I am writing to balance out some of the opposition to the application of Connections for the Homeless to make the Margarita Inn a more permanent site for the work they do providing housing and services to Evanston’s unhoused population.
I feel there has been a great deal of adverse messaging and coverage, and I would like your readership to know that there are neighbors of the Inn who fully support this organization and the necessary services they provide.
I am a property owner across the alley from the Margarita Inn and thus qualify as a close-in neighbor and interested party. In addition, I walk to and from the lake and downtown businesses and the Davis Street el station every day, often twice a day and often during late evening and nighttime hours.
I am, therefore, thoroughly conversant with who is on the street, where and when. The panhandlers I encounter daily are never aggressive nor insistent nor are they residents of the Margarita Inn. They are, as are the residents of the Inn, people who are the victims of an unequal society where so many start out in life without the advantages many Evanstonians take for granted.
Surely a city that prides itself itself on being open, welcoming, liberal and caring should be supporting Connections: an organization that seeks to help stabilize those Evanstonians who are in need of the mental health counseling, health care services, financial counseling and temporary housing that are provided at the Inn.
Who else is helping to find permanent housing for the unhoused population in downtown Evanston? Who else is ensuring that people not only have a base (housing) from which to move forward but also have the wraparound services that can keep them off the streets?
The residents of the Margarita Inn are citizens of this city, no different from the rest of us. They are in need of compassion, not demonization; help, not prejudice; a leg up, not a stiff arm.
I urge others to show their support for this worthy organization.