Friday, September 13, 2013

CRIB NOTES: Cops Want Youth Shelter To Make Changes

19th District Police Commander Elias Voulgaris has taken a stand on an issue that has caused problems for some of our neighbors.

We are pleased to support the commander's efforts. Thank you for stepping up, sir.

According to DNAinfo.com this morning, the commander wants the Night Ministry youth shelter, called "The Crib," to change the way it selects whom it will accommodate.

Currently, the shelter uses a lottery system to select which of the 25-30 people who show up nightly will be taken in. Anyone who is left over after the beds are filled are on their own.
"Frankly, it's not working," the commander said […] Voulgaris said he's stopped people on the street at night and learned that they were in the neighborhood for The Crib. 
The commander and 19th District CAPS Sergeant Jason Clark suggest that The Crib should only accept individuals who are taking steps to better their situation by going to school.
And that's where The Crib's rep, Barbara Bolsen turns on the flow of excuses.
It's hard to predict which person will make the right steps, she said.

Even someone who might look like she will "crash and burn — like they're not going to make it — they can really surprise you," Bolsen said. 
No one is saying only pick the people you think will succeed. What's being said is that the people you do select should be held responsible for improving themselves, with help and support, of course.

The gem is this enormous, cartoonish, brush stroke:
It's "a huge assumption" to think all young people on the street in Lakeview are there because they've been rejected from The Crib, [Bolsen] said. 
Image: DNAinfo
 This statement was apparently in response to the commander's experiences of encountering people on the street who came here for The Crib. Again, nobody said all of the problems are coming from The Crib. There are a whole bunch of contributing factors at play in our neighborhood and the years-old practice of deflection needs to end. Everyone needs to step up and get their ducks in a row. To that end, The Crib needs to take responsibility for its residents and the "five or ten" people that it tosses back on the streets every night.
The Crib no longer allows smoke breaks, meaning people stay inside once they get to the church at 9 p.m. If there are still empty beds after then, people must call 311 to check if one is open — not knock on the church's door. 
And the church is recruiting more volunteers to be around between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., an addition to the church's site manager. It's not quite the hired security that neighbors asked for, but Bolsen said it would add "adult presence" when the young people come in.
"This has really evolved in response to a dialog with our immediate neighbors, with the alderman's staff and folks at the police station," Bolsen said.
Keep evolving.

As a contrasting example, consider another 19th District shelter operation where one CWBer has volunteered over the past year to 18 months.

Yes, their residents are adults. But their residents, or "guests," as the shelter refers to them, are required to take definitive action toward improvement and independence. What that action looks like varies by the guests' individual circumstances.  Their progress is reviewed regularly and those who don't step up are told to leave so the shelter can serve someone who wants to get to a better place. Many guests work their way to stability and are then assisted on the road to and through independence. It's pretty incredible.

We think youths should be held responsible for improving themselves, too. Whether that means finishing school, securing employment, or learning and adopting skills that will help them to land in a better place.

When the CWB volunteer knocked on his shelter's door at 5:30 a.m. to cook breakfast for the residents one day, a shelter worker opened the door and blasted him with finger wagging: never go outside after hours again, the rules say this, next time such and such is going to happen, "what's your name?" and all sorts of stuff. She thought our volunteer was a "guest."

That's the way to run things.

EDITORS' NOTE: DNAinfo updated and clarified some portions of its story, including quotations, after CWB's original posting. CWB has revised portions of this entry accordingly.

26 comments:

  1. It's people like Barbara Bolsen who are responsible for the neverending cycle of creating havens for criminals. She ensures they take no responsibility for themselves by permitting and encouraging anti-social behavior, thereby guaranteeing her source of revenue. She even bashes the police when her criminal "youths" are arrested.

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  2. The Crib isn't going to change. On the Night Ministry website they advertise they are a "low-threshold" shelter, i.e. no requirements to get in. People rise to the level of expectations.........
    At the Wednesday nite Triangle Neighbors meeting, Bolsen also offered that The Crib was there to protect their residents from "predators". Why does it seem it is THEY who are the predators?
    And if people can call up anytime during the nite and get a bed, if available, it sounds like they're running a free hotel.

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  3. And the reason they can't do something simple like volunteer at a shelter or library or someplace to get a chance for bed is....?

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  4. "We don't discipline the kids because they don't respond well well to rules."

    That's what a representative from The Night Ministry told a group of neighbors who live by the Crib.

    At the June CAPS meeting I asked Tunney's assistant a yes or no question, "Are these places regulated?" Her answer: "No, and that's a problem."

    The programs at these organizations should be suspended across the board until an investigation is done to determine what detrimental effects they are having on the neighborhood and what restrictions need to be put in place in order for them to function in a responsible and appropriate manner.

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  5. "We don't discipline the kids because they don't respond well well to rules"------------
    Amazing. Again, people rise to the level of expectations......

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  6. According to their IRS filings. President Paul Hammann earned $135, 780 in 2012. VP Barbara Bolson $105, 243. VP Dev Christy Prassas $87, 912. VP Finance $80, 420. Those 4 people eat up about 8% of the total budget. I know at least 3 of them do not live in this neighborhood. It looks like most funding is coming from corporate donors. I'm working on a list of those so we can start a boycot. Many of you may work for these companies and can reach out to your corporate donations department to request they stop providing donations.

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  7. They receive $1.5 million in government grants and $3.9 million in private donations. Major contibutors include AIDS Foundation Chicago, Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois, Chicago Tribune, ComEd, Polk Brothers, Whole Foods, Harris Bank, Chicago Suntimes, Cubs and White Sox, Kraft Foods, Northern Trust, Peoples Gas, Private Bank, Charter One, Bank of America. Notice the list includes both major newspapers in town.

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  8. According to their IRS filings. President Paul Hammann earned $135, 780 in 2012. VP Barbara Bolson $105, 243. VP Dev Christy Prassas $87, 912. VP Finance $80, 420."

    At the next meeting at the police station to follow up on the progress with the Crib someone should ask the representatives from the Night Minstry about these salary figures. I doubt many people know how much they make.

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  9. The salaries of those Night Ministry people are disgusting. No wonder they are so defensive about their organization...ka-ching, ka-ching. They are parasites on taxpayers who have real jobs. They create problems rather than solve them.

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  10. Seriously? The president and VP make six figure salaries? Man, that's pretty ballsy for such a small organization. Nice "overhead" they have there.

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  11. I'm starting to think that the only way to guarantee one's own safety in the neighborhood now is to move out of your apartment and start spending your days at the Center on Halsted and your nights at the Crib, all while being fed for free by the Night Ministry and getting free health care at Howard Brown. No responsibilities, no work, no pressure, no consequences, no bills to pay...just lots of free stuff. Life would be good.

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  12. "for such a small organization"
    ----------------
    A $5.5 million annual budget is not that small. It's apparently much larger than we thought.

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  13. Jusy as a point of reference, the CEO for the Center on Halstead, Modesto Valle made $164, 484 in 2012 and the Finance Director Lewis Warrick made $85, 609 in a total revenue for the org of 4.5 million and spent $5 million according to their IRS filling

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  14. Well I'm sure when the donors start getting police report numbers...they may open a dialog with the center. Would I want to keep funding something with constant problems? Also, spoke to the commander...his words twisted as usual by DNA. Shame when patch.com goes away Oct 15.

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    1. According to email with him, he never said the youth the don't get in go on to do the crime in the hood. DNA has a way of reporting things how they want, even if its not 100% accurate. The headline alone was writen in a way to make sure u click it. In this instance, I believe him. Of course he's recvd tone of flack. He's apparently reached out to DNA about the way its been reported.

      I'm for what he's saying about giving back to community and not just get s free bed cuz u were there. But what to I know, I'm just a mad man with a blue box.

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  15. thedoctor1963 said...
    According to email with him, he never said the youth the don't get in go on to do the crime in the hood. DNA has a way of reporting things how they want, even if its not 100% accurate. The headline alone was writen in a way to make sure u click it. In this instance, I believe him. Of course he's recvd tone of flack. He's apparently reached out to DNA about the way its been reported.

    I'm for what he's saying about giving back to community and not just get s free bed cuz u were there. But what to I know, I'm just a mad man with a blue box.
    ------------

    We've pulled no punches with the commander, but back him on this one. It's interesting to us that a shelter that feels it cannot "select the most worthy people" feels that the most appropriate way to decide which human beings get shelter for the night is a lottery.

    Now THAT is heartless.

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  16. Bear with me on this-------As far as I can tell from the Night Ministry website and financial statements, The Crib represents a small and moveable "outpost" to the total organization. The bulk of their assets consist of real estate with a net book value of $3.5 million out of total assets of $5 million (round numbers). This tells me that their main operation consists of their longer-term housing solutions located elsewhere. The balance of $1.5 million in assets are cash, receivables and other misc. They don't own the church on Addison. Their website describes The Crib as reaching out to the "homeless and LGBT youth in Lakeview" which makes it sound like the youth are FROM Lakeview. We know they are not. Those "youth" COME TO LAKEVIEW because they can get a free place to stay - they are drawn here.----------What I conclude from all this is that we should be focusing on getting them to MOVE THE CRIB SOMEPLACE ELSE rather than trying to tackle the rather large organization. All they have to do is find another location to take them in. There must be plenty of alternatives. There is NO reason for them to be in Lakeview. The Center on Halsted draws people here, but they are planted here and not easily moved. The Crib can move.----------Sorry for the length, but I think it's important we really understand just what the Night Ministry and Crib are in order to deal with them effectively. We can put pressure on them to move without hurting the larger organization.

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    1. We absolutely do need to go after the money. These organizations will never learn that they have responsibilities to the communities in which locate until you start pulling their money away. Beside the fact that they are not truely serving their clients either by bringing such criminals into our neifhborhood or anyone elses. $5 million is not that big an organization. I have worked on projects with budgets several times larger than that. $5 mil is pretty small.

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  17. Whoa ... what is this about patch.com
    going away Oct 15th???

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  18. I'll say it again...these places aren't in business to help people, but they are in business.

    Follow the money, where it comes from and whose pockets it lands in, and then this problem will be solved. It's all a big con job. If some reporter decided to do some real old fashioned investigative work and not simply cut and paste from the pr they're handed by the city and these organizations we might see the real story come out.

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  19. Much like precincts can vote themselves "dry" & close problem liquor stores & bars, residents should be able to vote themselves free from these "social service" agencies that "help" outsiders to the detriment of the neighborhood.

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  20. The Night Ministry never changes and will never move once it has a stranglehold in a neighborhood. Alderman Cappelman tried to throw them out of Uptown, but their political connections assisted them in defying his order.

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  21. It sounds like the Crib is moveable. Maybe Cappleman didn't have the neighborhood support to get them to move. The way things are going with the crime, I'd say if the neighbors were organized behind Tunney, there's a better chance of success. Start the drum beat, start talking to people, maybe a petition. Can we get Voulgaris behind a move?

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  22. The Crib has been financed by a specific grant that the Night Ministry received for running a LGBTQ youth shelter. It has been seasonal because the grant is not a sure-thing. Those of us who have paid attention to this have seen it only appear for the summer in previous years.

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  23. I see these "young adults" coming off the train every night...how about moving this pathetically named "Crib" to the neighborhood that the criminals are coming from...easy solution....I moved out when I was fifteen from and abusive home and I worked full-time in high school and paid rent...it CAN be done. I am in my 50s and work two jobs...work is out there.....I would have eaten grass before I took a handout from anyone....sitting on a curb all day and waiting forthe COH to hand them pricey Whole Foods meals is about all these "ADULTS" aspire to....can't wait to leave this city

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