Your calls are needed! Bring Chicago Home delayed by aldermen hiding behind parliamentary procedure

Today, for a second time this week, an aldermanic opponent of the Bring Chicago Home campaign attempted to halt our proposal by using a rare parliamentary procedure. The legislation that the Bring Chicago Home coalition introduced must be referred to a City Council committee by the Rules Committee.

The Rules Committee met Monday and today, but recessed both meetings after aldermen who oppose the resolution called to end the meetings for lack of a quorum, or a majority of the committee – a procedure seldom used by the City Council.

Continue reading Your calls are needed! Bring Chicago Home delayed by aldermen hiding behind parliamentary procedure

CCH welcomes Development Manager Erin Sindewald

Erin Sindewald has joined our staff as Development Manager. We asked Erin to introduce herself.

Erin Sindewald

I am thrilled for the opportunity to work alongside CCH’s passionate staff, partners, and advocates to support housing as a human right.

Early in my career I worked as a case manager at a housing organization, tasked with helping homeless men, women, and families navigate complex and unjust systems. Through this experience, I witnessed countless institutional barriers that made securing and maintaining a safe and affordable place to live incredibly difficult, and often insurmountable.

We as a society must do better. Continue reading CCH welcomes Development Manager Erin Sindewald

Voting: How people experiencing homelessness can register to vote

Updated Nov. 5

By Niya Kelly, State Legislative Director

Illinois residents who are homeless have the right to vote in the state and national election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, even if they are not yet registered to vote. The 2018 election will decide many key offices, including governor, state legislators, and U.S. House members.

If you live on the street, in shelters, or doubled-up in the homes of others, you are considered homeless.

You can check online to see if you’re registered:

Continue reading Voting: How people experiencing homelessness can register to vote

Response to Mayor Emanuel’s comments on our proposal to dramatically reduce homelessness in Chicago

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he opposed a measure introduced in City Council that would raise Chicago’s one-time Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) on the sale of properties valued at more than $1 million to fund programs that would dramatically reduce homelessness in Chicago. Under the proposal, Chicago’s electorate would have an opportunity to vote for this plan as a referendum question on the February 2019 ballot for city elections.  

In response to the Mayor’s statement, the Bring Chicago Home campaign issued the following statement: 

We’re disappointed that Mayor Emanuel rejected an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for the good of Chicago by allowing city voters to act on their desire to combat homelessness. Polls show voters already think alleviating homelessness should be a higher priority for the city, and the urgency to act is only going to escalate if city leaders continue to let the problem languish.

Chicago’s spending on homelessness remains dead-last on a per-capita basis compared to the 10 cities with the largest homeless populations – and next-to-last on the amount of funding per-homeless-person. That’s a troubling record that must change with the next mayor.

This campaign is only beginning, and with the support of more than 30 aldermen – and with public-opinion polling showing that more than two-thirds of city voters favor our solution to the plight of homelessness in Chicago – we’re determined to build on our strengths.

‘Bring Chicago Home’ would end the homelessness that impacts too many in Chicago


Proposed Funding Mechanism Resonates With Voters, According to Poll, Would Shrink Homeless Population by Nearly 36,000 in 10 Years

With more than 80,000 Chicagoans grappling with homelessness – nearly a quarter of them children struggling to stay in school – a broad coalition of policy advocates, elected officials, and community groups embarked today on a campaign to combat the problem, introducing a proposal that the bulk of the city’s likely voters are prepared to support, public opinion research shows.

The Bring Chicago Home campaign will be announced at a 9:30 a.m. press conference today on the second floor of City Hall.

More than three-fourths of likely voters believe the city needs to redouble efforts to combat homelessness – and two-thirds favor a one-time tax on properties sold for $1 million or more to do it – according to a poll conducted for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). Those findings provide an impetus for a City Council measure being introduced October 31 that would seek voter permission to supplement funding for homelessness-relief by instilling a modicum of progressivity into city’s flat tax on real estate sales.

Under the funding formula, Chicago’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) would increase by 1.2 percentage points on properties sold for $1 million or more – a threshold that would not affect 95% of all property owners, based on the average volume of transactions recorded annually. The concept garnered support from 66% of respondents in an April 2018 poll of likely city voters, conducted for CCH by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.

Continue reading ‘Bring Chicago Home’ would end the homelessness that impacts too many in Chicago

CCH welcomes organizer Alyssa Rodriguez

Alyssa Rodriguez joined the staff this week, our new organizer in schools and the Latinx community. We asked Alyssa to tell us about herself.

Organizer Alyssa Rodriguez (Photo by Claire Sloss)

I was first introduced to organizing when I moved to Chicago to attend college. At that time, community organizations including STOP were fighting to open a trauma center on the South Side. I was pulled into the campaign by student organizers with Students for Health Equity (SHE).

My experience was both invigorating and eye-opening. Immediately, I realized that institutions were often resistant and hostile to social change. On the other hand, I learned that communities could mobilize into powerful coalitions to fight for health and racial justice.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles in a predominately low-income Latino community. My passion for social justice began when I first experienced homelessness at the age of 7. I witnessed firsthand how intersecting systems of inequality could leave my single mother without the means to support her four children. While I sometimes felt angry and isolated by my circumstances, I was inspired by my family’s resilience.

I recently graduated from the University of Chicago, where I majored in anthropology and race/ethnic studies. I’m excited to bring my organizing experiences and my knowledge to work with CCH. I have a lot to learn but I’m looking forward to meeting our partners and expanding CCH outreach in the homeless community.

Now recruiting Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle runners

CCH is proud to be a 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon associate charity again for the race on October 13, 2019. We are now recruiting our next Team to End Homelessness, offering a limited number of guaranteed entries to the race.

Runners will be required to set a $1,250 minimum fundraising goal, to be raised online in conjunction with their race training. Continue reading Now recruiting Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle runners

Gloria cares enough to fight

You wouldn’t be the first person to ask Gloria Davis why she works so hard and for so long as a community leader at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

“Advocating for change,” she explains, “helped change my life.”

Gloria volunteers with the Reentry Project at CCH. She speaks out on behalf of people with criminal records, people trying to rebuild their lives in the community – the same tough position she was in just five years ago. Continue reading Gloria cares enough to fight

Speakers Bureau kicks off a new year in schools and the community

This fall the Speakers Bureau welcomed several new community leaders into the program, now with 16 speakers. Our team reaches about 4,000 people every year, with more than 75 speaking events at schools, congregations and civic groups across the Chicago area.

Our Speakers Bureau team

Our team gathered for the annual Speakers Bureau Retreat on August 22. We engaged in team-building activities and enjoyed time together to kick off the new school year.

There have already been several events this school year. We are excited to branch out into more communities and reach more students.

Recently, at an engagement hosted by Resurrection University, an audience member said, “It is so important for us working in healthcare to hear real life experiences from real people. I will never forget these stories as I work in the field of nursing.”

Continue reading Speakers Bureau kicks off a new year in schools and the community

Service providers meet with CCH organizers to discuss work into 2019

Providers’ Lunch at St. Leonard’s Ministries, in a discussion led by Organizer Bisma Shoukat (Photos by Claudia Cabrera)

Staff representing 14 homeless service providers participated in the CCH community organizing staff’s fall provider’s lunch, where they discussed initiatives underway locally and in Springfield.

Hosted by St. Leonard’s Ministries, the lunch is one of three held through the year to involve providers in advocacy led by CCH and its homeless leaders, some of whom receive services from these providers.

At the Sept. 20 lunch, providers heard from Maxica Williams, a formerly homeless mother active at CCH since meeting organizer Keith Freeman during his outreach at Madonna House. This included Maxica’s legislative testimony that helped win the first increase in a decade to Illinois families assisted by Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF).

Maxica Williams

“Seeing the growth in these leaders encourages providers to stay involved,” Keith explained.

Providers learned about local CCH initiatives that seek increased financial support of key programs, including homeless prevention grants for households, said Associate Organizing Director Jim Picchetti. They also discussed the calendar cycle for setting the state budget and ways that providers can help in 2019, such as in-district meetings with legislators.

Associate Organizing Director Jim Picchetti

Chicago-based service providers participating were Breakthrough Ministries, Catholic Charities’ Madonna House, Christian Community Health Center, Cornerstone Community Outreach, Franciscan Outreach, Matthew House, North Side Housing & Supportive Services, Olive Branch Mission, Salvation Army/Booth Lodge, Single Room Housing Assistance Corp. (SRHAC), and St. Leonard’s Ministries.

Suburban providers attending were Hesed House of Aurora, Housing Forward of Maywood/Oak Park, and Love Fellowship Baptist Church of Romeoville.

– Anne Bowhay, Media