Chicago homeless in Uptown booted out for construction project

A tent city of homeless people that flourished for years in Uptown is no more.

City crews on Monday removed the tents and belongings, and social service workers tried to help find housing for the couple dozen homeless still camping out under Lake Shore Drive at Wilson and Lawrence avenues.

The city says the homeless have to move to make way for a major construction project. But many of the homeless and their advocates say the fight has only begun.

Tents, boxes, bags, coolers - pretty much everything and anything owned by the dozens of homeless people who called the viaduct home were loaded into city trucks for storage.

Emmett Grimm and his wife are among the two dozen or so homeless people who were still living in a tent city under the Wilson Avenue Bridge at Lake Shore Drive. This viaduct and the one at Lawrence are literally falling apart, and the city says it's forced to clear out the homeless to make way for a major construction project.

Deputy Commissioner Alisa Rodriguez says they've done everything they can to find temporary and permanent housing for these homeless.

"To get them employment, to get them benefits, to find them housing and to help them with their medical needs, their mental health needs, their substance abuse needs. Our programs do really good work,” she said.

But lawyers representing the homeless went to court to try to stop the eviction. A Cook County judge rejected their request for a restraining order, saying the city had given plenty of notice.

The city is also planning to put bike lanes on the sidewalk under both viaducts, which would not leave enough room for the tent city to return.

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