CCH monitors Monday’s Tent City cleanup

Updated: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless had four staff members on site Monday to monitor the clean-up of a homeless encampment known as Tent City, located along the Dan Ryan Expressway near the 700 block of West Taylor.

Notices posted last week announced plans to clean the South Loop site Monday morning. City crews arrived about 10 a.m. and left about 1 p.m.  Also on site were representatives from three city agencies – Chicago Police, Streets and Sanitation, and the Department of Family and Support Services – as well as Illinois State Police.

No representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation were present, despite posted signage that IDOT would be part of the cleaning.

Residents were not required to remove their belongings Monday. CCH will continue to monitor the situation at the encampment, with indications that the city plans ongoing activity at the site.

On Feb. 18, a Tent City man was shot and killed at the encampment. Another male resident, also 57, was charged. Cleaning notices were posted last week.

CCH attorneys and organizers were at the encampment to monitor that residents’ rights were not violated under the guise of cleaning. Residents and advocates were concerned there might be a group eviction after the cleaning, as city officials have done at other Chicago encampments, including Lower Wacker last June and at viaducts around the city.

Twenty to 30 people appear to live at the Tent City encampment. Several other organizations showed up to assist residents, including Featherfist, Haymarket Center, Pilsen Alliance, and Thresholds.

“The city or state should not punish people for being homeless,” said CCH Community Lawyer Diane O’Connell. “Displacing residents of the Tent City would only cause more harm to some of the most vulnerable in our city.”

Chicago Tribune, Feb. 26: Residents of ‘Tent City’ fear eviction after city, state crews arrive to clean the area

Chicago Sun-Times, Feb. 25: Homeless allowed to stay at South Loop ‘Tent City’ – for now

Chicago Sun-Times, Feb. 20: Could ‘Tent City’ be shut down? Advocates fear for homeless as city plans cleanup