Support Fortitude’s Special Use Permit – Contact an Alderperson today!

Kankakee DSA is asking you to press your Kankakee alderpeople to vote in favor of the Special Use Permit allowing Fortitude Community Outreach to operate a 7-day-a-week overnight shelter at the former school building owned by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on the 200 block of S. Dearborn Avenue. At this link, you can easily find phone and email information for all 14 alderpeople.

Talking Points

As you contact members of the Kankakee City Council, you can use these general talking points to persuade them to vote in favor of the Special Use Permit.

  • The federal eviction moratorium that had been providing essential protections to low-income and vulnerable citizens has expired, exposing more residents to the threat of homelessness
    • As of 2019, the poverty rate in Kankakee is 28.9% (compared to 11.5% statewide)
    • 74% of Kankakee residents who are below the poverty line are renters (compared to 40.4% statewide)
    • The poverty rate among people with disabilities in Kankakee is 26%
  • Housing security is an essential component of infrastructure planning, and meeting the needs of the homeless should be part of that planning as well
  • Emergency shelter should be located near related necessary services, including…
    • Job training
    • Food and clothing
    • Internet access
    • Public transportation
    • Healthcare
  • A 7-day-a-week shelter will give the homeless a safe place to sleep at night and address concerns about loitering and begging
  • The Fortitude & St. Paul’s Lutheran Church plan requires no additional funding from the city; it is completely supported by religious and nonprofit funding
  • This is the compassionate and ethical thing to do
    • There is no moral or ethical imperative to protect the investments of property owners in the city
    • Providing basic needs for our most vulnerable citizens is a moral imperative – appeal to religious, communal, or other philosophical grounds

Contact Via E-Mail or Phone (Voice Mail)

We encourage you to express your opinion on this matter in your own words. But if you don’t have the time or desire to draft an original mail to the City Council, we have included a couple of options below. There is one for City of Kankakee residents and another for those who do not reside in the city but who are residents of Kankakee County. These are provided for your benefit; feel free to modify them as you see fit.

City of Kankakee Residents template

I am a resident of the ___ Ward in the City of Kankakee. I care about the welfare of my neighbors and all those who call Kankakee home. Ensuring that our fellow Kankakeeans have their barest minimum of human needs met is our highest call. People facing homelessness in our city are depending on us to act in a way that will relieve them of the many burdens of abject poverty that deny them their most basic rights to life and liberty. My expectation of you as my representative on the City Council is that you will make decisions that benefit all of Kankakee’s residents, not only property owners and landlords. I am committed to meeting the needs of people facing homelessness by supporting those in the community who serve them. I ask that you do the same by approving the Special Use Permit allowing Fortitude’s operation of a homeless shelter at the St. Paul Lutheran Church school building. Will you vote yes for this permit?

Kankakee County Residents template

I am a resident of Kankakee County. Although I do not live in the City of Kankakee, I care deeply about my homeless neighbors. I believe it is in the best interest of our county and those who reside here to provide our vulnerable neighbors with a safe place to sleep. Please consider approving the Special Use Permit for the operation of Fortitude’s homeless shelter at the St. Paul Lutheran Church school building.

Tips for Phone or In-Person

When speaking with your representative, ask them how they plan on voting. If they don’t want to commit, ask them why they are undecided. You may find that they are trying to avoid a confrontation with their constituent. Be persistent, but PLEASE BE HELPFUL. Attempt to convince them that the right choice is a vote in favor of the shelter.


If you reach out to them, we’d love to hear what they said and how it went. Fill out the contact form on our website, send us a message on Facebook, or email us at Keep up the good fight!