SMH: Chicago Alderman James Cappleman has informed the Salvation Army that it is no longer welcome to feed the poor from its homeless outreach trucks in the Uptown area. He gave the group one month to find a new location, Capt. Nancy Powers, who oversees the Salvation Army’s homeless program in Chicago, told the Chicago Sun Times.
“He decided he felt the unit was pulling homeless into the area, and he does not want us to feed them,” Powers told me.
Powers said the Salvation Army will depart willingly.“We don’t want to be where we’re not wanted,” she said. But Powers expressed concern for those living in the neighborhood who rely on the truck for a daily hot meal — which the agency uses as a lure to connect the homeless with its social workers.
This ought to clear up any lingering doubts as to Cappleman’s motivation in seeking to close the Wilson Men’s Hotel, one of the city’s last two cubicle hotels, the subject of several recent columns.
He’s obviously decided to rid the 46th Ward of unsightly poor people — with a not entirely dissimilar approach to the one he has employed to disappear pigeons.
When I wrote about the pigeon situation (remember the Indiana farmer and his “pigeon shoots,”) I thought Cappleman was just a little aggressive. Now I’m starting to think he’s downright dangerous.
For his part, Cappleman told me via email Friday: “We continue to be concerned about the plight of the homeless, especially during these cold winter months. As the Salvation Army mobile outreach unit tapers off, we are working with other social service agencies to try a new approach that we believe will be more effective with empowering these individuals experiencing homelessness to get out of the cycle of homelessness.”
Naturally, Cappleman did not identify these “other social service agencies” or this “new approach.” Nor did he give a direct answer to my questions about whether he blames the feeding program for bringing the homeless into his ward — or what he thinks is wrong with feeding them.
Wow, so much for those pesky poor people clamoring for a hot meal in his district. As long as they go some place other than his district, he could care less. What ever happened to being a servant-leader?