April 27, 2019
NPR Illinois: The fight over what it means to be homeless — and how that could affect Illinois
By Lee V. Gaines
Just because someone has four walls around them every night, that doesn’t mean they’re housed. That’s what Paul Hamann believes. He’s the president and CEO of the Night Ministry, a Chicago-based non-profit that provides shelter and healthcare services to the homeless.
Hamann said he knows young people who sleep at friends’ homes every night. They’re able to take a shower, and they go to school the next day.
… More than 50,000 students in Illinois were classified as homeless during the 2016-17 school year, according to data from the National Center for Homeless Education. Of those 50,000 students, 83% lived doubled up, about 5% lived in hotels or motels, and fewer than 1% lived unsheltered. Nationally, there were more than 1.3 million homeless students identified by their school districts during the 2016-17 school year, and more than three-quarters of them shared housing with others, according to data from NCHE.
Patricia Nix-Hodes director of the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said her agency identified more than 80,000 homeless individuals living in Chicago during 2016 — and 80% of them lived doubled up.
“They’re excluded from housing resources for homeless individuals because they’re not considered homeless by HUD even though they are considered homeless by other federal definitions,” Nix-Hodes said.
“So it just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t reflect the reality of how people experience homelessness in Illinois and nationally…
April 23, 2019
Block Club Chicago: Alderman’s removal of SW Side homeless encampment dubbed ‘heartless, but he says critics don’t live there.
By Mauricio Peña
BACK OF THE YARDS — Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) is defending the removal of a homeless encampment in Back of the Yards (outside his 15th Ward), after a Facebook post publicizing the removal efforts was criticized as being “heartless” and promoting a “war on the homeless.”
… “These sweeps are harmful, they’re counterproductive and you cannot expect to build trust with people and offer services when (people connecting them to services) come out during these types of sweeps,” CCH Community Lawyer Diane O’Connell said. “It’s dehumanizing and wrong.”
April 17, 2019
Chicago Reader: A chronic problem
By John Greenfield
… Smoky el cars and other homeless-related quality of life issues on the CTA reflect Chicago’s larger problems.
April 10, 2019
Illinois News Network: Progressive income tax plan clears first hurdle
By Greg Bishop
… Niya Kelly, state legislative director for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, spoke in support of the progressive tax during the Senate committee. She said it will give (other) organizations certainty in providing services for the homeless.
“And not have to answer the cruel question of what other things we’ll have to cut in order not to provide them stability,” Kelly said.
April 9, 2019
Chicago Tribune: Questions about how the city homeless shelters handle people with disabilities go unanswered
By Rex Huppke, columnist
There are some well-documented concerns about whether the city of Chicago’s homeless shelters are properly equipped to accommodate homeless people with disabilities.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago woman who claims she was turned away from several shelters because she has rheumatoid arthritis that prevents her from climbing stairs and carrying her own bags….
So I decided to ask the appropriate city office — the Department of Family and Support Services — a series of questions unrelated to the aforementioned lawsuit… Cristina Villarreal, the department’s director of communications, would only answer one question fully — No. 2, the one about shelters that are ADA compliant. In an email back, she wrote: “The city has 5 ADA compliant Shelters across the city and other shelters make reasonable accommodations for residents.”
… I’m just asking city officials to answer some questions and be transparent about how they work with people who constitute a large percentage of Chicago’s homeless population.
If those officials don’t want to answer, or if they want to hide behind a broad interpretation of the “we don’t comment on pending litigation” excuse, that’s up to them.
But I’m going to keep asking the questions. Something tells me there are plenty more to come.
April 5, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times: ‘The Public’ movie examines role libraries play in serving the homeless
By Tony Closson
… For those social workers and librarians, some of whom were present at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless-sponsored screening, Estevez said he wants the film to bring attention to the large responsibilities often placed solely on them.