Illinois homeless crisis explodes, nearly 80,000 experiencing homelessness in Chicago
In Illinois nearly 80,000 people are experiencing homelessness in the city of Chicago, this according to the most recent estimate from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Hundreds of homeless tents have been set up along a two block stretch located just outside of the city.
Local leaders are calling one particular tent city – which is blocks away from the university – worse than what they’ve seen in the slums of Kenya.
Tarps can be seen stretched across the tents, piles of trash and garbage are littered on the ground as people are living outside in the cold.
According to a local pastor, fires have started in some of the tents from heaters being used by the homeless and he said some people have died in those fires.
In this particular homeless camp the homeless people are asking others to help them get out of the situation that they are in – saying they actually want to work – and get paid with the money that the federal government gives to Illinois each year for the homeless.
George Arroyo, who is known as being the Mayor of the homeless camp says the situation is difficult, and they just need help,
“I’m asking for people to help to get out of here. I even have one girl [living in the camp] she’s pregnant, and as soon as she has the baby she’s going to have to go somewhere else because I don’t allow kids down here. It’s not right, especially in this cold.”
According to local leaders, several of the tent cities are riddled with crime and many in the homeless population are prone to criminal activity.
In fact, a man with a long history of homelessness and mental illness was sentenced Tuesday to 65 years in prison for his role in the 2019 murder of a Chicago police officer.
In addition a 39-year old man was charged with attempted murder and attempted robbery this week after stabbing a man in the throat for not giving the suspect spare change. This happened on a popular tourist street in Chicago.
The windy city has seen a spike in crime since the shutdowns started a year ago recording nearly 800 homicides in 2020, which is a 55% increase from 2019. In addition fatal shootings jumped by 53% in 2020.
The spike in crime is continuing this year, as 85 people have been murdered in the first two months of 2021 – compared to 70 in the same time frame last year.