March 1 – Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is very concerned about the Loop Alliance’s addition of private, armed guards to the streets. Panhandling is a lawful activity and targeting people who are homeless for panhandling violates the First Amendment right to free speech and the Illinois Bill of Rights for the Homeless Act.
We know from our work that people experiencing homelessness experience high levels of harassment from both Chicago Police and other security personnel. They often are given tickets for “aggressive panhandling,” even when they are doing nothing wrong, as a form of harassment and a way to discourage them from being in an area. Moreover, we are very concerned about whether these or any armed guards are properly trained to understand the complexities of homelessness and engage with someone that may be dealing with trauma or mental health issues.
The fact that there are people in the Loop that are experiencing homelessness should lead to a discussion to how we collectively solve homelessness. The Loop Alliance has not reached out to CCH about their decision to hire armed security guards. Had they, we would have told them we disagree with the decision, and we believe that they should put the time and resources they are spending on that response into supporting and advocating for the permanent housing people experiencing homelessness need. That is the only true solution to homelessness.
When most people hear the word “homeless,” a very specific image comes to mind, and it’s not pretty. But as Liz Waite, a 24-year-old undergraduate student at Cal State Long Beach points out, “the visible homeless, those on the street and who are mentally ill, are just the tip of the iceberg.” With a parent addicted to opioids, she left home at age 18 and spent six years couchsurfing, until May of 2017. “I was unmoored, staying at other people’s homes. It was really hard, excruciatingly difficult.
“You can’t judge a person’s socio-economic position by their clothes,” she says. “Designer clothes don’t mean anything.” Nice clothes cost less than a meal when purchased second-hand. However, Waite learned that dressing well can be a detriment. When heading to the welfare office in a vintage dress, her mentor stopped her, saying, “You can’t walk in there looking like Audrey Hepburn and expect to get help. You have to look the part.” She laughs, “It’s not good for your PR as a poor person [to dress nice].” People tend to see things superficially, she points out. “If you see a middle-class person driving down the street in a nice car, it doesn’t mean they are not drowning in debt. People are very biased creatures.”
While Cal State Long Beach doesn’t supply clothing to needy students, it does have a food pantry and occasional student group-sponsored collections for professional attire. “We should probably start working on a clothing pantry,” says Waite. “And handing out laundry cards as well. There are times you can’t afford laundry and have to hand-wash your clothes in the sink. It takes a lot of effort and time.” Continue reading Racked: Homeless Doesn’t Always Look the Way You Might Think
Kudos to Jordan Uhl! The Washington, D.C. journalist mobilized 80 donors via Twitter, promising to do the #OneChipChallenge if they raised $2,000 for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
In six days, the campaign raised $2,585. It culminated with Jordan eating “the world’s hottest chip,” Paqui’s Carolina Reaper Madness, in a live Twitter stream on Wednesday evening.
With more than 82,000 followers on Twitter, Jordan is an editor at AmpliFire News and a co-host of Think Twice Podcast. He created a CrowdRise fundraising page to raise money for CCH and encouraged his social media followers to donate. They liked and shared his tweets to spread the word, gaining donor attention and nearly 100 new Twitter followers for CCH.
In one of a series of tweets encouraging people to donate, Jordan said, “…@ChiHomeless is doing lifesaving work to make their lives better. Start 2018 off right by making a donation to help their cause!” That tweet alone received 298 retweets and 529 likes.
While live streaming his #OneChipChallenge to over 9,000 viewers, Jordan explained his inspiration to fundraise for CCH.
“They do lifesaving work in Chicago, with how windy it is, how cold it gets there, I think about the homeless population, this is a lifesaving organization,” said Jordan.
To preserve its independent voice, CCH does not accept government funding. Many thanks to Jordan for this one-of-a-kind fundraiser and to all the people who donated to help Chicago’s homeless community. Your collective generosity advances our mission to prevent and end homelessness.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is proud to be the official charity partner for Riot Fest Chicago, for the sixth year in a row. The three-day music festival and carnival will holdits 12th Chicago extravaganza this Friday through Sunday, Sept. 18 – 20, in Chicago’s Douglas Park, at Roosevelt Road and California Avenue. Continue reading CCH continues Riot Fest partnership this weekend