Uptown homeless shelter will close just before Christmas
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A shelter for homeless men at an Uptown church will shut down just a few days before Christmas, the non-profit that operates it announced Tuesday.
The Interim Housing Program of North Side Housing and Supportive Services, located at Peoples Church, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., has 72 beds. The non-profit has operated the shelter for four years, 365 days a year. More than 320 different men have used the shelter in the past year, according to Richard Ducatenzeiler, executive director of North Side Housing and Supportive Services.
Ducatenzeiler said the shelter will stop accepting new referrals shelter on Oct. 1 and begin moving those who use the shelter to other programs. That work will continue no later than Dec. 23, and shelter staff will be laid off at year’s end.
It takes about $550,000 a year to operate the shelter, and about two-thirds of that is provided by the state of Illinois through the city of Chicago, Ducatenzeiler said in a news release.
“In the last few years the shelter program has had a deficit of about $100,000 per year,” Ducatenzeiler was quoted as saying in the news release. “Until now, North Side Housing and Supportive Services has been able to make up the difference but we no longer can. … Health insurance costs for our employees increased by $35,000 per year. Case managers’ salaries needed to be raised, and expenses for rent, office supplies, food, beds, blankets, sheets and washing and drying equipment have increased.”
Former Ald. Dick Simpson is a board member of the non-profit. He called it a “massive political failure” that the shelter can’t find adequate funding.
“It’s a tragedy for the homeless men who have to scramble to find safe places to sleep and it’s a significant hardship for dedicated staff members who will now be out of work,” Simpson was quoted as saying in the news release.