CHICAGO (CBS) -- A proposal for a new homeless shelter serving men in the Rogers Park community is getting the go-ahead.
As CBS 2's Marybel González reported Thursday night, advocates say the facility is needed now more than ever as homeless populations skyrocket.
But not everyone is on board with the plan.
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) has given the green light to the relocation of the shelter that will serve men facing homelessness. It will be opening in the vacant former St. Francis Community Health Center, at 7464 N. Clark St. at Birchwood Avenue.
The shelter will have 72 beds in total.
Ald. Hadden said support for the shelter is far from unanimous.
"Our community's feelings about this are complex and the concerns are complex," she said.
Some residents have expressed their criticism and concerns at several community forums held on this subject. The latest one happened virtually this past Wednesday night.
"Just because someone's not supporting it outright doesn't make us a hater," one resident said at a virtual meeting. "It means we have questions – which is the point of the meetings."
Lilia Perez is also among those expressing concerns. She told us in Spanish that her main concern is the shelter's proximity to a neighborhood park that many children visit after school – as well as the amount of security that would be available.
But the alderwoman said the shelter – which is operated by the North Side Housing and Supportive Services – has 40 years of experience running such centers.
"They have security. They have staff 24 hours onsite. They have a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy," Hadden said at the Zoom townhall, "and again, people are getting case management."
The center is relocating from a Super 8 Motel at 7300 N. Sheridan Rd. – the former Sheridan-Chase Motel – where it had been operating temporarily.
Before that, the shelter was located in Uptown, but had to move out due to issues with their building there.
Peter Marchese, who is the president of the board at North Side Housing and Support Services, said it important that the shelter gets a permanent home.
"We are now one of only two shelters exclusively for men on the North Side of the city, so it is vital that we're able to move that shelter into the Rogers Park neighborhood," Marchese said.
It is a sentiment shared by some residents of who support the measure.
"I think it's a really good I idea," said Rogers Park resident Shardae McKinnie. "I think making that decision was the best decision to make."
We are told the shelter could open up as soon as December of this year – and though they have now received approval for a special use permit, it seems the controversy is not over.
Some residents tell us they are planning to protest the move.
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