Ruling on Chicago Homeless Sweeps Likely (Chi Coalition ft

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 23:07:14 -0800 (PST)


FWD  1-21-98  Press Release  SOURCE: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Ruling on Lower Wacker Drive Homeless Sweeps Likely Following
Closing Arguments Wednesday, Announces Chicago Coalition for the
Homeless

WHAT:

Federal Judge Wayne Anderson will hear closing arguments on a motion for a

temporary injunction on Wednesday designed to stop the City of Chicago

from discarding the personal property of homeless Lower Wacker Drive

residents. Judge Anderson is likely to rule in the case following closing

arguments on Wednesday, January 21.

       The homeless people filed the motion after the city allegedly violated
       court-supported, temporary procedures for off-street cleaning of Lower
       Wacker Drive on December 1, 1997. On that date, police and sanitation
       workers conducted a ``sweep'' of the homeless, told them to leave
without
       their belongings, and used racial slurs and threats of arrest to
       intimidate them.
       In violation of the agreement, homeless people were not allowed to move
       their belongings. When people tried to leave the scene with their
       property, it was taken out of their hands. City workers allegedly
       discarded blankets, important documents including a marriage
certificate,
       asthma and diabetes medicines, and personal remembrances including
family
       photos.

    WHEN/          Wednesday, January 21 at 1:30 p.m.
    WHERE          Dirksen Federal Building, 219 South Dearborn,
                   Judge Anderson, Room 1403

    WHY:
    In January 1996, homeless residents of Lower Wacker Drive filed a class
    action lawsuit against the City of Chicago alleging that the City's
    "sweeps" violated their rights by seizing and/or destroying their personal
    property.

    In March 1996, lawyers for the homeless and the City of Chicago developed
    court-supported temporary guidelines for carrying out cleanings of Lower
    Wacker Drive.  Pursuant to the guidelines, the city must:

    *  Provide 12-hour advanced warning of the sweeps by posting signs and
       making verbal announcements under Lower Wacker Drive.

    *  Give homeless people the opportunity to move their belongings fifty
       feet from the area to be cleaned.  Possessions not moved will be
       discarded.

    *  Prohibit Streets and Sanitation cleaning personnel from disposing any
       possessions moved by the homeless individuals.

    The homeless have been organized by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
    (CCH).  CCH believes that housing is a basic right in a just society.
    With the current critical shortage of affordable housing in Chicago, CCH
    supports the right of homeless people to live on Lower Wacker Drive.

    Through systematic research and intensive organizing of homeless people,
    CCH is working to end homelessness in metropolitan Chicago.  CCH focuses
    on the root causes of the problem, including a serious shortage of
    affordable housing, the increasing scarcity of living wage jobs, and a
    lack of health and supportive services for poor people.

    CONTACT:  Mark Russo or Sandra Masibay of Valerie Denney Communications,
    312-408-2580.

SOURCE: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

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