Streeterville CAPS meeting brings complaints of homelessness

At the Sept. 5 CAPS meeting in Streeterville, Residents complained of homeless people living in Streeterville parks and sleeping outside on Michigan Avenue and Chicago Avenue.

Officer Ramona Stovall said people couldn’t legally sleep in parks as they close at 9 p.m. and generally people can’t sleep on the sidewalks either.

“The public walkway is not supposed to be impeded,” she said. Officers can ask homeless people who are sleeping to “move on,” if they’re breaking a law.

Sgt. Christopher Schenck pointed out that being homeless isn’t against the law. Police can refer homeless people to social services, but police can’t compel anyone to go to a shelter.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “If they’re not going to impede the sidewalk and if they refuse our services, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

At this point, a person alleged some homeless people use children to beg for money. Stovall said this could be illegal, depending on the circumstances.

“I’ve taken children away from parents,” she said. Stovall told residents to call the police if they believe children are being exploited.

Schenck said the police will take the kids and have them checked out at the hospital.

The next meeting will be 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Access Living, 115 W Chicago Ave.

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