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Uptown Tent City Residents Removed from Viaducts Without Permanent Housing

Uptown Tent City
Chicago’s Uptown Tent City (Source: Chicago Activism)

CHICAGO, IL – (ENEWSPF)—September 18, 2017. This morning 25 residents, known as Uptown Tent City, were removed from the parkway west of the Wilson viaduct by the Chicago Police Department.  Chicago Police Department officers and Streets and Sanitation employees forced residents to dismantle their tents and tossed the tents that were not dismantled into flatbed trucks to be taken to storage.

Many of the 50 residents of the viaducts, which provided stability and security for the residents, removed their tents before the eviction notice. Residents had moved their tents and belongings into the parkway west of the Wilson Viaduct this weekend due to the 30 day eviction notice placed on the Wilson and Lawrence viaducts last month.  Residents assembled their tents next to the viaducts, but were told to move their tents because they were “obstructing [officers’] view of traffic.”

While Department of Family and Supportive Services had a presence during the removal, some residents were only offered placement on a shelter list rather than permanent housing. In previous weeks, the Department of Family and Supportive Services had mentioned three shelter options, but there was no guarantee of permanent housing for all of the residents.

“This is a betrayal of those who have been living here by the city of Chicago,” said Tom Gordon, one of the residents of Tent City.  “I’ve lived in Uptown for years and I’m here because I was evicted from an SRO (single room occupancy building).  The homeless are not going away — and for Rahm Emanuel and James Cappleman to not even show up for this, but to send [the Chicago Police Department] to kick us out, is sickening.”

The eviction of Uptown Tent City is just one piece of the displacement of people of color and low income residents of Uptown in the last year.  As rent prices have risen dramatically in Uptown, new luxury developments are built like Maryville, an incoming 600+ unit high rise with less than 2.5% of affordable housing, more and more long time residents of Uptown like Tom Gordon have been forced into homelessness.  The eviction of Uptown Tent City also comes less than a year after the eviction of 30 people living in tents at Stewart School.

“There is a dire need for real affordable housing in Uptown and across the North Side,”  said Curtis Smith, the board president of ONE Northside.  “Rising rents, the closure of single room occupancy buildings, and new developments without enough affordable housing will only create more homelessness.  With all of these forces in play, long time Uptown residents like those living in Uptown Tent City truly have nowhere to go.  We need real vision and public investment in this vital resource.”

Many residents remain at the Wilson viaducts, without guarantee of housing or another place to go.

For more updates follow @ONENorthside on Twitter or Facebook.

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Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that unites our diverse communities. We build collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organizing. We accomplish this through developing grassroots leaders and acting together to effect change.

Source: One Northside

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