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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 7, 2020
CHICAGO—One consequence of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay at home order, closing most businesses to the public, is that people experiencing homelessness in the Loop are struggling to find safe, clean places to use the restroom. In order to alleviate this issue and keep the Loop clean, Chicago Loop Alliance installed two portable toilets on Thursday in the alley behind 7 W. Madison St. and the alley behind 112-116 S. Michigan Ave.
“The root of what this organization does is keeping the Loop clean and safe for everyone here, and that includes people experiencing homelessness,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “Our Street Team performs homeless outreach seven days a week to connect these individuals to the resources they need, but homelessness is an incredibly complex issue. We hope to see it solved one day. In the meantime, one thing we can do right now is provide public restrooms. It’s simple, but we think it’s impactful.”
The portable toilets are Basic Portable Restrooms from Service Sanitation, and they include hand sanitizer and will be serviced two times per week, plus additional cleanings by Chicago Loop Alliance’s Clean Team. The cost is split between Special Service Area #1-2015, for which Chicago Loop Alliance is the sole service provider, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). They will be in place through the month of May, and possibly longer.
The initiative resulted from a request by Chicago Loop Alliance board member Tom Buechele, Vice President for Facilities and Campus Operations at SAIC.
“In consideration for those less fortunate who are now unable to access facilities in our downtown businesses, this was the compassionate response from our community,” Buechele said. “Given the crisis, we also thought it was important to maintain sanitation in our alleyways for our essential employees who transit between buildings on our campus.”
In addition to installing portable toilets, Chicago Loop Alliance’s Street Team has been providing outreach to people experiencing homelessness on State Street in the Loop since 2014. Street Team Ambassadors distribute resource guides and work with social service agencies to connect people experiencing homelessness to the services and resources they need. In 2019 alone, the Street Team made 2,800 social service referrals. In response to COVID-19, the Street Team has been working with The Night Ministry and other social service agencies that offer mobile healthcare and other resources, bringing help directly to those who need it.
About Chicago Loop Alliance
Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA)’s mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. CLA is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.