In response to the four recent stabbings in Lakeview—which pales in comparison to other Chicago neighborhoods—Lakeview residents are understandably shaken. As a result, they have taken multiple steps to curtail violence, which includes but not limited to the following: demanding additional police presence, enforcing the curfew law for minors, and applying pressure on local businesses to increase...
In response to the four recent stabbings in Lakeview—which pales in comparison to other Chicago neighborhoods—Lakeview residents are understandably shaken. As a result, they have taken multiple steps to curtail violence, which includes but not limited to the following: demanding additional police presence, enforcing the curfew law for minors, and applying pressure on local businesses to increase security personnel in addition to surveillance equipment and better lighting. However, many residents have also resorted to racial profiling and criminalizing the act of loitering. In their latest development, Lakeview residents are attempting to coerce MB Financial into vacating the Night Ministry, a nonprofit organization that provides services to the homeless, from the premises near MB Financial’s parking lot.
Unfortunately—in an injudicious attempt to curb violence— Lakeview residents have targeted the Night Ministry and the homeless. Moreover, there have been no reports indicating that criminal activity has occurred on MB Financial’s parking lot; thus, Lakeview residents are now using the homeless as a scapegoat. Additionally, the known offenders of the stabbings, which have been arrested, have not been identified as displaced persons. Furthermore, several merchants are in negotiations with meeting the demands of the residents. And only 10 days after the CAPS neighborhood meeting held on July 6, 2011, statistics reflect that crime has drastically dropped citing only one incidence of aggravated battery as reported by the Chicago Police Department.
In 2009-2010, approximately 40,723 people experienced homelessness in Chicago. The Night Ministry, founded in Lakeview in 1976, has been operating for 20 years and has served in the Lakeview neighborhood for 10 years. In the face of shrinking federal funding, the Night Ministry continues to provide an array of services including housing, food, free healthcare, and self-care supplies to both displaced youth and adults. And in 2010, the Night Ministry’s dedicated volunteers served 99,105 meals from their van to homeless people on Chicago’s streets during the nighttime.
Dislocating the Night Ministry would have a disastrous impact on those who are homeless as they rely heavily on the Night Ministry for food, counseling, and shelter; furthermore, they have limited access to transportation. As indicated on your website, MB Financial Charitable Foundation is dedicated to strengthening the communities you serve with an emphasis on low-income households, medical and mental health treatment and research organizations, civic organizations concerned with neighborhood development, preservation and local social issues; and the Night Ministry falls within scope of the communities you support. Therefore, we urge you to continue demonstrating your support by granting the Night Ministry access to the space surrounding your establishment.