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'Major Makeover' Ahead For Uptown Men's Shelter After Latest Donation

By Josh McGhee | January 16, 2017 2:18pm
 Richard Ducatenzeiler recieves a check from activist Andrew Holmes at the beginning of January. The program will receive another donation Tuesday morning.
Richard Ducatenzeiler recieves a check from activist Andrew Holmes at the beginning of January. The program will receive another donation Tuesday morning.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

UPTOWN — Donations continue to pour in for the Uptown men's shelter that was days from shutting down before it was saved by donations.

On Tuesday, the men's shelter, operated by North Side Housing and Support Services in the lower level of the Preston Bradley Center at 941 W. Lawrence Ave., will receive a $25,000 donation that will go towards a "major makeover," according to the program's Executive Director, Richard Ducatenzeiler.

"This donation will result in a major makeover of the shelter, making it more welcoming for residents. We feel that it is our duty to provide a safe, trauma-informed, and welcoming space to encourage healing and progress for our homeless participants," Ducatenzeiler said in a press release.

The "intensive" renovations, which will include new flooring, painting and cosmetic improvements to the facility built in 1925, was made possible by a donation from Bridgeview Bank, 4753 N. Broadway, he said.

The bank was closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and was not immediately available for comment.

"We are thrilled for this opportunity for improvement. The Bank has also remained committed to assisting with the retention of the shelter program to the extent possible," said Ducatenzeiler.

The donation was just the latest the program received. Two weeks ago, community activist Andrew Holmes donated $10,075 he raised through a GoFundMe campaign. About 140 people donated to the 22-day campaign.

"I like to put my money where my mouth is and my mouth where my money is," said Holmes, a team member of Total Protection Consultants.

Holmes started the fundraiser with the mission to help not only the shelter, but also those on the streets and living under the viaducts. He hoped the donations would remind elected officials to take the situation seriously, comparing the city's homeless issue to its problems with gun violence.

"The city comes out, you clean the streets, you move them, but we need to do more than to move them and sweep the streets. I thank those that come out and feed them every day, [but] we need to do more than feed them, we need to get them off the street," Holmes said.

The shelter also received about $1,000 from another GoFundMe started by local activist Ryne Poelker.

The donations will fund repairs like laminating the floors, fixing up the restrooms and shower areas and hiring more staff, Ducatenzeiler said.

The program was slated to close Dec. 23, but a $300,000 donation in December was able to fill the shelter's budget gap, allowing them to reach out to the city for a contract for the next year and remain open. That generous donation, from the Reva and David Logan Foundation, will fund general operations at the shelter, he said.

"I’m always surprised just by the generosity and the outpouring of help we received over the last few weeks and months. We are truly grateful to everyone that contributed," he said.

The program will officially receive the donations Tuesday at 11 a.m.

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