Police investigate stabbing of homeless man at Jefferson Park CTA Terminal; homeless issues recently discussed at JPNA meeting
by BRIAN NADIG
A 71-year-old homeless man was stabbed multiple times during a reported robbery at about 1:20 a.m. Friday, April 14, at the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.
The man reported that he was woken up when another man kicked him and demanded money and he was then stabbed after he said he had no money, according to police.
The man suffered three puncture wounds to his lower left leg and a cut on his right hand, described as an apparent defensive wound, according to police. He was transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and was listed in stable condition, police said. He reportedly was still hospitalized as of April 19.
Responding officers searched the area but could not locate the assailant, who was described as age 25 to 35, 5-7, 155 pounds and wearing a hooded sweatshirt with blue and white lettering, black pants and black shoes.
The incident reportedly occurred in a pedestrian tunnel that leads to the Blue Line Station. The man has been periodically living at the terminal for several years.
Discussions on social media have focused on whether the homeless should be allowed to live at the terminal, especially in the heated shelters because it dissuades commuters from using them.
Homelessness issues were discussed at the March 29 meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association.
16th District affinity officer Nikoletta Papadopoulos told the association that the CTA tunnel does “not look like it did in November” when as many as six people could be seen living there and storing their belongings.
She said that as the district’s affinity officer her focus is to address homeless issues, providing resources for unhoused individuals and helping to place those who are interested into overnight shelters or other housing opportunities.
“The days of kicking them out and throwing their belongings out (as the main policy) … are long gone,” she said. “We just don’t do that anymore.”
“(We) show compassion,” she added. “In the winter months we did a lot of searching around for blankets. … I’ve even given people the shoes off my feet.”
In some instances, Papadopoulos said, individuals have been asked and agreed to relocate their tent due to safety concerns, including one individual who was living on top of an embankment.
If the city does want to force unhoused individuals from a certain area, public notice must be posted, she said.
Some residents have reported seeing CTA security ordering homeless individuals out of a heated shelter at the terminal. Homeless individuals have been arrested at the terminal for criminal trespass, battery, indecent exposure and other charges in recent years.
Concerns were raised at the meeting that some of the unhoused — for a variety of reasons — are offered housing and mental health and addiction treatment services but refuse the assistance. Otters have hit hard economic times, such as recently losing their home, and may be more willing to accept help, residents said.
(photo by Margaret Rivera)