To get to the subway, I walk under the Kennedy Expressway overpass at Belmont and Kedzie. Correction. I walk through the bedrooms of dozens of men and women who call the viaduct ‘home’. Every time I pass by, I feel uncomfortable–like I’m invading their privacy. But I also feel deeply disturbed and angry. These people are literally kicked to the curb. And they are routinely harassed by the police, treated like criminals and their belongings confiscated.
I often hear people say, “They should go to a shelter.” FYI. There are NO overnight shelters located in the 60618 or the 60647 zip codes–the area surrounding the viaduct. There used to be shelters, but the city cut funds for homeless services. And just yesterday, the Mayor-appointed city Plan Commission just approved the elimination of 525 units of public housing at Lathrop Homes, 12 blocks away from the viaduct, replacing them with almost 500 units of housing for the wealthy. It makes me ask who the real criminals are.