CHICAGO (CBS) — The homeless who live in tents under Lake Shore Drive viaducts on the North Side have warned the city there will be trouble if crews come to clean out the tent cities when it’s below 40 degrees outside.
“Give us a home, or leave us alone,” Louis Jones said at the Wilson Avenue viaduct Friday morning.
The city’s homeless population was celebrating what’s being considered a small victory, after a scheduled cleaning on Friday was canceled due to the extreme cold – with temperatures in single digits. The homeless warned the city not to try any future cleanings when it’s too cold.
Every two weeks, the city forces homeless people living in tent cities under Lake Shore Drive overpasses to move out temporarily, and stand for hours in the cold, while crews clean the viaducts. The homeless, like Louis Jones, view it as harassment.
“They just push us around like we’re nobody. Today we won this one, because we refused. If they ever come down here again with record below temperatures, talking about moving us, it’s not going to happen. We’re not going to move. We’re not going to move. It’s over. It’s over. It’s over for them,” he said.
Jones said the homeless will no longer move their belongings out of the viaducts for cleanings when it’s below 40 degrees outside.
“We was moving like gypsies, and they are not satisfied, because they come out here with these record-breaking temperatures, and they say, ‘Oh, we’ve got to clean up.’ What are you cleaning up? They’re harassing us, and it’s totally unacceptable. I don’t want to talk to them anymore. If they’re going to come down here, there’s going to be some trouble,” he said.
The homeless said they already clean up the viaducts all the time, otherwise they would be overrun by rats.