CCH 2023 Annual Report


CCH 2022 Annual Report


CCH 2021 Annual Report


CCH 2020 Annual Report


CCH 2019 Annual Report


CCH 2018 Annual Report


CCH 2017 Annual Report

Family housing: Our signature campaign, HomeWorks, persuaded the city of Chicago to pilot a housing program called Housing Support for CPS Families in Transition (FIT). It offers permanent housing and support services for 100 of the most vulnerable homeless families at six high-need elementary schools. This marks the first time that doubled-up families are eligible for Chicago-funded housing. As proposed, the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund covers 100 rent subsidies (using funds CCH helped free from escrow) and the city’s Airbnb tax will fund $1.8 million in supportive services (from a 4% tax CCH helped enact in June 2016). CCH assists with implementation this school year, informing many of the 265 families identified as homeless by the six FIT schools and organizing parents to advocate on issues identified by participating families. CCH began a two-year study with UChicago Urban Labs on the impact of FIT permanent housing on family and student stability. HomeWorks partner CSH and Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services assist in the study. This fall, New Moms and Inner Voice joined HomeWorks, for a total of 10 family housing providers as campaign partners.

Chicago homeless count: CCH developed a new analysis tool using census data to assess the size of Chicago’s homeless population. Released during an April press conference announcing the FIT housing program, our study shows 82,212 Chicagoans were homeless in 2015, with 82% percent living doubled-up. Covered by seven media outlets including the Chicago Sun-Times, WBBM-TV, WTTW and WBEZ Public Radio, families helped CCH show the difficulty of being doubled-up, with frequent moves and often overcrowded conditions.

Homeless youth legislation: CCH enacted its three-bill homeless youth initiative, “Three Steps Home.” Policy and organizing staff mobilized support from 38 agencies on CCH’s Youth Committee and 148 youth leaders. The first lets unaccompanied 16- and 17-year-olds live in licensed transitional housing. The second, written by a CCH youth health attorney, allows youth ages 12 – 17 to get eight counseling sessions without requiring parent/guardian approval, an otherwise significant difficulty for unaccompanied youth. But Gov. Rauner made an amendatory veto of the third measure, the College Hunger bill, which would allow vocational-track community college students to be eligible for SNAP food assistance. The governor said he opposed requiring a state agency to help implement the change. Working with Heartland Alliance and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, we reintroduced it in the fall veto session, where it passed the Senate. In November, the Illinois Department of Human Services adopted rules that conform to the bill, allowing low-income community college students to apply for SNAP effective January 1.  It’s projected up to 40,000 students could be assisted.

State budget advocacy: A lead partner in the Responsible Budget Coalition, CCH brought 550 leaders on 12 trips to Springfield. We also sought public pressure via the media, organizing 89 homeless leaders to march on the governor’s Winnetka mansion in May. Based on FY15 numbers, the enacted budget reasonably funds homeless programs: It cut homeless youth funding by 5% for FY18 and supportive housing by 1.8%. Emergency and transitional housing was uncut. Homeless prevention grants to households increased 24%, up $975,000, from $4 million.

Free birth certificates: CCH proposed successful measures to offer free birth records for homeless people in Cook County and statewide. Cook County Clerk David Orr championed both measures, with the Cook County change effective in April. State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) was lead sponsor of the state legislation that took effect January 1. A year earlier, CCH youth attorneys persuaded Mr. Orr’s staff to allow lawyers for unaccompanied minors to apply for clients’ birth records, instead of insisting on a parent/guardian’s signature. CCH covers the cost of birth records for clients, spending $4,188 for 203 clients in 2016.

Ex-offender housing: Our Reentry Project persuaded the Chicago and Cook County housing authorities in 2015 to pilot programs that allow 50 ex-offenders to access housing. Under local rules, ex-offenders used to wait at least five years before being allowed to rejoin family in public housing or their own units. Cook County placed 63 people by mid-2017 by allowing applicants to come in to explain a past record if their name was called from a waitlist, a policy change CCH had earlier advocated. Cook County further improved its practices by requiring only a three-year look-back on old records. The CHA placed only 15 people due to multiyear waitlists, so we worked with its CEO to award 35 vouchers in the fall.

Record-sealing: Bringing 110 reentry leaders to Springfield last spring, the Reentry Project helped pass a state bill to enact record-sealing for most felonies, three years after completion of sentence. Before, only nine felonies were eligible for sealing. The measure received bi-partisan support when passed in May. Gov. Rauner signed the bill in August, effective immediately. It offers relief to those in reentry who face years of discrimination because of an old record. Our advocacy was a collaborative effort with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Community Renewal Society and Heartland Alliance, our partners in the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI).

Legal aid: Five Law Project attorneys closed 551 cases in FY17, a year’s increase of 14% (66 cases); 91% of clients were students or youth and 66% of youth clients served by the Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic were unaccompanied. Another 8.7% (48) of cases were on behalf of clients living on the street. Our clients are all low- to no-income and diverse: 73.5% black, 13% Latino, 11.5% white, 2% other ethnicities; 12% LGBT; 15% have a diagnosed disability. The legal staff trained 2,221 youth-serving professionals and distributed 34,970 pieces of CCH-written outreach material. In a two-year collaboration, CCH convened a team with court officials that opened a Cook County homeless specialty court in May.

Mobile app for youth: Our Youth Futures staff co-designed and manages StreetLight Chicago, a free mobile app of resources for homeless youth. CCH hired a part-time content manager who assists in training 150 youth and 250 providers. New features developed this year included a desktop website for use by youth providers and a “Book a Bed” feature piloted at a La Casa Norte youth shelter. Upon reaching its one-year mark on Nov. 14, the app had 1,214 downloads.


View the 2016 Annual Report here.

The CCH Law Project and our Education Committee succeeded in persuading the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to adopt a strong homeless education policy in April. We spent 18 months advocating against watered-down CPS drafts, which if adopted, would have cut services and protections for almost 19,000 homeless students. This includes pushing CPS to drop a provision that would have barred students from appealing if denied enrollment or school services, which we contend is illegal under federal McKinney-Vento law. Education Committee parents and students testified at eight CPS Board meetings.

Youth Health Attorney Graham Bowman worked to develop a free mobile phone app for use by homeless youth in Chicago. Working with technical staff from the Young Invincibles, StreetLight Chicago launched on Nov. 14. The app provides youth with timely information while offering phone numbers for key resources and referrals, including youth shelters, health clinics, and drop-in centers.

With the promise of dedicated funding, our HomeWorks campaign advocated with aldermen to support the Airbnb ordinance enacted in June. The city’s 4% surcharge is projected to earn about $2 million yearly, with the funds to be dedicated to homeless services and housing needs.

The Reentry Project partners with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance on statewide issues. Together, we advocated four job-access bills signed into law this summer. The measures end lifetime hiring bans in schools, park districts and healthcare facilities. A reentry organizer mobilizes leaders at eight shelters and reentry programs, working with a policy specialist based in Springfield when the legislature is in session.

Our State Network co-founded the DuPage Homeless Alliance, working to reduce housing discrimination in west suburban Naperville. The coalition succeeded in persuaded Naperville’s City Council to vote 5-4 in October to ban landlords from discriminating against tenants who use government housing vouchers. Led by Senior Organizer Jim Picchetti, the network is active in 11 communities, including Aurora and Waukegan.

CCH brought 608 leaders to meet with 199 legislators on 11 trips to Springfield and six in-district meetings. Working with Housing Action Illinois, CCH secured legislative sponsors for bills (HB4955/SB2603) to release $274.7 million in already-collected funds held in housing accounts, including a Rental Housing Support Program and Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This funding mechanism was included the stop-gap funding bill, SB2038, enacted in June, which included use of $275 million in already-collected housing funds. Our work helped win funding at 76% of FY15 levels for homeless youth programs and 100% for homeless prevention grants and emergency and transitional housing.

Five CCH attorneys closed 495 cases for 405 clients in FY16, an increase in caseload (by 21.6%) and clients served (13.1%) from the prior year. Thirty-four percent of casework stemmed from the schools: 27 children and 78 teens were helped with enrollment, residency, fee waivers and access to special education, tutoring or transportation. Another 66 teens presented other legal needs at 21 clinics held at Chicago high schools. Fifty-eight percent of casework involved youth with other civil needs, including access to health care.

The Law Project runs outreach to people who live on the street, offering legal assistance and monitoring whether city crews comply with a 2015 agreement on cleaning “sweeps” in Uptown. After pressing city officials to provide housing alternatives for people living beneath Uptown viaducts, the city launched a pilot in the spring to house 75 people. We work with people as they negotiate placements and cope with a new round of weekly sweeps.

Field organizers ran monthly outreach at 30 shelters across Chicago, reaching 6,000 homeless adults. This includes bi-lingual outreach in four shelters for Spanish-speaking residents, and creative writing outreach in four family shelters. Youth attorneys reach 2,000 youths at shelters, drop-in centers, street venues, and Chicago public high schools.

During FY16, the Speakers Bureau’s 15 homeless leaders reached an audience of 4,696 people at 85 venues, usually hosted by school, university, and religious groups. It also organizes audiences that show interest in collaborating further: Our student teams mobilized 289 students from 10 high schools and four local colleges and universities.


View the 2015 Annual Report here.

Youth agencies were hard hit in the early years of the state budget crisis. This included a 32% funding cutback to homeless youth programs after FY 2007 and long delays in promised state payments. CCH mobilized providers on its Youth Committee to advocate for increases that over three years restored funding to $5.6 million by FY15. Gov. Rauner proposed to slash youth funding to $3.1 million (55%) in the FY 2016 budget, but CCH mobilized advocacy that later saw House Bill 4165 cut only $43,000 from homeless youth funding. Though no FY 2016 budget was enacted in 2015, the state sent summer contracts to youth providers that imposed the less than 1% cutback approved by the House.

With 16 advocacy days in Springfield in the spring session, CCH organizers trained and transported 463 people to Springfield – 388 youth and adult homeless leaders and 75 student and community/shelter leaders to advocate for youth and related funding issues. They traveled from Aurora, Bellwood, Bolingbrook, Champaign, Naperville, Palos Heights, Waukegan, Wheaton, and neighborhoods all over Chicago. Youth providers mobilized include Aunt Martha’s Youth Center, La Casa Norte, New Moms, Teen Living Programs, Unity Parenting and Counseling, Youth Service Bureau, 360 Youth Services and Wheaton Youth Outreach.

Youth Attorneys Beth Malik and Graham Bowman, assisted by another legal aid attorney, persuaded state officials to clarify Illinois policy regarding unaccompanied youth who seek Medicaid and public benefits. Announced in November, the policy makes clear that unaccompanied youth can apply on one’s own and do not need parental/guardian permission to be removed from a parent or guardian’s benefits. Our staff is helping educate providers, including plans to train 900 school-based health providers at state-hosted trainings in five cities in early 2016.

A lawsuit filed in Lake County challenged collecting funds for the Illinois Rental Housing Support Program. The CCH-proposed program has helped 2,400 low-income households a year over the past decade. CCH assisted in defending the program in court, working with other advocates to file an amicus brief. In May, after four years of litigation, a judge dismissed the suit. This will free up more than $33 million that’s been held in escrow. The Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust is expected to receive 40% of the released funds.

CCH was a partner in a six-group coalition that persuaded the Chicago City Council to strengthen its Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO). Adopted in March, the regulations govern what housing developers must do to provide affordable housing on projects that require a zoning change, a planned development designation, use of city land or a city subsidy. Though not fully in effect for 18 months from passage, it will increase the requirements and in-lieu of fees charged to developers that fail to set aside the required number of affordable housing units for low-wage households. Mayor Emanuel’s administration predicts the tougher ordinance will generate 1,200 housing units and $90 million in fees, half to be paid to the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s rent subsidy program. With partners, CCH gave input into which prospective ARO map is used to designate various developer fees in neighborhoods.

In January, CCH reached an out-of-court agreement with the city of Chicago in our two-year “city sweeps” case. It provides a fairer policy when city crews move out the belongings of homeless people who sleep on Lower Wacker Drive or under the Wilson Avenue viaduct. Co-counseled with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, CCH represented 17 people whose personal property was seized and destroyed. For our 16 surviving clients, the city promised priority services. Nine clients have secured housing since the case began, and one young woman completed drug treatment and enrolled in college. The agreement requires 24-hour notice before off-street cleaning, allowing people to avoid disposal of vital belongings. Confiscated items must be tagged, with seven days to reclaim possessions.

The Baker & McKenzie law firm asked to work with the Law Project to produce a resources guidebook for homeless youth in Illinois. Edited by CCH attorneys, we assisted 49 lawyers from Baker & McKenzie and United Airlines in writing content for the 17-chapter book. Homeless Youth Handbook: Legal Issues & Options follows guidebooks published in Minnesota and Washington. Released in January, it is available at www.homelessyouth.org The law firm assisted CCH in mailing 3,500 free copies to schools and youth service providers.


View the 2014 Annual Report here.

– Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) authored and advocated a change in state law so that unaccompanied minors can consent to their own non-emergency medical care from school and neighborhood clinics. Passed unanimously by the General Assembly, it became effective October 1 and is expected to help 7,000 Illinois youths a year. CCH proposed it after Chicago Public Schools and clinic officials told a youth attorney of being required to turn away minors younger than 18 – for easily treated needs such as strep throat – because the teens lacked a parent/guardian to sign a consent form.

– Sweet Home Chicago, managed by CCH, prodded the city of Chicago to increase funding for its TIF Purchase-Rehab program. After months of advocacy by our 10-group coalition, the Chicago City Council committed $35 million in the new five-year housing plan adopted in February. It was seven times what the city first proposed for the low-income rental housing rehab program, created through Sweet Home advocacy. City officials dedicated the program’s first building in October, restoring 26 apartments in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

– The Reentry Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless persuaded Chicago and Cook County housing authorities to adopt a pilot program it designed, allowing select ex-offenders to access housing. Cook County OK’d its program in August and the CHA Board adopted the pilot in November, following Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s endorsement last March. The pilots authorize several reentry providers, including St. Leonard’s Ministries, to certify up to 50 successful clients to rejoin their family in public or voucher housing in the next three years. Otherwise under local rules, ex-offenders must wait at least five years.

– CCH partnered in Chicago For All, advocating a new city ordinance to preserve single-room occupancy (SRO) housing, passed in November. Working with several Sweet Home Chicago partners, CCH helped secure City Council passage of an ordinance to control high-rent conversion of low-rent SRO units and residential men’s hotels. Led by ONE Northside, our coalition negotiated with aides from Mayor Emanuel’s office and largely antagonistic re-developers. We sought to stop the loss of SROs, with more than 2,200 SRO units lost in three years and another 6,000 units identified as at-risk. We will monitor the city’s oversight of any SRO building sales, which now require 180 days review and relocation assistance for any displaced tenants.

– CCH organizes the Concerned Providers, a group of 15 Chicago shelter providers that advocates for city shelters when key issues arise. Providers were hard hit by a $3.3 million cutback in pass-through HUD funds for supportive services, triggering FY15 closures impacting 4,000 homeless and at-risk clients. CCH wrote an October study detailing the impact, getting coverage in the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ – after which the mayor’s FY15 budget included $500,000 allocated to family engagements services.

– Ninety-seven percent of the 298 legal aid clients helped by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless in FY14 were children and youth. CCH attorneys represented 69 children and 77 teens on school access cases, and 142 youth with civil needs, including medical care. Two-thirds of youth were unaccompanied – throwaway teens and recent state wards who have no parent or guardian.


View the 2013 Annual Report here.

– CCH is among six lead groups that partnered on Keep Chicago Renting, led by the Albany Park Neighborhood Council. The city ordinance took effect in September 2013, protecting tenants who keep up their rents yet face sudden eviction after a lender forecloses on the building owner/landlord. Tenants forced to move must be paid $10,600 by the lender to cover relocation costs.

– Our public policy staff mobilized support for the Illinois Bill of Rights for the Homeless, signed into law in August. It bars discrimination and criminalization that’s based on a person’s housing status. Illinois became the second state in the nation – preceded by Rhode Island and followed by Connecticut – to enact such a measure.

– In the spring, through community organizing, legal pressure and media coverage by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown, CCH pushed the city to drop an ordinance that would have closed two cubicle hotels in Uptown and the South Loop. Even though both hotels were up-to-code, the 325 men who lived in the hotels faced the loss of the only home most of them can afford.

– Women survivors in our Survivor Advocacy Group Empowered (SAGE) secured legislative support for a new law that ends felony-level charges for prostitution in Illinois. Working with End Demand Illinois, CCH led Springfield-based advocacy that passed three earlier laws in three years. Those laws focus law enforcement efforts on traffickers and customers, with restorative measures for the women and teens who are prostituted and often homeless.

– Our Sweet Home Chicago Coalition advocates with Cook County Board leaders on creation of a county land bank. First, Policy Director Julie Dworkin and SWOP’s executive director were named to the advisory board that researched how to form a land bank to restore all types of vacant, foreclosed and tax delinquent property. By March, Ms. Dworkin was named to the land bank Board of Directors. It is taking about a year to hire a director and develop the policies and procedures for acquiring and disposing of property. Several Sweet Home partners spoke to the land bank board in June to relay concerns, such as the need to make affordable housing redevelopment a priority. CCH also designed a PowerPoint that explains the land bank and its potential, with Sweet Home partners showing it to community groups so that they are ready to participate in the program.

– CCH pushed to maintain funding for shelters, homeless prevention grants and homeless youth programs in the state’s FY14 budget. To build strength, CCH mobilizes youth and shelter providers from Chicago and the nine cities in our Statewide Network to develop relationships with their legislators via one-on-one meetings and site visits. We began by meeting with 15 key legislators to thank them for voting down a proposed 52 percent ($4.7 million) cutback to shelters in FY13. In the spring, we brought 250 shelter residents and providers to Springfield to talk to legislators. We also work with several allies, including Housing Action Illinois. State funding was maintained, with small increases ($300,000) to shelter and ($500,000) homeless youth funding.

– CCH worked with the Responsible Budget Coalition on the launch of a new campaign: A Better Illinois promotes moving to a graduated state income tax. CCH designed a short training that we and other advocates began showing this summer to community groups to explain the need.

– The Speakers Bureau’s 15 homeless leaders reached an audience of 3,965 people at 85 venues during FY13. The Bureau organizes audiences that show interest in collaborating: Our core teams helped get six meetings with legislators during the year. The Bureau mobilized 144 students from seven colleges/universities and seven Chicago high schools, plus eight members of a Lakeview church.

– In FY13, CCH attorneys represented 116 homeless children and 96 teens on school access cases. Unaccompanied youth, homeless and on their own, were represented by a youth attorney on another 68 cases. Together, they made up 97 percent of the Law Project’s 289 legal aid clients.

– CCH awards $2,000 renewable college scholarships to homeless students, funded by private donors. With six new recipients in June, CCH has assisted 39 homeless Chicago students with more than $150,000 to attend 21 schools, including Concordia, Knox and Lake Forest colleges, DePaul, and the University of Illinois-Chicago.


– 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 two buildings with 35 apartments in the West Side Ogden/Pulaski TIF district.

– In May, CCH persuaded legislators to drop a 52 percent 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 percent ($1.6 million) in yearly state funding cuts to homeless youth programs since FY08, securing $900,000 (28 percent) 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 with more than 40 organizations 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 percent to 50 percent of the units are dedicated to households earning 30 percent t0 50 percent 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 percent (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 extremely low- and moderate income 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 and community volunteers work with 15 homeless leaders to advocate more resources for struggling 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: Illinois allocated $3 million to help fund school services to homeless students in FY09. More than 22,000 students were served statewide with this first-ever state funding, with more than 10,600 homeless students in Chicago.

– CCH attorneys helped 112 students on school-related cases in the city and suburbs in FY08 (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 Youth 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 began 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 2008 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 CCH staff.


It Takes a Home to Raise a Child 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 and allies in the Grassroots Collaborative, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 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.

– Leaders in the Re-Entry Project and PART persuade state officials to enact “first offender probation,” called the SMART Act. This law allows judges to offer probation with rehab services to those charged with felony prostitution, a charge that was possible after two prior misdemeanors.


– CCH leaders work with the Grassroots Collaborative to 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? This report that looks at the number of people 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, three times the city’s last official count.

– CCH organizers mobilize 84 men living 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. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown wrote pivotal articles about the men and their successful self-advocacy, despite daunting odds.

– PART proposes and advocates for the Illinois Predator Accountability Act. This state law allows survivors to sue the people and organizations that trafficked them.

– Thirteen survivors active in our Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART) work with a documentary filmmaker to tell their stories in the one-hour film, Turning the Corner. PART survivors host a February premiere screening for 725 people at Northwestern University Law School.

– CCH persuades the governor’s office to double state funding of homeless prevention grants, a program created because of our advocacy. This $11 million will help 15,000 families a year.


It Takes a Home to Raise a Child passes legislation to create the Rental Housing Support program. Initially, it provides $30 million in rental subsidies to 5,500 families in Illinois that earn less than $20,000 a year, the largest state-funded rental subsidy in the U.S. The program is funded through a $10 state surcharge on real estate recordings. In later years, a reduced level of funding supports subsidies for 2,400 Illinois families.

– 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. Miloon Khotari, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on adequate housing, accepts our 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.

– Women’s Empowerment Project registers 2,100 people to vote.


– CCH’s Youth Committee and the Law Project passes legislation to amend the Illinois Emancipation of Mature Minors Act. It qualifies 16- and 17-year-olds who are unaccompanied (without parent or guardian) to provide their own consent to access services in transitional housing programs.

– CCH successfully advocates for $5 million in family homeless prevention funding. A state study shows 80 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 his tenant, a mother of six.


It Takes a Home to Raise a Child increases state funding for the Illinois Family Homelessness Prevention Program from $1 million to $4.5 million.

– 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 women 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 passes a Day Labor Ordinance through the Chicago City Council, regulating the industry that employs many homeless and at-risk adults.

– 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.


– From its 1999 lawsuit, the Law Project obtains a sweeping court order to force the Chicago Public Schools to serve homeless children, including a trained liaison working in every school and a new CPS office overseeing homeless education services.

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.


– “It Takes a Home to Raise a Child” campaign passes its first state legislation – securing $1 million to create the Family Homelessness Prevention Program to provide small emergency assistance grants to families at risk of homelessness. By FY13, the program will have helped more than 101,000 households.


– Working with other community organizations, CCH helps win 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 creates an average annual wage increase of $5,000 for about 10,000 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 It Takes a Home to Raise a Child, a housing campaign to create statewide programs to help homeless and at-risk programs.


– 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 stops, for awhile, the destruction of six other SRO buildings 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. With leadership centered in the Cabrini-Green housing complex, its mission is to protect the rights of public housing residents and to ensure the continued existence of public housing.

– CCH launches Growing Home. The independent non-profit offers job training in organic and urban farming, originally focused on job training for homeless people and unskilled workers.

– 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) subsidies from the city of Chicago set aside 20 percent of units for low-income people.

– Women’s Empowerment Project acquires a 24-unit building from the Chicago Abandoned Property Program (CAPP). A independent new non-profit, Brand New Beginnings, converts the South Side building in 2001 into transitional housing for homeless mothers with children.

– CCH activists succeed in closing a homeless shelter where male administrators sexually harass women. It is the first legal case in the nation requiring shelters to abide by the Fair Housing Act.


– CCH wins its 10-year Presidential Towers Campaign, with a commitment from HUD to provide 165 units for homeless families in the upscale, government-subsidized West Loop complex, and 1,014 project-based Section 8 certificates for low-income housing.

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 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, a first-of-its-kind report on homeless youth in Illinois. The report receives significant media attention and gives government officials a credible source of information on homeless youth.

– CCH researches and releases its report, Recommended Service Delivery System for Homeless Youth in Illinois.


– CCH creates the Youth Empowerment Project, 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 26 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.

– Through its high-profile Presidential Towers campaign, CCH wins the first funding ($1.6 million)d for rent subsidies to be offered by the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund.

– 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 shelters for homeless minors under age 18. Previously, only youth 18 and older could be sheltered.


– CCH works to establish the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund Commission. It will oversee funds to 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 successfully brings pressure on state officials to fund the first five shelters serving homeless youth in Illinois.


– 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. It releases a report that states there are more than 21,000 homeless youth in Illinois.


– CCH hires its first Executive Director and establishes its first independent headquarters.

– CCH starts the Interfaith Council for the Homeless, organizing Chicago’s faith-based community to respond to the crisis of homelessness by developing religious-based resources for homeless people.


– CCH launches its Youth Committee, organizing service providers and youth advocates in response to the murder of a homeless youth in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

– 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).