Homeless tents don’t need to be taken down: Chicago officials

The Department of Family and Support Services will not require the removal of newly constructed winterized tents in the Fulton Market area, department officials told the Tribune on Wednesday. The city previously tagged red notices on a group of 10 tents warning occupants that they must clear them by Thursday for street cleaning.

The bright orange heated tents, which include a foundation, heater and lighting, arrived less than two weeks ago thanks to the efforts of Andy Robledo, founder of the nonprofit Feeding People Through Plants. Robledo has assembled about 10 tents for homeless people living under the “L” near the Metra tracks off North Milwaukee Avenue.

A few days later, the city put red notices on the new set of tents he built, alerting people to remove the shelters from the premises before cleaning.

Brandie Knazze, commissioner of homelessness and domestic violence programs at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, now says the tents will not need to be cleaned for the scheduled cleaning and will only need to be moved. for “deep cleanings”.

“We often have people helping out in those circumstances to support people, and then they can go back to the scene as soon as the cleanup is done,” Knazze said. “It’s only for deep cleanings, generally.”

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According to Maura McCauley of DFSS Homelessness and Domestic Violence Programs, these types of cleanups focus on abandoned tents and trash. If tents are unattended when cleaning, DFSS said it often works with residents to contact the person living on the property.

“Usually there are people on the ground who are able to talk about the assets attached to someone, and that’s why the awareness up front and the relationships that are built are really important,” McCauley said.

Knazze said the goal of these cleanups is to keep public spaces hygienic, remove trash, and help homeless people remove excess items they no longer need.

“A lot of good Samaritans drop off a lot of supplies for individuals, Knazze said. “I think sometimes people misjudge or miscalculate how many people are there and how much supplies they need. The goal is really to keep sanitary places to regularly pick up trash and just make sure people have a sanitary place where they reside.

It’s also about keeping sidewalks and other public spaces clear, she said.

“You just want to make sure the areas are passable,” Knazze said. “We don’t want to see waste pile up. We want to make sure we work with streets and sanitation to prevent rodents and hoarding.

The city is due to clean the streets at 9:30 a.m.

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