David Bahena stares out of a window of the intensive rehabilitation unit at The Salvation Army Harbor ‪Light of Chicago, located on the Near West Side. "This is the window we look out to see the word," said Bahena, who had been sober for six weeks. The in-patient program works with patients suffering from alcoholism and substance abuse. Photo by Jonathan Gibby

In early March, The Salvation Army Mobile Outreach Unit was in danger of being kicked out of Uptown. The unit, a service of The Salvation Army Harbor Light of Chicago, offers on-site mental health and substance abuse assessments, referrals and hot meals to those in need, and provides transportation to a treatment facility. It makes a regularly scheduled stop at the intersection of Marine Drive and Wilson Avenue in Uptown.

The unit initially received a 30-day notice by 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman to find a new place to park.

“While we were seeing success stories and improvements in quality of life for those in need, we still had persistent chronic homelessness that was centralized in the area near where the Salvation Army Mobile Food Truck provided services,” Cappleman wrote on his website.

After several meetings between Cappelman and representatives from The Salvation Army, protests by community members and a flurry of media attention, the two parties came to an agreement that allows the unit to continue providing services in Uptown.

“Sometimes God uses what started out as wrong or bad and turns it into good, and that’s certainty what we have seen here,” said Salvation Army Captain Nancy Powers, who oversees the program. “We have seen the attention brought to the needs of the homeless.”