Edgewater men's shelter stirs debate

December 23, 2008 10:07:14 AM PST
Plans to relocate a men's shelter are stirring debate in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood.Residents packed a community meeting Monday night at Immanuel Lutheran Church at 1500 W. Elmdale. It was being considered as a new site for a homeless men's shelter, which has to move out of another church in the 48th Ward.

But on Monday night, Alderman Marianne Smith's chief of staff told residents Immanuel Lutheran isn't zoned to run a shelter, at least for now.

Neither side is celebrating a victory.

"I feel this: what churches, synagogues, what we're all being called to do, is to be among the poor with us and so I felt grateful the church was taking a courageous step to do something bold," said Michelle Miller, shelter proponent.

"It saddens me we're having a conversation with below zero temperatures and these people do not have a place to go and that saddens me. I don't feel it's appropriate to have an adult male homeless population mixing in the same facility where students are, where children are," said shelter opponent Jennifer Devens.

Some parents were concerned because the church hosts a pre-school program and is across the street from a playground.


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