Naperville’s ongoing problem with 1 homeless man

Naperville in the last decade has been a celebrated place: named one of the best places to live in the country plus a growing population plus a vibrant suburban downtown. But one homeless man has created an ongoing set of issues:

A Naperville psychologist and others asked the Naperville City Council Tuesday to do more about what they say is continued harassment from protester and squatter Scott Huber.

Kathy Borchardt, a clinical child psychologist who is suing Huber after a 2010 confrontation that resulted in disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing charges against him, said she was frustrated more has not been done to stop Huber’s infringement on business owner’s rights.

“This sort of bullying behavior by Mr. Huber has given him more power in this community than any business owner or official,” she said, adding that an ordinance passed by the council banning camping on sidewalks in the downtown area caused Huber to move outside her business, leading to the confrontation.

Huber frequently sets up a makeshift, mobile protest site on Ogden Avenue and in other areas of the city with signs calling for the boycott of Borchardt’s practice and claims about her ethics…

City Attorney Margo Ely said the encampment ordinance that was put in place was a legal remedy the city thought would hold up if challenged in court. Expanding the ordinance to the entire city — instead of just its downtown — or establishing “free speech zones” would be a lot less likely to withstand a legal challenge. She also cautioned that the city cannot act to limit the free speech of an individual.

Councilman Bob Fieseler said the issue could be handled immediately by enforcing laws on the books giving the city the right to confiscate property left unattended on public sidewalks…

But Police Chief Dave Dial said he — nor patrol officers — have seen Huber blocking walkways or leaving his property unattended.

This story has been going on for quite a while now. This is not an issue – a homeless man creating trouble – that typically plagues suburbs but Naperville is no normal suburb due to its size plus affluence.

Throughout the coverage of this case, I don’t remember reading about efforts by the City of Naperville or Naperville citizens to help this man stay off the streets (beyond city efforts to enforce or create ordinances). And if there is one homeless man on the streets, how has the city of Naperville dealt with this issue? Is this affluent community prepared for big-city type problems?

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