CHICAGO (CBS) — In one of Chicago’s most troubled neighborhoods, ordinary residents came together today to clean-up a potentially dangerous eyesore.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports it was all the result of one woman who was fed up with filth.
Clean up organizer Katie Baker was tired of the mess, so she recruited her three daughters and took matters, as well as mattresses, into their own hands. They cleaned up a trash heap under an abandoned Englewood rail trestle, part squatters’ camp for the homeless, part dumping site.
“These bags of drywall and wood that’s been dumped, so that’s illegal dumping,” said Rilwan Wilson. “You got sofas, couches, so obviously there was homeless people living back here and stuff, so there’s a lot of junk just piled up.”
And Englewood residents, like Wilson, just fed up. He saw what the women were doing and joined in.
“The Streets and Sanitation, that’s what the people are getting paid for, but obviously you see it’s not happening,” Wilson said.
Leaders from a nearby soup kitchen were concerned that homeless squatters’ belongings were being destroyed.
“I have a heart for homeless people,” said Chanquanta Price of Feed, Clothe, and Help the Needy. “When you don’t have a place to stay, you don’t have water I have a heart for that.”
But this, said Katie Baker, is no way to live.
“It ain’t like everybody in Chicago’s just nasty and don’t care about what goes on,” she said. “People care.”
Katie Baker told Blakley she asked one of the longest squatters living on the site, known only as Ted, if there was anything there he wanted to preserve. He said no, and simply left the area.
Neighbors say he’d been living there for months, maybe years, with several dogs and a rooster.