City Conducts Spring Cleanup Of Tent City Near Dan Ryan

Mike Krauser
March 29, 2019 - 12:36 pm
This is spring cleaning day at the homeless encampment along the Dan Ryan Expressway near Roosevelt Road, but the city is not permanently removing the residents.

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The homeless living in a tent city along the Dan Ryan Expressway at Roosevelt Road invited the press to observe, as the city came through with earth-moving equipment on Friday for spring cleaning. 

There are roughly three dozen people living there as of Friday, who were given an advance warning the city was coming. They were asked to pack their belongings and put them in garbage bags on the sidewalk. Anything that was left behind was pushed into piles and trucked away.  

Resident Donald Gorobegko was glad they were going to be allowed back in when the crews finished their work. 

“Today’s actually a good day,” he said. “We had good communications with law enforcement.  Usually we’re fighting, making a stand, trying to hold our ground here.” 

Other locations have been cleaned and closed in the past. 

This is spring cleaning day at the homeless encampment along the Dan Ryan Expressway near Roosevelt Road, but the city is not permanently removing the residents.
WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

Another resident, Hasia Walker, said they don’t really need food or clothes or even jobs. Many, she said, already have those things or can get them.

What they need is help from the city to get permanent housing, Walker said. 

Many of the residents and the homeless in general, don’t want to be in shelters with rigid rules and safety issues.  

Pastor Ben Adams, of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, who ministers at the tent city, said the city needs “to stop treating homelessness like a crime and something we have to put out of sight and out of mind.

"This isn’t an issue that you can just continue to push into deeper corners of the city.” 

This is spring cleaning day at the homeless encampment along the Dan Ryan Expressway near Roosevelt Road, but the city is not permanently removing the residents.
WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

One resident said they need mental health counseling.  

There is no shortage of people who donate things including food, water, tents, clothes and sleeping bags. They used to bring propane tanks, as well, but after one exploded over the winter, the fire department removed them. 

There was also a murder this past winter.  One resident shot another to death.  Despite that, Walter said, “we’re good people, we just need help.” 

Diane O’Connell of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless was there observing, making sure people’s rights were respected.