Editor’s Note: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has signed on to the following letter, sent July 13 to Timothy C. Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and to E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., presiding judge of the First Municipal District Court Civil Division.
The letter was submitted on behalf of the Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE), a coalition of healthcare and emergency shelter providers responding to the COVID–19 pandemic among those most vulnerable to the virus.
Subject: General Order 2020-12 Procedures for Civil Division Matters
Seven students awarded $14,000 college scholarships by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless this June are new high school graduates who live in Chicago, Joliet, and Tinley Park.
CCH offers a renewable scholarship to students who succeeded in school while coping with homelessness. Twenty-one students will be assisted next school year, including five sophomores, five juniors, and four seniors.
A generous donation given in memory of the late Jill L. Meinzer has allowed the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to increase its four-year college scholarship awards, to $3,500 a year.
Jill’s family gave a $30,000 gift in her name in spring 2019. By early 2020, Jill’s family had made gifts to eight youth-serving programs, including a second substantial gift to the CCH college scholarship program.
The following letter was delivered this week to Dr. Janice Jackson, CEO, and other leadership at the Chicago Public Schools, including its office of Students in Temporary Living Situations. This letter also was delivered to officials in the mayor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. The parents group is seeking meetings with CPS and state education leaders.
We are a committee of parents and grandparents with lived experience of homelessness who have children and grandchildren enrolled in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We are writing because we have many concerns for the summer of 2020 and the 2020-2021 school year. These past few months with schools closed were extremely challenging and disorienting for our children. Our children and other students experiencing homelessness will need robust and compassionate supports to successfully navigate the new school year. This letter addresses our specific concerns and asks that CPS and its Students in Temporary Living Situations office (STLS) implement certain supports for students experiencing homelessness. Continue reading CPS Focus Group parents and grandparents write public officials with concerns about summer school, resuming fall classes
We welcomed Brandon Marks to our community organizing staff this month. We asked Brandon to introduce himself.
I am beyond excited to join the staff of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless as the Fair Tax State Organizer. My work will focus on supporting and expanding the Homeless Prevention State Network in northern Illinois, with the primary goal of passing the Fair Tax ballot initiative in November.
Group At Center of Efforts to Protect the Homeless From Disease Favors Robust Expenditure on “Shield Housing” for Population at “High Risk” of Infection; Part of Multi-Point Recommendations Outlined in New Report by Team Coordinating Health Care For Homeless People
The city of Chicago’s proposed investment in housing to curb the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness falls $5 million short of the amount recommended by a group of public health experts focused on protecting that vulnerable population, according to a new report released Thursday.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is among over 650 advocacy organizations from over 60 countries that joined with families of black Americans killed by police to demand the United Nations Human Rights Council investigate escalating police violence and repression of protests in the U.S.
GENEVA — In an unprecedented move, the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile, together with over 650 rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Human Rights Network, are demanding the United Nations Human Rights Council swiftly convene a special session to investigate the escalating situation of police violence and repression of protests in the United States. Additional signatories include Black Lives Matter and the NAACP.
“Mamie Till Mobley made a decision to open the casket of her son Emmett Till so the world could see the atrocities Black people faced in America. I want people across the world and the leaders in the United Nations to see the video of my brother George Floyd, to listen to his cry for help, and I want them to answer his cry,” said Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd. “I appeal to the United Nations to help him. Help me. Help us. Help Black men and women in America.” Continue reading Families, rights groups demand the U.N. investigate U.S. police killings and protest suppression
We could not leave unanswered letters published recently in regional newspapers by State Rep. John Cabello (Machesney Park), State Sen. Brian Stewart (Freeport), a group of Republican state senators, and the Fraternal Order of Police (Chicago Lodge 7). Each letter represents a public act of violence against returning citizens like us.
Publicizing the names of people released from incarceration due to the pandemic, then painting everyone as a repeat offender or exploiting tragic loss of life, exemplifies a system that demonizes people with records.
With our lived experience, we want readers to understand the odds stacked against us. For generations, Black and Brown individuals have been set up for a life of poverty. People of color are disproportionately incarcerated, often enter the system with substance and mental health issues, and do not receive adequate resources during or after incarceration.
Our society prioritizes punishment over healing. After completing our sentences, we are never treated as full members of society. We are prosecuted in the court of public opinion. Every sentence becomes a life sentence.
We advocate for people to receive a fair opportunity to thrive after incarceration. As one of our grassroots leaders put it:
“It’s been three decades, yet I still face barriers to this day. A lot of us don’t get the chance to be seen past our record. It’s letters like these that build up that shame many of us have inside and keep us from moving forward.”
Submitted by the Reentry Leaders Committee at the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI)
RROCI is a partnership of the Reentry Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, Cabrini-Green Legal Aid, and Heartland Alliance.
What Chicago is experiencing in this moment is the result of white supremacy and systemic racism. We saw it as the pandemic took hold, and we see it as police officers continue to murder Black members of the community.
Where does someone experiencing homelessness go when the city institutes a curfew? How do they access essential needs like food and medical care when the city shuts down public transportation? Where do students and families experiencing homelessness find food when Chicago Public Schools (CPS) shut down food distribution?
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ grassroots leaders, staff, and board stand in solidarity with those protesting in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. The protests are about more than these three tragedies. These protests are about a long history of violence and injustice that has been actively ignored by those with the power to change racist systems and policies.
In this moment, we demand the following actions be taken:
Reverse the decision to shut down food distribution at CPS schools so that impoverished families and their children have access to the food they need to survive.
Fully reopen Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) lines so that people, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness, can access services, food, and shelter.
Stop any and all sweeps at encampments that are not specifically requested by people living there and ensure no people experiencing homelessness are harassed due to their housing status.
Invest in real housing to serve the close to 80,000 people in our city who are living on the streets, in shelters, and doubled-up. This action includes:
Using CARES Act funding to create rapid rehousing that will serve as a bridge to permanent housing with supportive services.
Create real, dedicated funding at scale in Chicago for permanent housing with supportive services.
As an organization, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless will provide financial and personal support to our peers leading this movement. In addition, our white staff commit to showing up and following the lead of leaders of color as we push for systemic change.