Originally published November 9, 2015
A series of illegal police sweeps versus the homeless in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is prompting a Monday night march on the residence of 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman, whom residents charge is at the heart of a multi-pronged effort to force poor people out of the ward and “ethnically cleanse” it to make way for wealthy real estate developers.
The march will begin at 5:30 PM, Monday, November 9 at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Marine Drive, scene of many of the sweeps. It is co-sponsored by Uptown Tent City, Uptown Uprising, the Gay Liberation Network, Northside Action For Justice, and Uptown Chicago Rocks.
Since police and Alderman Cappleman have brought these issues to where the homeless and most vulnerable sleep, we have decided to bring it back to where Alderman Cappleman sleeps.
Cappleman is directly complicit in the attacks on poor and working class residents of the ward, working hand-in-glove with wealthy real estate developers, taking their campaign contributions in return for promoting policies that hurt many 46th Ward residents:
** By promoting the closure of several low-cost housing options, specifically SROs (Single Room Occupancies) which housed formerly homeless and at-risk individuals;
** By vocally opposing even the most mild Single Room Occupancies (SROs) protections ordinance;
** By voting to close 1/2 of the city’s mental health clinics;
** By promoting the closure of several low-cost housing options in the ward for those who are at risk of being homeless;
** By advocating for use of public money (TIF funds) to subsidize commercial and residential developments for the wealthy, rather those in most need;
** By allowing the sell-off public assets, like the Stewart School, for luxury developments, even though community assemblies solidly backed the re-use as low income housing and a public use space; and,
** By harassing existing social service providers in the ward, such as trying to shut down the Salvation Army food trucks feeding the poor.
Community residents have monitored several illegal police sweeps in recent weeks, including one as recently as this past Friday night.
The City is wasting resources on having police illegally harass homeless people. In a City that is flat broke, we should instead be using this money to promote solve homelessness rather than victimizing the homeless.
Resources wasted on illegal policing could instead be used on programs like ‘Housing First,’ a proven strategy that not only can end homelessness, but allow less costly ways of treating mental illness, substance abuse and other ills that often come with it.
Instead, Alderman Cappleman is intent on using our tax dollars to pursue a political and private business agenda — promoting gentrification to “flip” low income housing into luxury developments.
SIGN THE PETITION!
Demand an END to Police Raids on the Homeless
Police have recently stepped up their intimidation of homeless people in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, making threats of arrest on false charges and issuing bogus tickets that they can’t afford to pay. Video showing some of this illegal police activity can be found here:
The police attacks are part of a multi-year campaign by the 46th Ward’s gentrifying alderman, James Cappleman, and his developer allies to drive poor people and people of color out of the ward. They’ve closed scores of SROs and mental health clinics, chipping away affordable housing and social services. Their end goal? Flipping real estate, making a financial killing in process.
We demand that the police and other city agencies stop their attacks on Uptown’s homeless. We demand they instead use those resources for “housing first” and other proven programs that can end homelessness and give our community’s worst-off the services that they need.