If you’ve flown through O’Hare Airport recently, you may have noticed people sleeping in hallways or near the baggage claim. This isn’t uncommon in Chicago when the temperature drops, but the number of unhoused people seeking shelter in these transit hubs has increased over the last several years.
CTA officials said the people were kicked out because they were loitering on agency property. Witnesses say guards threw away belongings in an attempt to make people move. “It’s disgusting [and] dehumanizing,” one advocate said.
Norbert Pikula, 77, had been sleeping on a friend’s sofa every night for the last six months. But when his friend was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago, Pikula’s fragile world turned upside down and he had nowhere to sleep.
“Forcing people to move can do more harm than good,” Simmons said. “And for the people who need those services that are not available, how can people get mad for taking up space? There is nowhere else to go.”
What proactive things are we doing outside of emergency situations to ensure people aren’t on the street to begin with?” Schenkelberg said. “How are we investing in permanent housing? How are we investing in social services?”
Joan’s guests today are: – Gary Menzel, President/Business Manager at Roofers & Waterproofers Local 11, with our Union Strong segment – Doug Schenkelberg, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless – Joe Brancatelli, joesentme.com – Team Hochberg’s David Hochberg