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Ald. Joe Moreno (1st Ward) on homelessness and housing

Wed, Apr 24, 2013

moreno2Moreno’s ward is located in Avondale, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, West Town and Wicker Park (Belmont to the North, Greenview to the East, Ohio to the South, California to the West). In his phone interview, Moreno mentioned that prior to serving as alderman, he was a board member of the Humboldt Park Social Services, which is part of the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness.

The 1st Ward’s short-term plans to end homelessness are to continue working with “Humboldt Park Social Services and other providers,” Moreno said. “We would love long-term, supportive housing, [that is,] permanent housing with supportive services on site. We need to really invest in that because that, at the end of the day, is the solution. We don’t need band-aid approaches, to be serious we need to have supportive housing.”

Moreno does not believe existing social services deter those suffering from homelessness from improving their situation. “We have to have shelters and food trucks,” said Moreno. “We have to help people in need. If people are just relying on that, we need to have opportunities for people to end the vicious circle of homelessness.” The food carts that were the recent inspiration for the StreetWise-sponsored Neighbor Carts program started in his ward. Moreno called them a “hand up, not a hand-out.”

He removed benches from his ward, however, because they had become “encampments: dangerous for the homeless and they didn’t help the ward. I talked to the guys and gave them resources, but they didn’t want to go.”

Moreno sees the economic diversity in his ward as a “strength, not a weakness. Economic diversity is good for everyone. [The] strongest communities are the most economically diverse communities. Packing poor people in these complexes didn’t work.” He said he has always supported low-rise public units and mixed-income housing.


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