Local doctor says she was punched by homeless man on Michigan Avenue

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An area doctor said she was attacked and punched by a homeless man along Michigan Avenue. (WLS)

Dr. Sapana Rana is back at work but is still nursing a black eye, after she said she was attacked by a homeless man in broad daylight on Michigan Avenue.

"I saw this individual walking toward me, I thought nothing of it, just avoiding normal people on the street," Rana said.

She says it happened Wednesday morning around 8:30 a.m. near the Art Institute as she walked to her job where she's also Director of Occupational Medicine. Rana said it was as she passed a man on the street that he slugged her in the face seemingly for no reason.

"All of a sudden he punched out at me. I had this severe pain on my face, on my check. He actually knocked me to the ground," she said.

The urgent care physician said she and the shocked bystanders who rushed to help her watched as the man simply walked away before the police could arrive to catch him.

Rana is concerned it could happen again as more homeless people wind up on Chicago's streets as funding for mental health programs drie up.

It's something Michael Edwards, CEO of the Chicago Loop Alliance, saw coming and reason for his group's homeless outreach program along State Street.

"Do we get all of them? No. Do we get many of them? Yes. Do we decrease the amount on negative activity that someone might experience when they come to State Street? Definitely. We've seen that downward trend over the last three years," he said.

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless website, they've seen their state funding plummet from $11 million to less than a million and a half over the years.

Street ambassadors like Edmund Garcia are seeing the results.

"We do a lot of wellness checks, and for the ones suffering from their mental illness, when they're having their good days, we can have good conversations with them and check in and make sure they're taking their medicine," he said.

Rana, who did file a police report with responding officers, said she's telling her story because she doesn't want what happened to her to happen to anyone else.

"We should be able to walk the streets of Chicago without having to fear for our safety," she said.
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newshomelessChicago - Michigan Avenue
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