(CBS) — A group raising funds to buy tents for the homeless on the city’s North Side is being criticized for its efforts.
CBS 2’s Sandra Torres reports.
The group Uptown Tent City has raised more than $8,000 to buy tents for the homeless in the area. Although some praise their efforts, many believe the focus should be on a more permanent solution.
One homeless man, who identified himself as Don, says he’s been waiting for a lifeline since 2009.
He now sleeps beneath an overpass, likes dozens of others at Lawrence, Wilson and Foster avenues.
Uptown Tent City is providing tents and basic necessities.
But some say handing out tents is not the way to go.
“Unfortunately, giving them blankets and tents and food is not helping them. It’s just putting a Band-Aid on the problem,” one local says.
Ryne Poelker of Uptown Tent City says supporting the short-term effort to provide tents doesn’t mean the group doesn’t back the idea of long-term solutions.
At Chicago City Hall Thursday, members of the group voiced their concerns about construction of a new high rise that’s getting close to $16 million in tax increment financing in Uptown.
“It’s almost criminal that they are doing this literally feet away from where people who are sleeping outside in below-zero temperatures,” Poelker told city officials.
The Emanuel administration says the city offers services to the homeless, if they are interested in them.
“The City of Chicago and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) are committed to addressing homelessness and while respecting the rights for this vulnerable population. While we cannot force individuals to take shelter or engage in services, our Homeless Outreach teams, along with our partner agencies, work tirelessly with street homeless and chronically homeless to assist them in securing support services and shelter and, ultimately permanent housing,” a spokesperson said.