A homeless shelter on Chicago's North Side set to close just before the holidays due to funding issues will now stay open through the winter.
The shelter was on the brink of closing for good two days before Christmas, with advocates blaming the state's lingering budget impasse for funding issues.
Richard Ducatenzeiler, the shelter's executive director, noted that the decision to close down was made in September after it became clear that funding provided by the state of Illinois through the city of Chicago wouldn't be allocated. In the past few years, the shelter has had a deficit of roughly $100,000 per year.
"We did approach the city in June or July asking for additional funding, which they came back and told us that they did not have even one more dollar to commit in order to continue to operate this program," Ducatenzeiler told Ward Room.
Chicago Homeless Shelter Threatens Closure Ahead of Holidays, Advocates Blame Budget Impasse
"It's not that the funding actually ran out, it's just that we did not have the sufficient level of funding that we needed to operate the program," he added.
But city officials now say they will match a $100,000 private donation to keep the facility open.
The news comes after community activist Andrew Holmes set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the financially-struggling shelter. The campaign has since raised nearly $10,000.
"This is a victory for us," said activist Patricia Snowden. "We protested and kept fighting and fighting."
For months, community activists have been pressing city officials to find funding to keep the facility open.
"It was thanks to people rising up and demanding that this shelter stay open, that's how we got to this happy day," said activist Andrew Thayer.
Chicago Homeless Shelter Threatens Closure Ahead of Holidays
The men's shelter will now stay open through the winter, a victory that had supporters celebrating Friday, though they note the battle is far from over.
Many note that more needs to be done to help the homeless living out the so-called "tent cities," like the one under the Lake Shore Drive Wilson viaduct.