CCH awards college scholarships to six first-year students, celebrates seven recent graduates

Six Chicago area high school graduates have won a CCH college scholarship to support them in their higher education journeys. They were celebrated at a luncheon with CCH staff, selection committee members, and limited guests on July 28. 

CCH’s annual award of $3,500 is renewable for up to five years as students work to complete a bachelor’s or associate degree. All first-year winners also received new laptops, made possible with a grant from long-time partner, The Osa Foundation.

Twenty undergraduate students will be supported by the CCH college scholarship program during the 2022 – 2023 school year, including six first-years, six sophomores, three juniors, and five seniors. They are attending colleges and universities in California, Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Georgia and Washington, D.C.

Continue reading CCH awards college scholarships to six first-year students, celebrates seven recent graduates

Remembering grassroots leader Edrika Fulford

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of CCH grassroots leader Edrika Fulford. Edrika was an extraordinary advocate for ending homelessness as well as a cherished friend and community member.

CCH extends our love and condolences to Edrika’s family, friends, and the many people who love her.

During her time at CCH, Edrika was an active member of our Speakers Bureau, a core leader with the Bring Chicago Home campaign, and a founding member of the Mutual Aid Governance Committee. She was active with the Horizons creative writing program, both as a participant and emcee of last year’s virtual event. She was proud to have joined CCH staff as an Outreach Assistant in the Organizing Department in the weeks before her passing.

Edrika brought immense passion and resolve to all that she did as a leader and advocate, whether speaking at rallies, testifying at press conferences, officiating events, or providing interviews with the media. She will be deeply missed and forever part of CCH’s mission and legacy.

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CCH advocacy leads to passage of three bills, increased funding for housing programs

By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation

During this successful legislative session, CCH policy and organizing staff, alongside our grassroots leaders, worked on various initiatives to remove barriers for people experiencing homelessness.

Shared advocacy and organizing in Springfield resulted in increased funding for housing programs in the FY23 state budget as well as the passage of HB 5265, HB 4242, and HB 2775, bills that will support K-12 students, increase access to child care, and ban source of income discrimination for renters.

Continue reading CCH advocacy leads to passage of three bills, increased funding for housing programs

Climb for a cause on April 16

photo of a person on a climbing wall. Words on the image read: CCH on the Rocks, April 16, 2022. Brooklyn Boulders, Lincoln Park."

The Associate Board of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless will once again host an afternoon of indoor rock climbing at the Brooklyn Boulders at the Lincoln Park location (2121 N. Clybourn). 

The event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 16.  Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased here. $20 of each ticket goes to support CCH’s mission to prevent and end homelessness.

Included with the ticket is an instructional demonstration by the venue staff and all the necessary gear for the climb. Guests are welcome to bring their own beverages to be consumed after the climb. This event happens rain or shine because it is indoors!

CCH’s Associate Board has been active since 2008, staging fundraising events to support CCH’s mission and spreading awareness of the work that CCH does.  Anyone interested in learning more about how to become involved with the efforts of the Associate Board is welcome to contact the membership co-chairs through this interest form.  

Springfield advocacy: CCH’s 2022 state legislative agenda

By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation

This year the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is advocating for several statewide measures that would remove barriers for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. CCH policy and organizing staff, along with our grassroots leaders, are leading efforts to pass four bills that will impact students experiencing homelessness, extremely low-income families and children, and people using rental assistance or housing vouchers.

CCH is advocating for the following legislation: 

HB 5265: Financial Equity in Education for Students (FEES)

Illinois school districts are permitted to charge students and their families annual mandatory fees. Fees can include textbooks, instructional materials, and school activities. These fees can add up quickly, putting a strain on low-income parents and guardians who are trying to make ends meet. Fortunately, public school students experiencing homelessness or whose families are classified as low-income have access to fee waivers. Charter schools are obligated to waive fees for students who are experiencing homelessness under the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act but are not required to waive fees for low-income students and their families. 

HB 5265 will create parity between students at public schools and charter schools to ensure students and families living in poverty are not burdened by financial barriers to their educations. 

Continue reading Springfield advocacy: CCH’s 2022 state legislative agenda

Learn about our recent victories in our 2021 Annual Report

CCH grassroots leaders and staff, clad in bright yellow CCH t-shirts, standing with fists raised in front of the Illinois state capitol building. Text includes the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo and the words 2021 Annual Report.

We are grateful for the strong coalition of people with lived experience, community members, direct-service and advocacy organizations, institutional partners, donors, and volunteers who are working every single day to prevent and end homelessness.

Five blocks in a row. Block 1: Photo of a young woman wearing a hijab, standing, speaking to a Black woman in a trucker hat, seated. Block 2: Blue square that reads: 3,000 people who experienced homelessness were reached by our community organizers and legal aid attorneys. Block 3: photo of a white man speaking to a crowd with a bullhorn. The man is wearing a yellow t-shirt with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo. Block 4: Blue square that reads: 408 legal aid cases were closed by the Law Project, representing 319 clients. Block 5: two young women with brown hair from behind, seated in front of a laptop.

Strong community support contributed to CCH’s many accomplishments over the last year. Read more about our shared victories during Calendar Year 2021 in our annual report.

Blue box with white letters: Read our annual report now

Have a cannabis conviction in Illinois? You may be eligible for expungement. 

By Arturo Hernandez, Senior Attorney 

By now, many people are probably aware that recreational cannabis use is legal in Illinois. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) legalized the use of recreational cannabis beginning January 1, 2020. The Act also established new ways for people with cannabis-related records to clear their records and work in the cannabis industry.  

New Leaf Illinois logo with quote from client: "I was so apprehensive about my future because of my legal record. But after talking with New Leaf, I got the info and motivation to move forward	 and put it behind me.” – New Leaf Client.

Cannabis Expungement 

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless provides free legal representation to those wishing to expunge their records as a proud partner in New Leaf Illinois.   

New Leaf Illinois is a statewide network of legal aid organizations that provide services to assist individuals with expunging their cannabis records and other legal services.  

For questions about expunging cannabis records or to see if you may be eligible, visit the New Leaf Illinois website or call the New Leaf Illinois hotline at (855) 963-9532.

Continue reading Have a cannabis conviction in Illinois? You may be eligible for expungement. 

CCH’s 2021 state legislative agenda, explained

This spring the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is advocating for a number of statewide measures in Springfield that would help remove barriers for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness. CCH policy and organizing staff, along with our grassroots leaders, are currently leading efforts to pass three bills that will impact college students experiencing homelessness, extremely low-income families and children, and people with criminal legal system involvement, including returning citizens.   

CCH is advocating for the following legislation:  

SB190: College accessibility for students experiencing homelessness 

A study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago found that 29% of young adults experiencing homelessness are enrolled in college or another educational program.  

SB190 would create a HOUSE (Housing and Opportunities that are Useful for Students’ Excellence) liaison at Illinois colleges and universities to provide support and resources to students experiencing homelessness. The bill also requires institutions that have on-campus housing to prioritize placement for homeless students, including during school breaks. 

  • Sponsors: Sen. Glowiak Hilton (chief sponsor), Sen. Pacione-Zayas, Sen. Bennet, Sen. Peters (chief co-sponsors) 
  • SB190 Fact Sheet 

Continue reading CCH’s 2021 state legislative agenda, explained

Annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial: Remembering Chicagoans who died while homeless in 2020

On December 15, more than 250 advocates and community members gathered virtually to honor and remember Chicagoans who died this year while experiencing homelessness.

Now in its 11th year, the 2020 vigil was live-streamed from Old Saint Patrick’s Church, with both live and pre-recorded elements integrated throughout the presentation. 

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State moratorium on evictions extended through January 9, with modifications

By Samuel Carlson, Manager of Research and Outreach 

Gov. Pritzker is extending a revised eviction moratorium into the New Year.  

Since March 2020, Illinois has had a moratorium (or freeze) on most eviction case filings across the state. The revised moratorium still allows Illinois landlords to evict their tenants, but it provides clarity on who is protected. The new moratorium applies until at least January 9, 2021.  

Continue reading State moratorium on evictions extended through January 9, with modifications