Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-04-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lakeview residents debate youth center appeal
by Matt Simonette
2013-11-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Ald. Tom Tunney was among the speakers at a Nov. 11 standing-room-only South East Lake View Neighbors (SELVN) meeting at Second Unitarian Church, 726 W. Barry Ave., on the future of Broadway Youth Center's (BYC) current location.

BYC is appealing the city's denial of a special-use permit for BYC's space at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 Wellington Ave.

SELVN will put forth a recommendation to Tunney's office on whether he should support the BYC appeal. A vote on that recommendation is expected in SELVN's December meeting. Tunney said Nov. 11 that he had not yet determined what his recommendation would be, but is trying to get the matter on the zoning board's docket for December.

"I've been steadfast in support, and steadfast in denial, of applications, and sometimes it goes my way, and sometimes it doesn't go my way," said Tunney.

The meeting was sometimes contentious, with some attendees expressing concerns about whether a facility like BYC's was secure, and whether it would draw crime to the neighborhood. Others welcomed BYC, and saw it as a reflection of the neighborhood's diverse character. A number of LGBT youth spoke as well. Audience members frequently burst into loud applause, and others snapped their fingers to show solidarity with points speakers were making. At one point, the audience became unruly and SELVN President Jan Sumrall threatened to close the meeting, after which many largely settled down.

A key question for many attendees was how Broadway Youth Center, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC)—which oversees BYC's operations—and the city could have moved forward at the Wellington location without being clear on the actual zoning requirements.

"Chicago zoning requirements are complicated to say the least," said Maura McCauley, director of Homeless Prevention, Policy and Planning at the Chicago Dept. of Family and Support Services. "Typically when our department looks at zoning, we're looking at residential (zoning) for our housing programs. In all honesty, we have a new administration and we were not aware of the requirement for this location."

Tunney added that BYC had the right to go through the appeals process, just as anyone accused of a violation did.

BYC "would have the opportunity to go to administrative review like anybody else, and they would have to have their due process," he said. "It's like if you have a bad building, one doesn't shut down a bad building immediately—there's a process and we make efforts to get them in compliance. We're trying to get them to decide if this is the best location for them and for the city."

Michelle Wetzel, general counsel for HBHC, said there is a huge need to get help for LGBT youth who are homeless or unstably housed. "That's why (BYC is) located in Lakeview. We believe it would still be an issue, even if we moved. It would still exist here. It makes sense for us to be where the issue is located."

But Charlie Nelson, who said he has lived in Lakeview for 30 years, was among those who said the neighborhood was ill equipped to tackle those problems. He said that he had lived close to Center on Halsted and witnessed a "decline" in the surrounding area, and feared for the area at Wellington and Broadway.

"There's no security," Nelson said. "I've been in the middle of gang fights with close to 15 or 20 kids. There's no security for what goes on once those kids leave. I've had kid out on my front porch, smoking weed. I've called the police three times."

"It's not as though I speak without heart. I speak with a lot of passion, not only for the gay community but also for a great 'mixed' community. …(But) the church was not designed to take over this kind of responsibility," Nelson added.

Lakeview resident Kass Copeland, who lives behind Center on Halsted, said she similarly did not support the BYC location. "The reason I came here tonight is because of what has happened to Waveland Avenue, what has happened to my home the last six years. ... Young people are not respecting the standards of our community, and it's causing hardships for us and, more importantly, it's causing us to reject people that need our help."

Two audience members pointed to two incidents in 2012 when BYC staffers allegedly refused to cooperate with Chicago Police Department investigations, citing HIPAA regulations. Two others mentioned HBHC's alleged financial mismanagement issues, and asked how the organization could be accountable to the community when it could not be accountable to its lenders and benefactors.

"Those (police) incidents happened in 2012 when we were in a different location," said Wetzel. "We have worked very hard with the police since that time. We have had great meetings and conversations with the police and the alderman's office. … The only reason we get grant funding is because we're held accountable. We hold ourselves accountable and we hold our youth who utilize the space accountable."

"The services that we provide are very serious services for very serious problems," she added.

Several attendees took offense from a widely circulated email written by BYC Director Lara Brooks that they felt branded them as being racist and trans-phobic, among other labels. Wetzel said that the email was meant to convey personal impressions that staffers came away with from previous SELVN meetings, not apply labels to neighborhood residents.

"It was perhaps inflammatory language, which we regret, but you can't negate the feeling of the writer," Wetzel said. "Only that writer can tell you how her experience made her feel, and that was the point. It was to give other people coming to this meeting some context so that they might prepare themselves for what they might hear."

Many neighborhood residents said they welcomed BYC. Karen Ford said that when she moved to Lakeview, "it wasn't a fancy neighborhood" and that she'd enjoyed raising her children in a diverse area.

"I actually appreciate living where not everyone is rich," Ford added. She said she had two questions: "If they can't come to our neighborhood, where are they supposed to go, and what can I do to help?"

Jim Simonis, a member of Second Unitarian, added, "For at least five decades this has been a neighborhood for all colors and creeds who want to experience an alternative lifestyle. It would be good for many of our neighbors to remember that, unless you were here before the 1970s, the kids were here before you were. … And not only have we 'survived' them, this neighborhood has thrived."

Several youth present for the meeting said Lakeview was a natural choice for them to head for when they had been left with no other place to go to. "The handful of LGBTQ-competent organizations in the city exist in this neighborhood," said Jazz, who did not give her last name.

The next step before next month's meetings will be writing a Good Neighbor Agreement for BYC. The agreement is to be a "working document," according to Tunney, and will be a collaborative effort between BYC, SELVN, the local block club and Tunney's office. It would address operating hours, security issues, loitering issues and mandatory attendance at both CAPS and block club meetings. The agreement will be part of BYC's appeal and would be mandated should their approval be granted.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Queer Prom' at Center on May 10 2019-04-18 - Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., is hosting the 2019 Queer Prom ( theme: "Midnight in Paris" ) for LGBTQ youth on ...


Gay News

Safe-schools group holds annual 'Night of Noise' fundraiser 2019-04-17 - The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance held its third annual Night of Noise fundraiser—titled "Onward and Upward"—on April 14 at the Haymarket Pub and ...


Gay News

Anti-trans District 211 lawsuit dropped 2019-04-16 - Long-running litigation involving public-accommodations access for transgender students in the Northwest suburbs came to a seeming end April 15, when U.S. District Judge ...


Gay News

Nominations sought for 30 Under 30 Awards 2019-04-12 - Windy City Times is seeking to recognize 30 more outstanding LGBT individuals ( and allies ) for its annual 30 Under 30 Awards. ...


Gay News

'Night of Noise' variety show April 14 2019-04-11 - The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance will be "breaking" the Day of Silence with its third annual variety show, "Night of Noise: Onward and ...


Gay News

Federal Judge Allows Palatine Transgender Bathroom Lawsuit to Proceed 2019-04-09 - ( April 9, 2019 — Chicago ) A federal district court judge is allowing a parent-student privacy lawsuit to move forward against Palatine ...


Gay News

Quigley and Carson spar over LGBT youth homelessness 2019-04-03 - U.S. Housing and Urban Development ( HUD ) Secretary Ben Carson faced questions from a House subcommittee April 3 over his agency's response, ...


Gay News

Ava's Change 4 Youth presents checks to groups 2019-03-27 - On March 18, teen activist Ava Santos-Volpe presented the first donations from her project, Ava's Change4Youth. She presented $1,000 to the Broadway ...


Gay News

House passes bill requiring LGBT content in state-funded textbooks 2019-03-27 - SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois House, on March 13, passed a bill requiring public school textbooks purchased with certain state funds be nondiscriminatory and unbiased in ...


Gay News

Girls 4 Science brings women leaders out for STEM for Chicago girls April 30 2019-03-25 - CHICAGO ( MARCH 20, 2019 ) — Girls 4 Science welcomes a new season with an evening supporting the budding young minds of ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.