Statewide eviction moratorium extended through September 19, yet threat of increased homelessness remains

By Samuel Carlson, Research and Outreach Manager

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker issued an Executive Order that extends the Illinois eviction moratorium through September 19, 2020.

This means Illinois landlords cannot file eviction cases and a Sheriff cannot enforce eviction actions during this time.

In Cook County, limited exceptions exist only in cases where a tenant “poses a direct threat to the health and safety” of other tenants or an “immediate and severe risk to property” (First Municipal District, Extending General Order 2020-23).

At least half a million Illinois households could be at risk of eviction–a crisis disproportionately impacting Black tenants. In Chicago, landlords evict tenants far more often in majority Black neighborhoods, per recent data collected by the U.S. Census. Black and Latinx tenants are also more likely to have an eviction case result in their eviction Continue reading Statewide eviction moratorium extended through September 19, yet threat of increased homelessness remains

CCH provides 2020 Census outreach, advocates for complete count of people experiencing homelessness

Updated August 11

Have you filled out your census form yet? If not, you have until September 30 to make sure you are counted! Responding early is encouraged to avoid a follow-up visit from a U.S. Census worker.

Every person living in the country should be counted, no matter their Census 2020: People experiencing homelessness count too!housing status. 

Yet people experiencing homelessness are often undercounted, depriving many of fair political representation and access to vital resources.

Over the past year, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless provided extensive outreach to help ensure Illinoisans living in shelters, on the street, and doubled-up are represented in the 2020 Census. CCH is one of 42 organizations across the state partnering with Forefront’s IL Count Me In 2020 initiative, which aims to support a fair and accurate count among historically undercounted communities Continue reading CCH provides 2020 Census outreach, advocates for complete count of people experiencing homelessness

U.S. Census modifies procedures, deadlines for counting people experiencing homelessness

Updated August 11

To ensure the health and safety of the public, the U.S. Census Bureau is modifying some of its census operations in the wake of COVID-19.

Here’s what you need to know.

The deadline to respond to the census has been extended from July 31 to September 30. But households are still strongly encouraged to respond early to minimize the need for follow up visits from a census official.

Are you living in a house or apartment or staying doubled-up at the home of a friend or relative?

(Unchanged)

  • Every household has been sent multiple mailings from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions on how to participate.
  • You can complete the census online, over the phone, or by mail.
  • Visit my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 to participate. (Para español haga clic aquí o llame al 844-468-2020). Language support is available in 60 languages.
  • Every person living in the house should be counted, including family and friends who are residing temporarily or couch surfing.
  • If you are living doubled-up and were not included on your household’s form for any reason, you can still be counted! Anyone may self-respond online or over the phone. A census ID number is not needed.

Are you living in a shelter?

(New dates)

  • Counting people at service-based locations (shelters, soup kitchens) has been delayed. The count will now take place between September 22 and 24.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau is connecting directly with providers and stakeholders to determine the best way to safely and accurately conduct the count amid public health concerns.

Are you living on the street or in an encampment?

(New dates)

  • The count at non-sheltered outdoor locations, such as tent encampments and underpasses, has been delayed.
  • The count will happen between September 23 and 24.

People experiencing homelessness that have access to a phone or computer are encouraged to self-respond.

  • People that are homeless do not have to wait for the service-based enumeration process to be counted.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau has a process to eliminate duplicates if someone self-responds and is later counted at a shelter or on the street.

All people experiencing homelessness can complete a census form online or over the phone. This linked guide provides step by step instructions on how to respond online if you are homeless.

Don’t have access to a phone or computer? Most Chicago Public Library locations have reopened. Visit your local library and ask a staffer for assistance.

CCH’s outreach activities are on pause, but you still can help us ensure all Illinoisans are counted in the 2020 Census, no matter their housing status:

  • Share this blog post on social media.
  • Email our revised 2020 Census fact sheet, palm card, and poster to your networks. These documents, designed by CCH, were updated to reflect the U.S. Census Bureau’s modified operations.
  • Encourage your friends and family to complete the census online, over the phone, or by mail. Be sure to fill out your own form, too!
  • Check out the U.S. Census Bureau’s official 2020 Census page for more information.

Questions about the census counting those who are homeless?

Contact Gloria Davis, CCH Census 2020 Project Manager, at gloria@chicagohomeless.org or (312) 641-4140.

– Erin Sindewald, Development Manager

 

 

Make sure you’re counted in the 2020 census – here’s how

March marks the start of the 2020 Census and CCH is committed to supporting a fair and complete count among Illinoisans experiencing homelessness.

The census counts every single person living in the United States. Everyone counts no matter their housing status, income, age, race, or country of origin. The census happens once every 10 years, so it’s critical to get it right.

Whether you are permanently housed or living on the street, in a shelter, or doubled-up with family or friends, you should be counted!

What’s at stake

Counting every person matters because census data impacts access to important programs and resources in your community:

  • Population counts are used to determine how $675 billion in federal funding is distributed.
  • Without an accurate count, Illinois could lose funding for schools, hospitals, roads and important programs like Medicaid, SNAP, and Section 8 housing vouchers.

The census also determines how much representation you have in Congress:

  • Undercounting leads to homeless individuals and families not being fairly represented in policy-making decisions.
  • When you’re not counted, your community is denied a full voice.
How to get counted in 2020

The census runs from March 12 through July 31. When completing the census form, you’ll note where you are living on April 1.

Are you living in a house or apartment or staying doubled-up at the home of a friend or relative?
  • Between March 12 and March 20, every home will receive a mailing from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions on how to participate.
  • You can complete the census online, over the phone, or by mail.
  • Every person living in the house should be counted, including family and friends who are residing temporarily or couch surfing.
  • Respond by April 30 to avoid a home visit from a census official.
Are you living in a shelter, on the street, or in a car?
  • Census workers will visit service-based locations (shelters, soup kitchens) to record responses between March 30 and April 1.
  • Non-sheltered outdoor locations such as encampments and underpasses will be counted on April 1.
  • If you are living in a shelter or receive services in the community, talk to staff to confirm when their location will be counted to make sure you’re not missed.
You can still be counted if:
  • You are living doubled-up and were not included on your household’s form for any reason
  • You started staying at a shelter after April 1 and missed the visit from a census worker
  • You are living on the street and a census worker did not find you on April 1

People experiencing homelessness who were not counted through the methods above can still complete a census form online or over the phone. Don’t have access to a computer or phone? Visit your local library and ask a staffer for assistance.

Help us make sure all Illinoisans are counted in the 2020 Census, no matter their housing status:

Questions about the census counting those who are homeless? Contact Gloria Davis, CCH’s Census 2020 Project Manager, or call her at (312) 641-4140.

– Erin Sindewald, Media 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CCH champions a complete census count

With the 2020 Census almost here, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is helping ensure that homeless children, youth, and adults across Illinois are counted. This includes offering new CCH outreach materials aimed at informing those experiencing homelessness.

As one of 42 partner organizations with Forefront’s IL Count Me In 2020 program, CCH is providing outreach and education to support a fair and accurate count among hard-to-count communities.

Our message? People experiencing homelessness count, too!

As part of this initiative, CCH organizers and attorneys are providing census education at shelters, schools, drop-in centers, and events across Chicago in the months leading up to Census Day on April 1, 2020. This includes targeted outreach to homeless families, students, unaccompanied youth, and single adults; promoting the census to shelter providers; and distributing outreach materials. Between now and March 2020, we anticipate educating about 750 homeless people and 850 service providers as well as distributing more than 7,000 census-related handouts.

Our focus? To emphasize why a complete count is critical and inform people how to participate if they’re homeless.

“I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that our people step up and are counted,” said Gloria Davis, CCH’s Census 2020 project manager. “Past undercounting of people who are homeless is one of the reasons we have such a shortage of services for our community. We are hoping to change that.”

The U.S. Census Bureau invites most households to respond through the mail, but the process looks different for those without a permanent roof over their heads. To make sure this hard-to-count group isn’t overlooked, CCH staff designed census outreach materials tailored specifically for people experiencing homelessness.

A fact sheet covers all the basics — what the census is, when it’s happening, and why it matters. It also outlines the steps a homeless person can take to make sure they’re counted, whether they are living in a shelter, on the street, or doubled-up with a friend or relative.

Two other new pieces of outreach material — a poster as well as a palm card — provide a similar census overview for people experiencing homelessness.

Help us make sure all Illinoisans are counted in the 2020 Census, no matter their housing status:

Questions about the census? Contact Gloria Davis, Census 2020 Project Manager, at gloria@chicagohomeless.org or (312) 641-4140.

– Erin Sindewald, Development Manager

Skender Foundation raises $43,000 for Youth Futures at Harvesting Hope fundraiser

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is grateful to have been chosen as the beneficiary for Skender Foundation’s 8th annual Harvesting Hope fundraiser. More than 300 people attended the October 17 event at Venue West in the West Loop, raising $43,000 for CCH’s Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic.

(From left to right) Associate Legal Director Beth Malik and CCH Executive Director Doug Schenkelberg with Skender Foundation Executive Director Belinda Moore and Builders’ Board members.

Organized by Skender Foundation’s Builders’ Board, Harvesting Hope seeks to encourage the spirit of giving among young professionals looking to create positive change in Chicago. The Builders’ Board is comprised of young professionals across various industries and career stages. Members give back to their communities through leadership development, fundraising, and volunteerism. The board presented its check to Youth Futures on Nov. 14.

The mission of Skender Foundation is to create access to resources and relationships that help people make good life decisions through greater education and wellness. Founded in 2012 as a 501(c)3 public foundation, Skender Foundation has donated more than $5.6 million to over 300 nonprofits in Chicago. Previous beneficiaries of Harvesting Hope include Purple Asparagus, Snow City Arts, and Embarc Chicago.

Associate Legal Director Beth Malik addresses the crowd.

“Youth Futures provides critical and life-changing legal services to homeless young people to put them on the path toward safety, stability, and independence,” said Associate Legal Director Beth Malik, in her remarks at Harvesting Hope.

“We would not be able to do this work without the generous support of organizations like Skender and the Builders’ Board. Over 11,000 youth experience homelessness each year in Chicago. By supporting Youth Futures tonight, you are lifting up these young people, and letting them know that they are seen, that they are supported, and that they matter.”

CCH Board and staff members at Harvesting Hope, from left, Maxica Williams, Christy Savellano, Mary Frances Charlton, Doug Schenkelberg, Erin Sindewald, Patricia Nix-Hodes, Beth Malik, Alyssa Phillips, and Charles Jenkins.

During FY19, Youth Futures outreached to more than 4,000 homeless and unaccompanied youths at schools, shelters, drop-in centers, and community events, educating them on their rights and available resources. CCH attorneys closed 501 cases on behalf of 315 youth clients, helping homeless students turned away by their public schools and representing young people struggling to access Medicaid and health care.

Generous support from partners like Skender Foundation make it possible for Youth Futures to continue to support homeless and unaccompanied youth navigate pressing legal issues, including access to education, health care, and housing.

– Erin Sindewald, Development Manager

CCH recognizes community partners at 2019 Victory Celebration

Working alongside coalition partners, legislators, and community allies, this year CCH secured many victories to increase resources and remove barriers for people experiencing homelessness in Illinois.

From strengthening the Homelessness Prevention grant program to upholding the rights of people living on the street, 2019 has been a year with progress to celebrate.

On Thursday, November 7, CCH honored community and political leaders who made this year’s successes possible. Continue reading CCH recognizes community partners at 2019 Victory Celebration

Alex finds her voice

Helped by a scholarship from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, this fall Alexandria Bolling starts her freshman year at Howard University, her dream school. Alex is studying to become a teacher, another dream she has held for as long as she can remember.

But her journey has not been easy.

Originally from southeast Louisiana, Alex’s parents split when she was four, leaving her mother to raise Alex, her twin sister, and two brothers on her own. Soon after, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the family’s apartment and most of their belongings. They bounced around relatives’ homes until her mother could get them back on their feet.

“My mom was always socially conscious and demanded the best of ourselves,” Alex recalled. “She taught us to have a voice of our own.” But Alex was shy, more observant: “I liked to hear what other people had to say.”

When she was 14, Alex made the difficult choice to leave home, moving north to Evanston for better educational opportunities. Money was tight – she stayed with an aunt and seven younger cousins – but the change in academic environment proved beneficial.

It was at her new school that Alex began to speak up, and her passion for social justice was ignited. Class discussions around social issues were encouraged: “I learned what it means to fight for what’s right.” She joined the Debate Team, serving as captain her senior year.

“Debate opened my world to who I could be when advocating for others,” Alex said. She competed around the country, championing mock legislation to support youth programs. She spearheaded a group for classmates of color to share their experiences. She participated in a school walkout against gun violence.

But the summer before her junior year, financial challenges caused her aunt to be evicted from their Evanston home. Alex was forced to double-up with relatives on the far South Side of Chicago. Her commute to school topped three hours round trip, involving two buses and a train. This took away valuable study time and made getting to school on time challenging. She lost friends and her grades suffered.

“Homelessness broke my confidence,” Alex said. “It took a toll on me emotionally. I struggled to keep up a level of scholarship that I felt I was capable of.”

Despite these challenges, Alex persevered. She continued to make the honor roll. She participated in Evanston Scholars, a college readiness program. She worked as a counselor for a camp serving homeless children. And after years of struggle, she is proud to be attending an historically black university, like her mother did.

“Homelessness doesn’t have to keep you from succeeding,” she said. But support is crucial.

Alex credits her mother and her Evanston Scholars mentor for their guidance, as well as a teacher that showed empathy for her situation. “When I came to class really late, instead of scolding me, she got me caught up right away,” said Alex. “She prioritized my success and education over my tardiness.”

As a future educator, Alex seeks to do the same.

“There’s more to education than the textbooks and history lessons,” she said. “It’s a community inside a classroom.”

And her wish for her future students? “I want them to find happiness and peace, no matter what they’re going through.”

– Story by Erin Sindewald

– Photos by Claire Sloss

Support Youth Futures at Skender Foundation’s Oct. 17 fall fundraiser

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is grateful to have been chosen as the beneficiary for Skender Foundation’s 8th annual Harvesting Hope fundraiser. Proceeds from the event will support CCH’s Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic.

Harvesting Hope will take place on Thursday, October 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Venue West in the West Loop. Styled as a cocktail reception, tickets are $75 and entitle guests to an evening of delicious food and drink, music spun by a live DJ, a silent auction, and various games and prizes. Continue reading Support Youth Futures at Skender Foundation’s Oct. 17 fall fundraiser

Kudos to ReaderLink and its employees for generous support

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is thrilled to be the recipient of a generous donation of $11,148 from ReaderLink, a wholesale book distributor headquartered in Oak Brook.

“This contribution from ReaderLink was a most welcome surprise,” said Michael Nameche, director of development. “We are inspired by the collective generosity of ReaderLink’s employees and support of our mission to prevent and end homelessness. On behalf of all the men, women, and children we serve, thank you for your support of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.”

The donation was made through ReaderLink Cares, a community engagement initiative launched in December. The initiative allows ReaderLink employees to determine where corporate philanthropic dollars are donated by voting for the organizations that are most important to them.

In addition, staffers have the opportunity to give back further through an employee giving campaign for chosen charities. As part of the 2018 year-end campaign, CCH received a $10,000 corporate gift, plus an additional $1,148 gift donated directly by employees.

“ReaderLink is deeply committed to the alleviation of extreme poverty,” said ReaderLink President and CEO, Dennis Abboud. “We are proud to partner with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to improve awareness and access for affected persons within our community.”

Through a combination of corporate and employee giving, ReaderLink recently donated over $140,000 to 18 nonprofit organizations across six regions where it has offices and distribution centers. CCH was one of three Chicago area non-profits to receive support through this campaign. ReaderLink employs about 300 full-time employees at its Oak Brook and Romeoville locations.

To preserve our independent voice, CCH does not accept government funding. Our work to prevent and end homelessness is only possible thanks to generous support from individuals, foundations, and businesses. We are grateful to partner with those who share our commitment to housing as human right in a just society.

– Erin Sindewald, Media