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Rahm Budget Ax Leads to Homeless Cab Snafu

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    Taxi drivers asking for a bunch of new fees, including a "vomit clean-up" fee.

    The head of Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services got herself into some hot water Monday when she tried to explain away a Rahm Emanuel budget move.

    Commissioner Evelyn Diaz, speaking before the Chicago City Council, said $2.4 million in cuts to a city program that provided transportation to shelters for the city's homeless wouldn't be all that devastating. Emanuel's budget eliminated the 24 positions that provided the service.

    The Sun Times first reported the incident: 

    Diaz was asked what would happen this winter without the overnight shift. How were homeless Chicagoans — many of them suffering from alcohol, substance abuse and mental health problems — supposed to get to emergency shelters overnight? Were they supposed to just hang tough until 8 a.m?

    “If they can’t find another alternative,” she said.

    Asked to identify an alternative, Diaz said, “Public transportation, cabs.”

    The firestorm started after a reporter suggested homeless couldn't afford cabs.

    A department spokeswoman followed up on the question saying they could take advantage of a program in partnership with the American Red Cross that provides free cab vouchers to victims of fire.

    It remains unclear how homeless men and women could take advantage of the vouchers.