Uptown shelter set to close due to lack of state budget

FOX 32 NEWS - Another shelter is set to close thanks to the lack of a state budget.

Northside Housing's Shelter near Lawrence and Sheridan will close just days before Christmas, leaving more than 70 people on the street.

Residents that FOX 32 talked to say they are not bad people, just down on their luck and need a chance. Unfortunately, that chance will come to an end.

"They don't know what they are going to do…it's a sad, sad situation,” said resident Steven Gaunty.

On December 23, the men living at this facility will be out in the cold.

Northside Housing's Interim Housing Facility sees about 70 men a night, including Steven Gaunty. He’s working on getting his cdl to drive a semi-truck, but worries about the other men.

"You can see it in their eyes, especially when they got the letter that this place is going to close down, there was, a lot of it was silence, complete silence,” said Gaunty.

Men at the shelter get help with things like housing and employment. Eli Diaz came here when he moved from Florida and didn't know where to start.

"The director here connected me with a interpreting company for the city of Chicago, so I went to the course, passed it and now I work for the city,” Diaz said.

The shelter receives about two-thirds of its funding from the state, which is about $350k a year. That has been cut dramatically and without a state budget, the directors say that amount will go to zero.

"It seems that everything that is cut out has been cut out the services for the poor and the needy,” said program director Gloria Robinson.

A tent city is also home to dozens on Lawrence Avenue under Lake Shore Drive. Earlier this year, the mayor's office launched a pilot program to help the homeless and said there will be more housing opportunities for these residents in the tent city.

The city also plans on helping those living in the Uptown shelter when it closes on December 23.

“It’s not just the state's issue, it's not just our issue, it's everybody's issue,” said resident Joseph Zegar.

Springfield hasn't been able to agree on a full budget for the last two years, and this isn't the only social service agency affected.

Seven people at the shelter will also lose their jobs.

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