- Chicago’s City Council amended the 2011 TIF Vacant Building Ordinance on July 25, approving changes recommended by CCH and the Sweet Home Chicago Coalition, working with Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development. Now, developers can bundle several smaller nearby buildings (two- to four-flats) into a larger development that can be rehabbed for rental housing. It also allows DHED, in consultation with a local alderman, to fund projects with a tax-increment financing (TIF) subsidy that is greater than 50% of project cost. Criteria for consideration include supportive housing and/or housing for extremely low-income households. Also, the first $1 million of TIF funds was allocated for housing rehab projects in the West Side’s Ogden/Pulaski TIF district.
- In May, CCH persuaded legislators to drop a 52% cutback to state funding of emergency shelters and transitional housing across Illinois. It was the second time, within six months, that CCH helped reverse a proposed $4.7 million cutback to shelters. The organization brought almost 200 people to Springfield in the weeks before both votes to talk with legislators.
- Working with 30 providers on our Youth Committee, CCH helped restore some of the 33% ($1.6 million) in yearly state funding cuts to homeless youth programs since FY2008, securing $900,000 (28%) more than a year earlier ($4.1 million total). CCH also worked to restore $2.5 million, to $4 million total, for homeless prevention grants to Illinois households. A program created in 2000 by CCH advocacy, prevention grants have helped almost 100,000 households, but state funding peaked at $11 million four years ago.
- CCH launched its Statewide Network, organizing shelter providers and residents from nine suburban and downstate cities to advocate on shared issues. A community organizer works in Aurora, Bloomington, Elgin, Joliet/Will County, Maywood, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, and Waukegan/Lake County.
- Our Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART) led Springfield-based advocacy for the End Demand Illinois campaign. By May, PART spearheaded passage of its third state laws in three years, with advocacy from prostitution survivors in our SAGE group: The newest law strengthens the state’s anti-trafficking laws (2012). Also, the campaign proposed a law that allows those who can prove they were trafficked to apply for court dismissal of prostitution-related convictions (2011); and a law requiring that underage minors arrested for prostitution be referred to child welfare as abuse victims (2010).
- CCH is managing partner of the Sweet Home Chicago Coalition, which in May enacted a key amendment to Mayor Daley’s TIF Vacant Building Ordinance. With the original ordinance focused on more affluent home buyers, Sweet Home advocated for an ordinance that also helps redevelop vacant apartments if 30% to 50% of the units are dedicated to households earning 30% t0 50% of Area Median Income (less than $37,700/a family of 4).
- A street youth group co-led by the CCH youth attorney met with then-Mayor Daley to ask that Chicago pilot an overnight, low-service youth shelter. Opened for just four months in 2011, further advocacy by CCH and The Night Ministry persuaded the city that fall to resume its funding and add a 20-bed second youth shelter in 2012. This increased the number of youth shelter beds in Chicago by 17% (to 273 beds).
- Working with Cook County Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel, CCH’s Prostitution Alternatives Round Table co-led planning for the first felony prostitution court in the Midwest. Opened in January, the WINGS Project targets women who were trafficked in prostitution, connecting them to probation and rehab services in lieu of imprisonment. PART is assessing the court’s effectiveness and service offerings, working in collaboration with court officials.
- The Jobs Project proposed Put Illinois to Work to state officials in early 2010, using a national model for which it had advocated. The jobs program employed 27,393 people for nine months, until Jan. 15, 2011. Funded by federal and state stimulus grants, CCH also helped design and promote the program in partnership with state agencies and another non-profit. Put Illinois to Work employed low-income parents and youth in $10/hour jobs for 30-40 hours a week. Illinois’ program became the second largest of 35 TANF stimulus job programs in the U.S.
- CCH is managing partner of Sweet Home Chicago, a coalition of 12 community groups and unions. We worked 20 months to build support for a city ordinance to commit up to 20% of tax-increment financing funds to create affordable housing for families, including foreclosed houses and apartment buildings. SHC turned out 300 supporters for hearings, rallies and City Council meetings in 2010, generating support from 26 aldermen and Chicago Sun-Times endorsements. The Council’s powerful Finance Committee chair thwarted efforts to call the ordinance for a final vote, and a Daley Administration-backed version would have made city funding an optional “goal” only. But the SHC ordinance moved further, faster, than any grassroots campaign in recent history, changing the way coalitions are structured in Chicago.
- In a class action case resolved in March, the Law Project co-counseled with the Kirkland & Ellis to preserve services for state wards who are pregnant or parenting teens. Though covered by a 1994 consent decree (Hill v. Erickson), state officials threatened 2009 budget cutbacks that would have ended all services to 602 pregnant and parenting teens and 130 of their children, all wards of the state. Most wards live doubled-up or in foster care. We secured a mediated resolution, with fee settlement, that protects wards’ right to school, childcare, medical and other services, and instituted a class monitor, Mary Sue Morsch, with whom CCH collaborates.
- Because of 2010 advocacy, two “low threshold” youth shelters were piloted for four months in winter 2011. With a $100,000 city grant, 40 beds were opened to serve street youth, ages18 to 24, at shelters managed by The Night Ministry (15 beds) and Olive Branch (25 beds). The HELLO youth group, co-run by our youth attorney and The Night Ministry, proposed this emerging shelter model at a January meeting with then-Mayor Daley. Twenty-five youth met with the mayor, explaining that some youth who need shelter are not ready to work with a case manager and be involved in services.
- For two years, the CCH housing campaign focused on funding more affordable housing in Illinois. CCH worked with several allies for a new capital budget that, for the first time in Illinois, includes money for housing. This was achieved in July, when Gov. Quinn signed a $31 billion capital budget that includes funds for affordable housing – $134 million, creating more than 1,500 units of housing. CCH mobilized extensive organizing and advocacy: Homeless leaders on the Speakers Bureau held 14 in-district meetings with key legislators, participated in two rallies with a governor, and advocated at seven Springfield lobby days. CCH leaders spoke about the capital budget at 69 venues, mobilizing 3,020 constituent letters and organizing community core teams at schools, churches, and synagogues.
- CCH worked 18 months to develop and launch a new affordable housing campaign, led by a partnership of 12 community organizations and labor unions. On July 30, Sweet Home Chicago launched at a City Hall rally that drew 250 people. CCH released a study of how Chicago uses its tax increment financing (TIF), a share of which could be used to develop affordable housing for low- and moderate-wage Chicago families.
- In April, the Law Project began targeted school outreach in the impoverished West Side community of Austin. Supported by a grant and 25 volunteer staffers from JP Morgan Chase Bank, CCH visited 40 church, school and community centers to encourage homeless children’s enrollment in preschool. Outreach for back-to-school enrollment began in July. CCH will track the impact in Austin, which this year counted 378 homeless students in 26 public schools.
- CCH attorneys and the youth campaign persuaded state officials to begin funding school programs serving homeless children – $3 million of grant funding. Grants supported school services that assist more than 26,000 homeless students attending public schools across Illinois, including $1.2 million to the Chicago Public Schools. But further funding was dropped by state leaders as part of drastic budget cuts imposed in mid-2009.
- Kirkland & Ellis law firm, working with CCH attorneys, offered pro bono representation to a homeless man who was removed from the April ballot by village officials in Oak Park. Seeking to run for village trustee, the 47-year-old man had lived in the west suburb for more than 30 years.
- Our Speakers Bureau reached an audience of 4,290 in 2009 – 81 engagements before civic, religious and school groups. Students andcommunity volunteers work with 15 homeless leaders to advocate more resources forstruggling families, youth and adults.
- To showcase the tenacity of homeless students, CCH awards college scholarships each July to several Chicago Public School graduates who experienced homelessness. In six years, 21 students have been awarded funds to attend a dozen colleges and universities. Now a chapter of Illinois Dollars for Scholars, CCH scholarships are renewable for up to $6,000 in support. They are funded by private donors as well as the OSA Foundation, Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, and Elaine’s Hope, managed by educator Rhonda Purwin.
- Working with our No Youth Alone campaign, the CCH Law Project secured a significant victory this summer: Illinois has allocated $3 million to help fund homeless education programs in its public schools. More than 22,000 students are served statewide with this first-ever state funding, with more than 10,600 students served in Chicago.
- CCH attorneys helped 112 students on school-related cases in the city and suburbs in fiscal year 2008 (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008). This includes the Salazar class action that represented 225 Chicago Public Schools students affected by the closure or relocation of three elementary schools this fall. Student clients were also represented in the suburbs, including Crystal Lake, Dolton, Evanston, Joliet, Lansing and Oak Lawn.
- A new CCH study, “Needs of unaccompanied youths in Illinois,” showed cash-strapped youth service providers had to turn away 52% of the youths who sought help in FY 2007. Illinois funds only 318 beds for unaccompanied youth – yet a state-run study shows almost 25,000 teens are homeless in Illinois in the course of a year.
- The Speakers Bureau ran 77 engagements in its first year, bringing together homeless leaders and civic, religious and student groups in the city and suburbs. Core teams were organized at venues at which the audience was especially engaged—this has mobilized volunteers at 18 churches and seven colleges and universities. Core teams have now begun to help CCH with its community organizing efforts.
- CCH partnered with Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office to register homeless people to vote in the November presidential election. CCH mobilized 57 people from 27 agencies to complete registrar training in September. More than 725 people were registered to vote in Chicago and suburbs through this non-partisan effort, including 250 registered by the CCH staff.
- The “It Takes a Home” campaign unveils an initiative to increase the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Among other uses, the state trust fund allocates money for prevention grants. Our proposal would restructure the state’s real estate transfer tax to increase trust funding by $43 million yearly. Housing Action Illinois and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest partner with CCH in the research and launch of this initiative.
- CCH mobilizes 30 shelter providers to push for an evaluation of Chicago’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. By April, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness agrees to our request for a thorough evaluation, including our recommendation that no more shelter beds be cut until a study is done. CCH Policy Director Julie Dworkin is appointed in May to serve on the evaluation committee.
- CCH organizers, along with organizations in the Grassroots Collaborative, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), help convince voters in Albany Park’s 33rd Ward to ratify a health care referendum that calls on tax-exempt hospitals to pay taxes if they fail to deliver adequate levels of charity care.
- CCH’s Leaders and Re-Entry Project help PART enact First Offender Probation, the SMART Act. This law allows judges to offer probation with rehab services to those charged with felony prostitution, a charge that’s possible after two misdemeanors.
- CCH leaders, working with the Grassroots Collaborative, lobby Chicago City Council to pass the “Big Box” living wage ordinance by a 34-15 vote. Though the ordinance was eventually derailed by a mayoral veto seven weeks later, CCH leaders then rallied to boost the Illinois minimum wage; it rose to $7.50 per hour in July 2007.
- CCH and the Survey Research Lab at the University of Illinois-Chicago publish “How Many People are Homeless in Chicago,” a report that looks at the number of people in Chicago who are homeless in the course of a year and the number of people homeless on a typical night. Among the findings: In 2006, there were 21,078 people were homeless on a typical night, which was three times the city’s last official count.
- CCH organizers mobilize 84 men at the New Ritz Hotel. The city was finalizing plans to buy a run-down South Loop facility where these elderly, disabled and low-wage workers lived. Days before the move, CCH organized the men to negotiate a 42-month rent subsidy far better than the $475 the city first offered.
- PART proposes and leads the 2006 fight for the new Illinois Predator Accountability Act, which allows survivors to sue the people and organizations that trafficked them.
- Thirteen PART leaders film a one-hour documentary, “Turning the Corner,” on the birth of their advocacy; 725 people attend the Feb. 6 premiere at Northwestern University Law School.
- CCH persuades the governor’s office to double funding of homeless prevention grants – a program first created because of our advocacy – to $11 million, which will help 15,000 families a year.
- The “It Takes a Home to Raise a Child Campaign” passes the Rental Housing Support program legislation to provide $30 million in rental subsidies to 5,500 families in Illinois earning less than $20,000 a year. The program is funded through a $10 charge on real estate recordings. This program is the largest state-funded rental subsidy program in the country.
- CCH completes a survey of patrons of One-Stop employment centers to learn how well people with multiple barriers are being served.
- CCH joins the Coalition to Protect Public Housing to initiate “Human Right to Housing” campaign to save Cabrini Green. UN official Miloon Khotari accepts CPPH’s invitation to tour Chicago public housing.
- CCH helps to pass Senate Bill 3007. It allows people who have been convicted of felony prostitution or low-level drug offenses to have their records sealed if they have been out of prison for four years without re-offending.
- The Women’s Empowerment Project registers 2,100 people to vote.
- CCH’s Youth Committee and Law Project passes legislation to amend the Illinois Emancipation of Mature Minors Act to allow homeless minors aged 16 and 17 to consent to services in transitional housing programs.
- CCH successfully advocates for $5 million in Homelessness Prevention funding. Eighty percent of households remain housed six to 18 months after receiving assistance.
- CCH Law Project helps homeless woman win a record judgment in Sellers v. Outland, a lawsuit against a landlord who sexually harassed a tenant.
- The “It Takes a Home to Raise a Child Campaign” increases funding for the Family Homelessness Prevention Program from $1 million to $4.5 million for this year.
- CCH successfully advocates for the passage of House Bill 1961, a bill that provides Cook County Judges with the authority to sentence women who are convicted of certain nonviolent felony offenses to a pilot residential treatment and transition center rather than state prison.
- CCH completes the first-ever survey of women in Cook County Jail. It shows that many of them were homeless before entering jail or thought they would be when they got out.
- CCH’s Law Project secures compensatory damages for homeless youth pushed out of school by suburban school district because he was homeless.
- The Day Labor Project, working through the Sweatshop Task Force, triggers audits that result in the refund of more than $200,000 to more than 5,000 day laborers who were overcharged for transportation by agencies in violation of the Day Labor Services Act.
- CCH then passes a Day Labor Ordinance through the Chicago City Council which regulates the industry.
- Brand New Beginnings, Inc., a 24-unit building, opens to provide affordable subsidized housing and support services for homeless women with children.
- CCH’s Latino Task Force Against Homelessness helps create the Latino Jobs Action Group to discuss the issue of discrimination against undocumented workers.
- CCH plays a crucial role in Congressional reauthorization of the federal McKinney-Vento Act, which protects the educational rights of homeless children.
- The CCH Law Project successfully brings the first lawsuit enforcing the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance prohibition on discriminating against the homeless. The case involves a man who was fired from his 12-year position at a public library when he revealed he was homeless.
- CCH completes a study, in coordination with the Children’s Defense Fund, on the effects of welfare reform on homelessness.
- The “It Takes a Home to Raise a Child Campaign” passes legislation and wins $1 million in funding to create the Family Homelessness Prevention Program to provide emergency assistance to families at risk of homelessness.
- CCH Law Project successfully represents homeless families and obtains a sweeping court order to force Chicago Public Schools to serve homeless children.
- CCH, in conjunction with other community organizations, wins the Jobs and Living Wage Campaign. It requires companies receiving city subsidies or contracts to pay their workers at least $7.60 an hour. The Living Wage Ordinance represents an average annual wage increase of $5,000 for approximately 10,000 formerly minimum wage workers. This precedent-setting decision made Chicago the 20th locale in the nation to establish a living wage policy.
- CCH’s Statewide Homeless Youth Initiative works with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to increase funding for homeless youth programs from $2 million to $4 million.
- CCH launches the statewide initiative “It Takes a Home to Raise a Child” to help homeless families and prevent others from becoming homeless.
- CCH’s Latino Task Force, along with other organizations, works to secure $10 million in the Illinois State Budget for immigrant populations losing their public benefits.
- CCH’s SLCDD secures a commitment from the City of Chicago to build two new single room occupancy hotels (SROs) with supportive services for the homeless in the South Loop and also prevents the destruction of six additional SROs in the South Loop.
- CCH works with the state of Illinois in order to prevent the transfer of the Homeless Youth Services Division of DCFS to the Department of Corrections.
- CCH and public housing residents found the Coalition to Protect Public Housing. Its mission is to protect the rights of public housing residents and to ensure the continued existence of public housing.
- CCH starts Growing Home, an urban gardening and greenhouse project that trains homeless people in organic horticulture, gardening and growing techniques, and provides homeless people with jobs.
- CCH works to secure passage of Illinois Education for Homeless Children Act.
- CCH launches the South Loop Campaign for Development without Displacement (SLCDD). SLCDD’s goal is to create a truly mixed income community in the South Loop by preserving and expanding the number of single room occupancy hotels (SROs) and by requesting that any housing development in the South Loop receiving Tax Increments Financing (TIF) subsides from the city of Chicago set aside 20 percent of the units for low-income people.
- CCH’s Women’s Empowerment Project acquires a 24-unit building from the Chicago Abandoned Property Program (CAPP) that will be developed as housing for homeless families.
- CCH activists succeed in closing a homeless shelter where male administrators sexually harass women and, in so doing, wins the first legal case in the nation requiring shelters to abide by the Fair Housing Act.
- CCH develops the Latino Task Force in order address the hidden problem of homelessness in the Latino community.
- CCH, among other community organizations, works with the city of Chicago to secure a commitment of an additional $520 million over five years for affordable housing in Chicago through the Affordable Housing and Jobs Campaign.
- CCH devises quality of care standards for shelter operators that are adopted as official requirements for Chicago’s Department of Human Services funded homeless shelters.
- CCH wins its Presidential Towers Campaign with a commitment from HUD to provide 165 units in Presidential Towers for homeless families and 1,014 project-based Section 8 certificates, low-income housing for homeless people.
- CCH leads legal effort to secure expansion of tuberculosis prevention and treatment services in Cook County, resulting in major improvement of health services.
- CCH releases “Alone After Dark,” the first of its kind report on homeless youth in Illinois that receives significant attention from the media and gives government officials a credible source of information on homeless youth.
- CCH researches and releases its “Recommended Service Delivery System for Homeless Youth in Illinois.”
- CCH creates the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), a leadership group comprised of Chicago area homeless youth.
- CCH receives the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs’ “Coalition of the Year Award” for its design of the Women’s Empowerment Project, a comprehensive program which empowers homeless women to take control of their lives.
- CCH helps pass a law protecting shelter residents from financial exploitation.
- CCH works with the Illinois State Board of Education to allocate needed resources to twenty-six community-based organizations serving homeless children and youth for educational programming.
- CCH successfully works to insure that homeless people have the right to vote in Illinois.
- CCH’s Substance Abuse Task Force, working with the Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA), creates demonstration projects to serve the needs of homeless people suffering from substance abuse.
- CCH successfully wins the first allocation to the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund through the Presidential Towers Campaign.
- Homeless parents, working with CCH, bring a successful lawsuit stopping DCFS removal of children from families experiencing homelessness. Norman v. Johnson establishes multi-million dollar housing assistance fund at DCFS.
- CCH works successfully to legalize the creation of shelters for homeless minors. Previously it was illegal to shelter homeless minors.
- CCH works successfully to establish the Low Income Housing Trust Fund Commission to oversee and expand the funds that maintain and create affordable housing in Chicago.
- CCH works with the city of Chicago to increase resources for homeless shelters to $3 million.
- CCH helps pass the first national legislative response to homelessness, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act.
- The Youth Committee brings pressure on the state of Illinois, resulting in the funding of the first five shelters serving homeless youth.
- CCH lobbies the State of Illinois to increase resources for homeless programs to $1.6 million.
- CCH works with the governor’s office to convene the first ever Governor’s Task Force on Homeless Youth in Illinois and releases a report indicating that there are more than 21,000 homeless youth in Illinois.
- CCH helps found the Illinois Coalition for the Homeless.
- CCH hires its first Executive Director and establishes its first independent headquarters.
- CCH initiates the Interfaith Council for the Homeless to organize Chicago’s faith-based community to respond to the crisis of homelessness by developing religious-based resources for homeless people.
- CCH founds the Homeless Youth Committee in response to the murder of a homeless youth in the Uptown community of Chicago.
- CCH hosts the founding convention in Chicago to establish the National Coalition for the Homeless.
- CCH publishes “When You Don’t Have Anything,” a report that develops an alternative definition for homelessness.
- CCH was legally incorporated on September 10, 1982.
- Under Mayor Jane Byrne’s administration, CCH presses for and wins the first-ever city-funded shelter for homeless people in Chicago.
- In response to the growing numbers of homeless people in the city of Chicago, Catholic Charities, Traveler’s and Immigrant’s Aid, along with a host of other major service providers, establishes the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH).