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  1. As a 3rd ward resident for over 20 years, I strongly support the issuance of a special permit and to allow Connections to purchase the Margarita Inn. I have recently visited the Margarita Inn to see the much needed support that their participants receive. In a perfect world homelessness would not exist. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Let’s continue the work of getting the homeless into safe spaces. Connections and Interfaith Action are working hard to do it. Evanston should support them!

  2. I strongly oppose the issuance of a special permit to the Margarita Inn.

    They are not entitled to operate under the existing zoning regime and there is no compelling reason to grant them a special permit.

    As someone who lives in the neighborhood I can tell you that anti-social behavior has increased exponentially since Connections for the Homeless have taken over. A police officer was attacked by one of the residents a few weeks ago when he was asked to stop engaging in sexual activity in front of kids.

    The author of this letter doesn’t even live in Evanston, let alone the neighborhood affected. Please stop meddling with our community.

  3. I too have visited the Margarita Inn and have seen firsthand how having your own room with a door to close and a personal bathroom to use can start a person on a new path of life. The hotel provides the bridge to go from homeless to housed with the expectation that residents will go on to permanent housing elsewhere. I expect the Evanston I have known for over 50 years to support this successful effort to combat homelessness.

  4. I’ve volunteered in various capacities for Interfaith Action of Evanston for the past 7 years. IAE works to help the homeless and the hungry. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. Come join us.

  5. I have been to the Margarita Inn and it is a well run and compassionate way of alleviating the challenges of homelessness. Many of my congregants live in the area and are supportive of this project. We need more solutions like this to the struggles of poverty and I am grateful to Connections for taking this on, being creative, working with and serving our community.

  6. Thank you, Ms. Appelt, for your heartfelt letter. I appreciate the essential work that Interfaith Action of Evanston and Connections for the Homeless do to alleviate poverty and grow equity for the homeless.

    I am a Fourth Ward resident, living on Grove, around the corner from the Margarita Inn. I’ve experienced homelessness, subsequently holding positions with prominent Chicago and Evanston homeless services agencies; I know the challenges facing the homeless (I am currently in workforce development, assisting lower – income folks in accessing fulfilling careers). I gladly give to organizations empowering people to progress in life, and I’ve done much volunteering in the literacy and employment fields. I’ve a firm belief in “paying it forward”.

    I oppose CFTH’s purchase of the Margarita Inn, most specifically because it is not a “clean and sober” facility – which is a necessary environment for many struggling to overcome homelessness, as addiction (along with behavioral health issues) and homelessness are often intertwined. As I see it, the Margarita, as currently managed by CFTH, is “enabling failure” for their guests in this regard. These folks merit a dignified milieu and a “safe space”, not one promoting further chaos and dysfunction. More below (text capitalizations mine):

    Alcohol use by Margarita Inn residents is allowed per the CFTH “Shelter Participant Handbook”. A copy of this is on public record (as presented to the Evanston Land Use Commission meeting on 05/11/2022), and the complete Handbook (along with the accompanying meeting record) can be found on pp. 103 – 149 at this link below (PDF):

    https://www.cityofevanston.org/home/showpublisheddocument/71473/637874314253300000

    City of Evanston – Land Use Commission – Wednesday, May 11, 2022

    ‘Connections For the Homeless – Shelter Participant Handbook [Revised 01.15.2022]’

    H. Alcohol + Other Substances [page 7]:

    “ALCOHOL IS ALLOWED IN THE SHELTER but may only be consumed in your room. At no time is open alcohol permitted in any common area, including the hallways, Courtyard, or anywhere outside on the shelter property. Non-prescription substances that are illicit/illegal are not allowed anywhere in the Shelter, including in individual rooms, or on the property…”

    There are many sources addressing this topic. Here, briefly, is one from the US National Library of Medicine, a component of The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1772151/

    Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, And the Homeless

    “Abstract: Credible estimates of the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse suggest that ALCOHOL ABUSE AFFECTS 30% TO 40% AND DRUG ABUSE 10% TO 15% OF HOMELESS PERSONS. A review of policies that address substance abuse among the homeless finds that interventions alternate between control and rehabilitation. However, the unique needs of a changing homeless population require an integration of alcoholism and drug abuse recovery services with programs for women, adolescents, and the mentally ill. ALCOHOL AND DRUG – FREE HOUSING IS ESSENTIAL TO SUPPORT AND MAINTAIN RECOVERY. Psychology can contribute in the development of effective programs for homeless individuals struggling with addiction and alcoholism…”

    I appreciate your time and thank you for listening!

    Gregory Morrow

  7. I am so grateful for the work of Interfaith Action of Evanston, Connections for the Homeless, and members of Evanston’s many faith communities who volunteer to walk alongside and support people experiencing homelessness and hunger. Other municipalities have ended homelessness in their communities…certainly Evanston can do this as well. Supporting the Margarita Inn as bridge housing is one step we can all take.