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Uptown Shelter Will Remain Open 'Through Winter,' City Says

By Josh McGhee | December 22, 2016 2:07pm | Updated on December 22, 2016 7:05pm
 The men's shelter in the Preston Bradley Center was scheduled to close Friday.
The men's shelter in the Preston Bradley Center was scheduled to close Friday.
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DNAinfo/Adeshina Emmanuel

UPTOWN — An Uptown men's shelter that was scheduled to close Friday will remain open through winter, city officials said Thursday.

Thursday morning, Tressa Feher, 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman's chief of staff, said the shelter housed in the lower level of the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., "will be staying open for the time being."

"They haven't committed on a date [for how long the shelter will remain open], but at least until the end of the year ... but probably longer," Feher said.

Thursday evening, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Support Services said the shelter will remain open through this winter, though a date for how long was not given.

"After months of working closely with the North Side Housing and Support Services on a plan to ensure continuity for their clients, we have arrived at a solution that leverages our continued funding to keep the shelter open this winter and moving forward," the spokesman said.

The new contract leverages city funds that will be matched by an unnamed funder for the shelter. The shelter will return to its 72-person capacity, the city said.

"Our goal has always been to ensure that this shelter would remain open, and this renewed contract will support [the shelter] with a new operational plan to meet their needs, while ultimately delivering quality services to meet the needs of our clients," the spokesperson said.

Cappleman, family support services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the shelter's executive director, Richard Ducatenzeiler, are trying to get more funding to keep the shelter open longer, Feher said.

Closing the Preston Bradley Center shelter would have eliminated all shelter options for single men in Cappleman's ward. 

Cappleman has contacted private donors who've expressed interest in saving the shelter, Feher said.

Ducatenzeiler declined to comment.

Last Friday, Ducatenzeiler said Cappleman did "absolutely nothing" to save the shelter, which has been searching for additional funding to keep its doors open for months.

"I’ve been respectable toward him to try to maintain a good relationship with the alderman’s office,” he said after the aldermen issued a statement in his newsletter Ducantenzeiler described as “full of inaccuracies.”

The alderman's office, however, said Cappleman knew of a budget crisis, but thought until September that a closure had been averted.

At the end of June, North Side Housing and Support Services announced the shelter would close at the end of July. Its board of directors voted to close the shelter after the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services said it was unable "to process a contract" until a state budget was passed.

But the program announced it would stay open until the end of the year after Illinois politicians signed a makeshift budget to keep the state afloat through the end of 2016.

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