Meeting with mothers at a family shelter

To help people who are coping with homelessness, CCH community organizers offer outreach at shelters, street programs, and single-room occupancy (SRO) facilities.

Each month, four field organizers – Keith Freeman, Rachel Ramirez, Wayne Richard, and organizing interns – offer outreach at 35 facilities serving families, youths and adults across Chicago, including programs serving Spanish-speaking families, youth and adults.

Senior Organizer Jim Picchetti also mobilizes the State Network, organizing service providers in 14 suburban and downstate communities — Aurora, Belvidere, Bolingbrook, Evanston, Joliet, Maywood, Naperville, Poplar Grove, Rockford, Romeoville, Springfield, Waukegan, West Chicago and Zion.

A Speakers Bureau with 15 homeless leaders talks to school, civic and religious groups about their experiences with homelessness. They reach an audience of about 4,000 people a year. In 2016-17, the Bureau mobilized 209 high school and college students to advocate with city and state officials.

In other outreach, Youth Attorney Beth Malik runs a mobile legal aid clinic that makes 20 monthly stops at neighborhood programs serving unaccompanied youth in Chicago. She is assisted by two staff attorneys, one focused on youth health issues. Outreach sites include the Broadway Youth Center, Center on Halsted, La Casa Norte, Teen Living Programs, the Crib overnight youth shelter, and legal clinics held at twice a month at Chicago Public high schools.

During outreach sessions, CCH staff offer practical information. This includes telling parents about a homeless child’s right to free transportation to school, or informing low-income older youth and adults of eligibility to apply for health care through Medicaid.

Through outreach, CCH involves homeless youth, parents and single adults in advocacy campaigns that create access and economic opportunities for people living in extreme poverty. These campaigns include Fight for $15, which pushes to raise the hourly pay for minimum-wage and fast food workers.

For more information, contact Associate Executive Director Jim Field at (312) 641-4140.