On Feb. 17, Gov. JB Pritzker released his proposed $41.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022. To help balance the budget, the governor called for closing an estimated $932 million in what he’s calling “corporate loopholes.” On this episode of The CloutCast, we examine the loopholes, the governor’s pitch for closing them and reactions to the proposal. Guests include the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association president Mark Denzler and Niya Kelly from the Responsible Budget Coalition, who offer their perspectives on the governor’s proposed budget and call to change some of the state’s tax laws.
With great sadness, CCH learned of the passing of grassroots leader, Law Project client, and beloved community member Carol Aldape. Carol’s spirit and legacy were honored by our staff and other community members at a virtual memorial service in February.
By Jacqueline Altamirano Marin, Program Associate, Vera Institute of Justice Destiny Carter, Policy Specialist, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Nelson Gonzalez, Grassroots Leader, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
On January 13, the Illinois General Assembly unanimously passed the Public Housing Access Bill as part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus agenda. By passing this legislation, Illinois became the first state in the nation to remove long-standing barriers that have prevented many people with criminal convictions from living in public housing.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) has always agreed with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s assertion that a budget is a moral document and reveals our values. We applaud the governor’s leadership and support his efforts to close corporate tax loopholes and move forward with a plan to decouple our state tax code. We believe this is a step in the right direction.
We recognize the challenges posed by the current budgetary constraints due to the pandemic, the missed opportunity to pass a progressive income tax, and ongoing budgetary difficulties. But CCH believes that in these unprecedented times, we need to ensure that those who are most in need are provided with the proper supports. Flat operational spending does not account for inflation or the rise in the number of individuals accessing social services. We are on the precipice of a housing crisis, and we have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that people in need of housing supports have access to these services.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students who normally get free or reduced-price meals at school may be eligible for a program to help your family buy groceries. This program is called Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT).
For each day that K-12 schoolchildren lack access to an in-school lunch, P-EBT provides eligible families with $6.82 in benefits per student, per day. These benefits are provided on a card that can be used like a debit card to purchase food at any grocery store that accepts LINK cards. Benefits will be issued starting in March but they will be retroactive to the start of the 2020-2021 school year(August/September); benefits will go through the end of the school year.
CCH Executive Director Doug Schenkelberg submitted the following op-ed to Crain’s Chicago Business, published February 4, 2021.
The city is bracing itself for extreme weather, with the temperature predicted to drop into negative digits for a number of days. During cold snaps like this, many eyes turn toward our unhoused neighbors. This year, homelessness is a crisis within a crisis – the pandemic – and it has people and institutions pivoting to add resources to protect people experiencing homelessness from this life-threatening cold, as it should. But when the cold abates and shifts back to more moderate winter temperatures, those resources will recede, and success will be measured by how few people were physically harmed rather than how many people are no longer homeless.
The coronavirus pandemic has made the situation more dire for people experiencing homelessness. Shelters had to reduce capacity, many people have lost jobs and housing and fewer people are out and about to offer help.
By Colin Boyle
CHICAGO — An Arctic blast will hit Chicago this weekend, bringing with it dangerous cold — and people who are homeless are particularly at risk.
Chicagoans should call 3-1-1 if they need weather-related assistance in frigid winter weather, including access to homeless shelters or city warming centers.
Six neighborhood warming centers, listed below, are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays whenever temperatures go below 32 degrees. All residents can find safe refuge and relief from extreme cold weather at these locations.
Englewood Community Service Center 1140 West 79th Street
Garfield Community Service Center 10 South Kedzie Avenue
Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center 4314 South Cottage Grove
North Area Community Service Center 845 West Wilson Avenue
South Chicago Community Service Center 8650 South Commercial Avenue
Trina Davila Community Service Center 4312 West North Avenue
By Sophie Babcock, Associate Board Vice President, Events
In partnership with The Collective Yoga Cooperative, the CCH Associate Board will host a Month of Mindfulness this February, featuring a series of virtual yoga classes taught by instructors around the country, with all proceeds benefitting CCH.
The month-long event will feature both live and pre-recorded classes, with a variety of registration options. Participants can choose to register for one, three, five, or all seven live classes, a 5-pack of pre-recorded classes through The Collective Yoga Cooperative’s online yoga portal, or all live and pre-recorded classes.
When Tony Winters saw city human services workers approach a small homeless encampment in Chicago’s lower street levels east of Michigan Avenue, he crossed the street from his makeshift home to meet them.