By Evelyn Holmes
The City of Chicago’s plan to move the homeless population of Lower Wacker Drive under Wabash Avenue known as “the Triangle” is underway.
Those living in the area must leave by Monday, when the city will begin work there.
The city plans to fence in the area to prevent homeless people from returning.
“We do our best to engage homeless individuals with resources and services,” said DFSS Deputy Commissioner Joel Mitchell.
The Chicago Department of Transportation posted notices that the space will be closed for construction between June 11 and June 22.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless objects to the decision, as they did when a tent city in Uptown was dismantled by the city.
“The city’s response to homelessness again and again, is to criminalize, exclude and punish vulnerable people,” said Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Staff Attorney Diane O’Connell.
City officials defended the fencing as a necessary safety precaution.
“CPD has been working to address recent criminal incidents including, narcotics dealing, robberies, street racing and prostitution that has been taking place in and around the area,” said CPD Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi via email.
Many Triangle residents said they stay in the area because they have nowhere else to go.
Charles Hunter, 34, is among the dozens of homeless men and women who call the Triangle home. He has lived in the camp for three years.
Hunter said that when the time comes, he’ll just leave.
“This is not the only part of Lower Wacker where people house themselves,” Hunter said.
However, Pacific Garden Mission representatives said they have 1,000 beds available.