I was reading a story this morning, and while skimming through, it had occurred to me that I had vaguely heard about this alderman wanting to revitalize the image of his ward before. I hadn’t really paid much attention to this Chicago news story before, because it appeared from first news sources, there was a homeless problem that the alderman wanted addressed…well, okay, moving on to other news. Well there is more to this than the tearing down of a men’s hotel that mainly the homeless stayed in as I first thought the hoopla was about.
Let me first give a little background on this alderman of the 46th ward in Chicago Illinois. James Cappleman was born in Texas, he’s the sixth child of eight, his father was a United States Army doctor and his mother a nurse. Ald. Cappleman graduated from Houston University, and there after he began a career as a teacher in Houston, with the majority of his students being illegals from Mexico. Fast forward to his relocating to Chicago, Illinois where after attending the U. of I. in Chicago for his masters degree in social work, he served two terms as Board President of the Uptown Chicago Commission then leaving to run for Chicago City Council. I should also mention that Alderman Cappleman’s partner is Richard Thale, whom also happens to be the chair of the 19th Police District’s Court Advocacy Committee and a CAPS facilitator for Beat 1914. James Cappleman and Richard Thale had a civil union in September 2012.
Let’s get back to Alderman Cappleman’s current woes in the windy city. Well Alderman Cappleman, has kicked off a bit of a food fight in his ward which has landed him in a pickle with the Salvation Army, with the hungry for news, Chicago news media writers dishing up a juicy tale. The Salvation Army sends an outreach truck for a daily hot meal, usually a cup of soup, and they usually have a “chaser car” that follows with social workers to aid with getting those that need housing and other services signed up and taken care of. As well as feeding on average 100 people Monday through Friday at midday in this North-side community.
Well Alderman Cappleman wants the food truck to go somewhere else, anywhere but his ward on the North-side, not only that but he also wants the Wilson Men’s Hotel to disappear in his bid to remake the image of his ward. Wilson Men’s Hotel is what is known as a “cubicle hotel” most are dangerous places to stay and usually consist of a windowless room that has only a bed. Now it has been recently reported that the owner of Wilson’s has commissioned an architect firm to look at interior and exterior upgrades as well as alternative uses for the structure.
Alderman Cappleman had a recent discussion (tiff would be more right), with Salvation Army’s outreach, Captain Nancy Powers. Now according to Capt. Nancy Powers, whom oversees the Salvation Army’s homeless program in the city, told the paper the charity was given a month to find a new site, preferably outside Ald. Cappleman’s ward, and that he could not mention what other services he was employing that served the poor in his ward. Alderman Cappleman is stating that the Capt. Nancy Powers stormed out of his office and couldn’t give substantial information on how productive their outreach was in addressing the homeless issue in his ward.
Recently a reporter asked questions of some of those that were getting their cup of soup whether they had heard of the recent issue with the outreach truck coming into that neighborhood. One homeless man by the name of Waller posed this question in the article, “Is he going to add to the homeless population by throwing those people out?” said Waller, moving slowly with his cane as he balanced his soup in the other hand. It should also be told that Carl Waller is 60 yrs old and also a resident of the Wilson Men’s Hotel, so that’s double jeopardy for his existence in this particular ward as someone on the street.
What has struck a chord in my heart, to put this tale with the culminated information in this blog and share with my friends and readers is that, I personally have met and talked with some of the homeless men and women in my area over the years which led me to realize, it doesn’t take much for some of us to be right there in their place, homeless. Lately, especially these past few years with the global relocation of jobs, companies merging and layoffs, workers of a certain age too are finding it harder to gain employment in a timely manner. Therefore we have a growing number of the homeless that are not suffering from mental illness, they may not even have been irresponsible with money, they just happened to be the ones that worked at the lowest rung of the job-ladder and lived paycheck to paycheck just a few dollars ahead, if that much! Some homeless families or persons are victims of dishonest landlords, those they were paying rent to live in a house and the landlord went into foreclosure or as recently in the news, didn’t even own the property to begin with but was leasing foreclosed houses/condo’s in the Washington area. Talking personally with them really changes your perspective on what you ASSUMED and how you become more AWARE of the plight of those around you that come rain, snow, sleet, hail, heat, what have you, was once in your place with roof over their heads and a job to go to each day. Which leads me to Al Miller, in this news story.
Al Miller is also 60 years old, a Vietnam veteran, he stated that the Salvation Army had in the past helped him get $32,000 veterans benefit back pay. I know you’re think $32,000 why is he on the streets still? Did he drink it away? Drug use? None of those quick to assume an addiction habit, reasons are why Mr. Miller doesn’t have his money, it went to paying off his daughter’s college and to help her ward off foreclosure. Al Miller stated in the Chicago Sun-Times, “I feel good I did that”…read more about Al Miller in article by clicking on his highlighted name.
Last but not least is veteran and former emergency room technician Ronnie Whaley, 57 years old. Ronnie, is like one of the examples I mentioned above, he had a job, lost it, stayed awhile with friends and family and now sleeps in his car, he came to see the caseworkers about getting off the streets, stating he’d had enough and tearfully how, “it was his first time”.
So my friends last year I had made a statement to some of my fellow conservative political & charitable active friends that I was going to be looking into what areas/gaps of service are not out there for the homeless and how to fill in those gaps. How do we get some of them rotated back into what is “normal” living in our urban and even suburban communities What also bothered me about this particular story, and trust me it’s secondary to the empathy of emotions from those mentioned above and those I have personally spoken to as well as the want to help with our homeless needs here in America, but the fact too that someone who belongs to the party that prides themselves on the motto of “Together America can do better and/or, Stand with the people” and all about giving everyone a “fair share” with strong support for socialistic ideology and holds a Master’s in Social work, would be more concerned it seems on appearances. I guess Alderman Cappleman forgot the golden rule, ” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, which rumor has it may have been the 1886 party slogan (I couldn’t find substantial proof though).
It also appears that the LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender) is feeling his intentions are wrong and out of sorts with the sort of leadership and advocate for them and the community, that they have now sided with the Salvation Army too and have planned March 6th protest.
Any one of us can look up and see our beautiful, comfortable and often taken for granted lives turned as upside down as some of those we barely glance at on the streets too.