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Federal lawsuit blasts Chicago's destruction of homeless tent cities
2017-11-08

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CHICAGO — A new filing in an ongoing federal lawsuit paints a detailed picture of a dramatic increase in attacks on homeless people following the police evictions of Lake Shore Drive "Tent Cities" in September, according to a press release from activists.

"Rather than just leave the former tent city residents alone after forcing their eviction from the Lake Shore Drive viaducts, police instituted a policy of repeated evictions, not allowing them to erect tents or tarps anywhere on public property in Chicago, leaving them at great risk of harm as the city's cold and wet season hits," organizers stated.

"Not content with forcing homeless people to move their tents, the city is insisting on destroying their ability to stay safe with the approach of winter," said Uptown Tent City Organizers' Andy Thayer, a 30-year resident of the neighborhood and co-plaintiff in the suit. "The repeated forced dispersals represent a huge safety hazard as they force homeless people to hide, making it that much more difficult to reach them with warm clothing, food, referrals to social services, etc. as the cold weather unfolds."

Among other things, the suit contends that it was the very visibility of the Tent Cites—50 to 75 people out of a citywide homeless population estimated at 82,212—that led to the outsized focus of the homeless there, and the city's determination to shut it down.

To add visibility to the city's ongoing attacks on homeless and other non-wealthy people in Uptown, Uptown Tent City Organizers, a co-plaintiff in the suit, plan on giving 46th Ward Ald. Cappleman "THE WORST" Award. The presentation will be at an event the alderman is hosting, the "46th Ward Awards"—protest will begin at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8 at The Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway Ave.

Attorneys for the suit, Uptown Tent City Organizers and Andy Thayer v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 17 CV 4518, are Jeffrey Frank, Susan Ritacca Law Office, Alan Mills and Nicole Schult of Uptown People's Law Center, the Law Office of Molly Armour, and the Law Office of Adele D. Nicholas.


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