 27 arrests where the arrestee gave the address of the Grasmere as his/her place of residence: 7 for drug possession, 5 for drinking on the public way, 1 for urinating in public, and 1 for disorderly conduct.

  • Itís with sadness that I also understand that a resident from the Grasmere was killed two weeks ago at the Wilson L Station.

As a social worker myself, I would not want anything to jeopardize services at these two facilities, but itís becoming more apparent to me and to the community that more direct supervision is needed of residents at these two facilities. Our neighborhood has a disproportionately high number of children living in poverty. The problems they face are exacerbated when some of them also witness crime from residents living at these two facilities.

As chair of the Uptown Chicago Commissionís Public Safety Committee, I can say that our organization expects that the interventions you utilize to address this will result in lowering the number of arrests in and around these facilities and their residents. I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss this further and look forward to hearing from you.

James Cappleman, LCSW (signed)
Uptown Chicago Commission Public Safety Chair

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