My South Loop friend, and dedicated observer of South Loop life, Jim Borman, is my blogging guest today--on the topic of abject homelessness in the South Loop. Many other neighborhoods are affected by this misery--including the heart of the Loop, of course. But Jim tells us what he's been seeing in the South Loop--and it ain't pretty. He wonders if the City is actually addressing this issue? Or is all our money being thrown at developers for stadiums and skate parks--while people deeply suffer near these coming structures?
By Jim Borman
Why? Just like Elaine's boyfriend, he took it out. The difference was the person who took it out was urinating in plain view after spending an evening sleeping in Grant Park.
Continuing my stroll down Michigan Avenue, I noticed more homeless people simply sprawled out sleeping or blindly staring into a deep abyss of sadness or begging for money. What does it say about a city of affluence when Chicago's Magnificent Mile is looking more like Calcutta than the Windy City of economic growth for all segments of the population?
What does it say when Chicago's rulers allocate extensive funds for a multi-million dollar project for BMX bikers and skate boarders and people set up a tent in which to sleep?
What message is sent when Chicago's leaders send dollars into the pockets of developers of hotels and basketball arenas when they turn a blind eye to the suffering of its human capital?
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless does fine work. Just today, it is launching a campaign to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. They have numerous ongoing programs to address the broad needs of those without shelter. But despite their work much remains to be done to address the physical and emotional needs of Chicago's most vulnerable.
What will the political leaders do to ensure the safety and health of these individuals?
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