Homeless Memorial set for Tuesday, Dec. 19

For National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, a coalition of homeless service providers and advocates will host a candlelight vigil and memorial service to remember Chicagoans who died this year without a home.

As the nights get longer and colder, we remember that homelessness is a human struggle. Hundreds will join us for this moving service, a solemn reminder of those who have little to call their own.

Thirty-four people – 28 men and six women – were remembered, as well as “those whose names are known only to God.”

 

WHEN & WHERE:

Harmony, Hope & Healing sings at the 2016 memorial service.

Tuesday, December 19, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., at Old St. Pat’s Church, 700 W. Adams Street, Chicago (free of charge)

WHY:

An analysis of census data by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless showed 82,212 Chicagoans were homeless in 2015. Nationally, over the course of a year, 2.5 million to 3.5 million people experience homelessness.

ORGANIZED BY:

This event is affiliated with National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, one of more than 150 events across the U.S. organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless.

This Chicago service was first organized in 2010 by CCH, Ignation Spirituality Project, and Old St. Pat’s Church. Homeless attendees are offered a dinner prior to the service. The Homeless Memorial is now coordinated by these six Chicago organizations:

  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless advocates for and with homeless youth, families and adults, including a legal aid program serving the needs of students, youth and adults experiencing homelessness.
  • Franciscan Outreach  provides shelter, case management, shower facilities and laundry services to hundreds of men, women and children in the model of respect and dignity of St. Francis of Assisi.
  • Harmony, Hope & Healing provides creative, therapeutic and educational music programs, offering emotional and spiritual support to homeless and underserved women, men and children in the Chicago area.
  • Ignatian Spirituality Project works to end homelessness by providing Ignatian retreats to men and women who are homeless and in recovery.
  • Old St. Patrick’s Church extends hospitality to all that find the church on their path and to serve the life and work of the laity in the world.
  • New Moms enables, empowers and equips at-risk adolescent parents and their children through services and mentoring based on Christian values.

For more information, contact Associate Director of Community Organizing Wayne Richard.

HUD releases new Point-in-Time count of homelessness

By Julie Dworkin, Director of Policy

HUD released its annual Point-in-Time count today announcing that homelessness has increased nationally for the first time since 2010. Although Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) does not doubt that homelessness on the rise, we have always had serious concerns about the validity of the Point-in-Time count as an accurate reflection of trends in homelessness from year to year.

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty echoes these concerns in a report, also released today, “Don’t Count On It: How the HUD Point-In-Time Count Underestimates the Homelessness Crisis in America.” https://www.nlchp.org/documents/HUD-PIT-report2017 Among concerns cited in the report are the fact that one-night counts do not capture the transitory nature of homelessness, that people sleeping outside are often hidden from plain view, and that the Point-in-Time does not count people who are doubled-up with relatives or friends, or staying in jails or hospitals on the night of the count. Continue reading HUD releases new Point-in-Time count of homelessness

Welcome Policy Specialist Mercedes González

We asked new Policy Associate Mercedes González to introduce herself.

Mercedes González (Photo by Claire Sloss)

My interest in social justice stems from the issues I’ve seen my family struggle with firsthand.

As immigrants with low-wage jobs, my parents have faced homelessness more than once. Upon their arrival to the United States, they had little resources and were forced to double-up with family members. My parents were able to secure housing after a few months, but even then, our accommodations were inadequate. Heavy rains frequently inundated our home to the point where it was no longer habitable and we were forced to sleep on a mattress in the back of a U-Haul more than once. Needless to say, my family’s experience with homelessness drives my desire to assist those who face a similar uncertainty. Continue reading Welcome Policy Specialist Mercedes González

Thank you for a successful Giving Tuesday!

Many, many thanks for your generous support on Giving Tuesday, a global day of charitable giving held Nov. 28. This year, the Magnus Charitable Trust generously offered to match all donations made to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, dollar-for-dollar up to our goal of $10,000.

By day’s end we more than tripled that goal: 232 donors generously gave $34,668, including donations received through Facebook. An additional 22 donors gave $3,386 for Giving Tuesday in the hours before and after Nov. 28. One-third of our 254 donors gave a first-time gift to CCH. Continue reading Thank you for a successful Giving Tuesday!

CCH enacts ‘Three Steps Home’ legislative package for homeless and at-risk youth

Three bills to assist homeless youth — a CCH legislative package called Three Steps Home — have been enacted. All will take effect January 1, 2018.

Two measures were passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner. They will allow minors to access transitional housing as well as obtain counseling without requiring the consent of a parent or guardian.

A third measure, the College Hunger bill, faced an amendatory veto by the governor and was in the process of being reintroduced. But the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) instead adopted a rule change in November that will allow low-income vocational students at community colleges to apply for SNAP food benefits.

State Legislative Director Niya Kelly spearheaded advocacy by CCH, including support from the 38-agencies on its Youth Committee. Services to homeless and at-risk youth have often been limited due to their young age and vulnerable circumstances. Continue reading CCH enacts ‘Three Steps Home’ legislative package for homeless and at-risk youth

By Nov. 30: Join our Chicago Marathon ‘Team to End Homelessness’

CCH is proud to be an affiliate charity for the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 7, 2018. We are recruiting our next Team to End Homelessness, offering a limited number of guaranteed entries to the race.

The Chicago Marathon’s team sign-up deadline is Thursday, Nov. 30.

Runners will be required to set a $1,000 minimum fundraising goal, to be raised online in conjunction with their race training.

Continue reading By Nov. 30: Join our Chicago Marathon ‘Team to End Homelessness’

CCH honor educators, political leaders at 2017 victory celebration

By Mary Tarullo, Associate Director of Policy

Eugene Jones receives the John “Juancho” Donahue Award

Community leaders, board members, coalition partners, funders, donors, and staff of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless celebrated CCH victories tonight at a 2017 victory celebration at Chicago’s Grace Place.

CCH honored nine educators and political leaders crucial to making these accomplishments a reality. We also commended generous support from the Bridgeview Bank Group. Continue reading CCH honor educators, political leaders at 2017 victory celebration

StreetLight Chicago marks its 1st year: 1,214 downloads and a new desktop version

Today marks the first year of StreetLight Chicago! This free mobile app for homeless youth is a joint project of the Young Invincibles and the Youth Futures legal aid clinic at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, with generous support from the VNA Foundation.

StreetLight Chicago offers a database of resources for homeless and unaccompanied youth. The app provides youth with a centralized list of drop-in centers, shelters, health clinics, food pantries and services, including Youth Futures. Occasional push notifications are issued via the app when weather or program advisories are needed. Continue reading StreetLight Chicago marks its 1st year: 1,214 downloads and a new desktop version

Farewell to Associate Director of Organizing Hannah Willage

By Hannah Willage, Associate Director of Organizing

This week marks the end of my 10 years working for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless as I move on to work for Interfaith Youth Core.

I feel so grateful for the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with during my time at CCH. The leaders and staff have had a great impact on me. Together we have been able to create change. We have learned together, grown together, and educated the community and people in power together. Continue reading Farewell to Associate Director of Organizing Hannah Willage