Chicago vs. Bed Bugs

Advocating policy to control the spread of bed bugs in the City of Chicago

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City of Chicago: Here’s How to Save $51,000.00

Posted by Jessica on January 19, 2009

Ready?  ADDRESS THE SPREAD OF BED BUG INFESTATIONS NOW.  That, City of Chicago, is how to save $51,000.00 in the future.

Or, you could wait, and end up shelling out exactly that amount and probably much, much more in the months and years to come.

Don’t believe me?  I don’t blame you.  You might, however, be inclined to believe this story in today’s Contra Costa Times:

Berkeley to bite back against bedbugs

The city of Berkeley plans to spend $51,000 to control an infestation of bedbugs at the Men’s Overnight Shelter downtown that has sent numerous homeless clients to the hospital for treatment.

The City Council on Tuesday allocated the money for its Center Street building that it leases to the shelter. The city funds about one-third of the shelter’s $600,000 budget, Green said.

Hmmm. I wonder if the City of Chicago allocates any money to fund its shelters? If so, it could be in for major trouble, because, as the inhabitants of the Men’s Overnight Shelter discovered, bed bugs are nothing to joke about:

“We are now routinely sending people to the hospital, because for some of them it’s really bad.”  Even members of the shelter’s staff have been bitten, Green said.

Jimmy Longwell, 42, said he spent three days at Highland Hospital in Oakland after he had an allergic reaction to the bites.

Wayne Jones, 49, said he also had the misfortune of spending time in the Men’s Overnight Shelter.  “I got eaten up pretty good for about 31/2 weeks,” Jones said. “I had to go to the emergency room twice and to my own doctor once. I got out of there as soon as I could.”

Lots of people are allergic to bed bug bites. And lots of people require medical attention to treat bed bug bites.  In fact, the World Health Organization says

The saliva of bedbugs contains biologically and enzymatically active proteins that may cause a progressive immunogenic and allergenic reaction to repeated biting.

Numerous routine bedbug bites can contribute to anaemia and may even make a person more susceptible to common diseases.

The bottom line, folks, is that someone– most likely the Department of Public Health– is going to have to take responsibility for addressing and controlling bed bug infestations in the City of Chicago. And sooner is better than later. Bed bug infestations are much less expensive to control when they’re treated early.

I think these final quotes from the Contra Costa Times sum it up quite nicely:

Micallef, who has worked in the city’s housing and homeless agencies for years, said bedbugs are now everywhere.

Green said his agency asked for money from the city because he spent $2,000 twice on treatments that didn’t work.   “No one has money for this kind of stuff in their budget,” he said.   “It’s tough.”

True.  No one does have money for this kind of stuff in their budget.  It doesn’t really matter, though, does it?  The $51,000.00 gets shelled out anyway, despite what the budget says.

So, City of Chicago, here’s how to save at least $51,000.00: ADDRESS THE SPREAD OF BED BUG INFESTATIONS NOW.


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