To curb gun violence, Chicago must have more safe and affordable housing

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University of Chicago staff members, students and friends of Shaoxiong Zheng stopped by a memorial in the 1000 block of East 54th Street.   
University of Chicago staff members, students and friends of Shaoxiong Zheng stopped by a memorial in the 1000 block of East 54th Street.    | Madeline Kenney/Sun-Times

Social service providers and programs agree that safe, stable, housing is critical to preventing violence.

As a resident of the 3rd Ward and recent resident of the 4th Ward, I was saddened to read the recent article “Violent death of Chinese student in Hyde Park sparks calls for action — but few specifics on how to combat city’s rising crime.” I am deeply concerned about preventable violence in the communities where my friends, family, and colleagues reside.

Local government officials agree there is a need for an urgent response. They continue to call on long-term plans to address the root causes of violence by promising to reach out “to relevant stakeholders” and establish “real world results.” But where are they?

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 350 words.

As a member of the Bring Chicago Home coalition and manager of community engagement at Renaissance Social Services, I deal with the impact of the housing crisis daily. Social service providers and programs like Heartland Alliance’s READI Chicago — which works with young men most impacted by gun violence — agree that safe, stable, housing is critical to preventing violence.

More than 58,000 Chicagoans are living on the streets, in shelters, or doubled-up. If Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Police Supt. David Brown and city officials are serious about addressing crime, they can start by adopting a proposal on the table to address the housing crisis.

The Bring Chicago Home coalition is fighting for a dedicated revenue stream to provide permanent, affordable housing for people experiencing this housing crisis. I am calling on the mayor and City Council to support Bring Chicago Home to address both the housing and violence crisis. Our neighbors, family and friends’ lives depend on it.

Bradley P. Sanders, South Loop

Tips to enjoy the holidays — safely

We are thankful that it is safer to gather with family and friends during the 2021 holiday season, as long as you and they are fully vaccinated. Illinois doctors have a few health safety tips for you:

  • If you’re the host or a guest, it’s OK to ask if others attending the gathering are vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • If it will be a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, or if you have a loved one with a weakened immune system, you’ll want to wear a mask if indoors.
  • If you’re feeling ill or have COVID-like symptoms, don’t host or attend holiday gatherings.
  • Travel safely! If you’re taking any type of public transportation — planes, trains or buses — get vaccinated and remember masks are required while traveling.

Although most of us want to resume our usual holiday traditions, we have to be mindful that the pandemic is still ongoing. We’re making great progress in getting everyone 5 and older vaccinated. If you haven’t gotten your shot yet, please give yourself an early holiday present to protect your own health, as well as the health of your family and friends.

Regan Thomas, M.D., president, Illinois State Medical Society

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November 23, 2021 at 04:06PM

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