Last minute deal keeps Chicago homeless shelter open

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CHICAGO -- Dozens of homeless people in Chicago will have a warm place to stay this Christmas and beyond.

The shelter at the Preston Bradley Center was threatening to close Friday.

But the city and the shelter operators reached a funding deal that will keep it going through next year.

The city is not saying how much money it’s putting up, but they did say funds will be matched by multiple donors.

Early this morning, community activist Andrew Holmes stopped by with Christmas gifts for some of the homeless.

Many of them live under lakeshore viaducts at Lawrence, Montrose and Wilson due to a lack of shelter beds.

But some do rely on help from the city shelters.

The one on Lawrence was set to close due to a lack of state funding.

While some homeless say it's not nearly enough help, Holmes questions whether shelter money has been grossly mismanaged.

“This is just running water that keeps going,” said Holmes. “Under Wacker Drive, the second city to Chicago, those people say they’re not going anywhere. A lot of people here are not buying into it either.”

“It’s hard now when it’s open,” said homeless man Ralph Edmonson. “You have to get on a waiting list. There’s not enough shelters.”

Chicago's homeless population is estimated to be near 6,000.

79 Percent are believed to rely on support from shelters.

The uptown shelter was said to need about $100,000 to keep operations going through 2017.

Holmes is holding a victory rally later Friday.


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