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)
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.
By Samuel Carlson, Manager of Research and Outreach
As of November 14, Illinois landlords can begin filing eviction cases unless tenants provide a written statement that they should be protected by the COVID-19 eviction moratorium.
Since March 2020, Gov. Pritzker has put a moratorium (or freeze) on most eviction case filings in Illinois. A new executive order extends the moratorium another 30 days, but with fewer protections that will make it easier for Illinois landlords to evict their tenants. These changes apply until at least December 12.
As schools continue operating remotely, many homeless students are facing even more barriers to education than they did before the pandemic.VICE interviewed CCH grassroots leader Elizabeth Maldonado and her four children about their experience with remote learning from an Englewood shelter.
Most nights, people fight and scream outside the small room where Elizabeth Maldonado and her four children sleep—or try to, at least—at a homeless shelter in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Maldonado’s 15-year-old daughter, in particular, fears that if she closes her eyes, someone will burst through the door.
It’s no wonder, then, that her kids—ages 17, 15, 12, and 9—often don’t log on to their virtual classes come morning, Maldonado said. They’re exhausted.
By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation
COVID-19 Related Voting Procedures
Due to the pandemic, individuals are encouraged to vote early or by mail to minimize crowds and long waits on Election Day. Those who request vote-by-mail ballots have options for how to drop them off. Local Boards of Election throughout Illinois are setting up secure ballot drop boxes for those who would prefer not to mail in their ballots. Voters can visit this portal on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website to find their nearest ballot drop box location. Chicago drop box locations can be found here.
PLEASE NOTE: Drop boxes will NOT be available at your precinct polling place on Election Day. If you bring a ballot there, you’ll have to surrender the vote-by-mail ballot and vote a new ballot in person.
In Chicago, voters can also drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at every Early Voting Site beginning October 14, or return their ballots directly to the Chicago Board of Elections at 69 W. Washington on the sixth floor. And of course, vote-by-mail ballots can also be returned in the mail, but must be postmarked by November 3, Election Day. An informational palm card is available here.
Remote learning begins Tuesday for nearly 400,000 students at Chicago Public Schools. But the fall semester may prove to be an extra challenge for the district’s homeless population — an estimated 16,500 students who rely on schools for Internet access and other resources.
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).
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is on a mission to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are counted in the 2020 Census by increasing awareness that housing status does not bar census participation. Gloria Davis, CCH’s Census 2020 project manager, is leading outreach efforts with unhoused populations, despite COVID-19.
Her work at CCH is “trying to find a way to have [the census] be a fair and accurate count—because it really hasn’t been for us,” said Davis.