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.
Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) said his volunteers cleared “unnecessary debris” from the Irving Park Blue Line station underpass — even though it was clearly someone’s belongings.
By Bob Chiarito
IRVING PARK — Northwest Side Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) is coming under fire from several constituents after praising his supporters for clearing “unnecessary debris” from near the Irving Park Blue Line stop.
They weren’t throwing away garbage. They were throwing away blankets and food that belonged to a man experiencing homelessness.
A federal judge has permanently banned Illinois’ panhandling law from being enforced on the basis the statute violates the First Amendment. The case was part of a yearlong effort by advocates including the American Civil Liberties Union and Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) to eliminate such laws.
A federal district court judge in Chicago struck down a state law prohibiting panhandling in public streets and medians and ordered Illinois State Police not to enforce it. The ruling ends a lawsuit by two men experiencing homelessness who challenged the law. Michael Dumiak and Christopher Simmons sued after they were repeatedly ticketed and fined for asking passing motorists for help at a suburban Chicago intersection, while charities and religious groups collected donations at the same location without consequence.