Lakeview homeless shelter closing its doors

November 22, 2010 3:24:16 PM PST
A Chicago homeless shelter will soon close its doors. Several men who live there may be forced out on the streets.

The shelter is at 835 West Addison on the city's North Side.

For decades, those in Lakeview who needed a place to stay -- or a place to get help moving off the streets -- had a place to go. But soon the shelter will close and there is no place to relocate.

Lunchtime at the North Side Housing shelter. Steven Collier is a client and today he's the cook. He recently got a culinary degree, but couldn't keep up with housing payments.

"I graduated from school August 20, and I had to leave my apartment, had to take of the suit and go home and pack up the same day," said Collier.

Seventy percent of the men who come through this shelter go into permanent housing. Collier hopes to be one of those.

Collier says the shelter has given him a place to get on his feet and ready to move on.

"I know I don't want to come back here, and I know the energy of this place is driving me forward," Collier said. "It's a good place to weather the storm until you get to the next step."

For now, Collier and the other men at the shelter will have to find another place to stay.

Thirty men share one room nightly, sharing just two bathrooms and one shower.

For 27 years, homeless men have found shelter in the basement Lakeview Lutheran Church, but the church's pastor says the shelter has outgrown the space.

"It's just unfortunate. We wish there was lots of space available," said Pastor Liala Beukema, Lakeview Lutheran Church.

The modest-sized church hopes to offer other community services and gave the shelter one year to find another location. But so far no other location has worked out.

The shelter's executive director says there were structural and logistic issues with other spaces and they ran into neighborhoods that did not want a shelter.

"I think the impact is going to be huge," said Geraldine Palmer, North Side Housing and Supportive Services.

North Side Housing and Supportive Services will continue to offer other programs to end homelessness. They hope to focus on their permanent housing program.

The shelter closes at the end of the year. Twenty of the 30 men are still looking for a place to stay.


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