Temperatures continue to be frigid with the windchill slapping the thermometer consistently below the zero degree mark. It’s a harsh enough climate even with shelter but without a home, it can become perilous.
Now, some city workers are being accused of throwing away the belongings of homeless people in the Avondale neighborhood.
Living and sleeping underneath the Kennedy Expressway near Belmont and Kedzie is one of the few places in the city homeless people can seek a refuge from the snow and wind. But yesterday afternoon, a trash clean-up crew threw away the belongings of everyone who kept their stuff there, according to WGN.
Father Paul Kalchik is a priest at nearby Resurrection Catholic Church who often helps the homeless. “This is evil,” he said of the situation. “It would be more humane to just line them up against the building and shoot ‘em as compared to taking away what little they had and then expecting them to fend in this cold for themselves with nothing,”
Gretchen Moore was driving by when she saw what was happening. “I parked my car and I went running over and I said, ‘Who are you and why are you doing this? I can’t believe any of the aldermen would do this,” she said.
11-year-old Ryan Gurtis was there handing out backpacks of blankets and snacks to those in need.
“They kicked all the homeless people out of their area, like under the bridge and they took pretty much everything they had and just dumped it into a garbage truck,” Gurtis said. “It was really bad. I mean, that’s kinda like someone taking a wrecking ball to your house if you’re not there.”
35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, typically known for his progressive stance on issues, said he has reached out to the Streets and Sanitation Department and the Department of Family and Support Services after he was made aware of the situation.
Unfortunately, the city often reprimands those who help out the homeless. An Uptown man was recently cited for allowing homeless people to sleep in his basement, although he is fighting the citation by arguing that city code allows for “slumber parties.”
On the positive side, there are others out there trying to help those affected by this issue. One activist spent a night outside in the freezing temperatures to raise awareness and encourage officials to do more about homelessness.
Last week, Chance the Rapper held a free performance for homeless youth at the Field Museum which doubled as a fundraiser.
According to the Chicago Coalition of the Homeless, there are over 82,000 homeless people in Chicago. During the 2016-17 school year, there were 18,117 homeless CPS students.