Ald. Devon Reid (8th), asked at a ward meeting about comments he’s made suggesting he’d favor having a homeless shelter in his ward, retreated a bit from that idea Thursday night.
His initial comments were sparked by ongoing opposition from some neighbors to a homeless shelter in downtown Evanston at the Margarita Inn in the 4th Ward.
“Because of the hostility of the surrounding community, I personally have concerns that we could create a more negative situation for tenants at the Margarita,” Reid said.
“Police have been called unnecessarily,” he added. “That creates both a drain on resources overall and mental drain on the community and the folks living in the Margarita Inn.”
“I think the 8th Ward has a more welcoming community,” Reid added, and potentially “we could find a location in the 8th Ward that is less disruptive for the entire community” than the shelter’s current location.
But Reid told constituents at the online meeting that his support for putting a shelter in his ward “has decreased quite a bit” since he learned about plans for a large men’s homeless shelter at 7464 N. Clark St. in Chicago, just a block south of the Evanston border.
The proposed 72-bed shelter would be operated by North Side Housing and Supportive Services and would be the only shelter targeted toward homeless single men on the north side of Chicago.
NSHSS has provided emergency shelter in Chicago since 1983 and last year moved from a crumbling building in Uptown to a temporary outpost at a Super 8 Motel.
Neighbors have voiced concerns about the proposed shelter site, because it is located across the street from a major shopping center with a significant panhandling and shoplifting problem.
The Rogers Park shelter plan has drawn support from Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) who’s also dealing with complaints from neighbors around Touhy Park, at 7348 N. Paulina St., where a growing tent city of homeless people has led to relocation of park programming to other sites.