Streets Blog Chicago: Homeless coalition hopes CTA security plan won’t “criminalize” unhoused people on the ‘L’

By Amber Drea

Unarmed CTA security guards on the Jackson Blue Line platform. Photo: John Greenfield Last Wednesday Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with the heads of the Chicago Police Department and the CTA, announced at a press conference that police resources would be shifted from the Bureau of Counterterrorism to the ‘L’ system in order to address the spike in violent crime on transit during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many Chicagoans have been experiencing economic and mental health crises. The deployed officers (asked how many, police chief David Brown simply said replied, “As much as we need to send to the CTA to make it safe,”) will focus on the 24-hour Red and Blue lines, using data to target high-crime stops with an emphasis on preventing gang- and drug-related violence.

Continue reading Streets Blog Chicago: Homeless coalition hopes CTA security plan won’t “criminalize” unhoused people on the ‘L’

Take Action for Illinois Families

The Illinois House Appropriations-Human Services Committee will vote on HB4423 this Thursday, February 24 at 8 a.m.

HB4423 would support families living in extreme poverty by increasing the cash assistance families receive each month. This increase would ensure families are able to meet their basic needs including paying rent, purchasing clothing, hygiene products, and maintaining transportation. This legislation would also ensure that when a noncustodial parent pays child support that the money goes directly to the family. Currently, the state and federal government are given a portion of the child support payment.

Please file a witness slip on behalf of your organization or yourself to indicate your support for an increase in the TANF Cash Grant amount and ensure that child support payments go directly to the child.

How to fill out the online witness slip: 

  1. Go to this link.
  2. If you can file a slip on behalf of your organization, include your organization name under “Representation.” If you do not represent a firm or organization, please write “NA” in the Firm/Business Or Agency and Title fields and “Self” under Representation. 
  3. To indicate your support of the bill, please click “Proponent.”
  4. Under Testimony, select “Record of Appearance Only.”
  5. Agree to the Terms of Agreement and click on the “Create(Slip)” button.

Bill that would create parity for charter school students moves forward with bipartisan support

UPDATE: Thanks to the shared advocacy of our community, Facilitating Equity in Education for Students (FEES) (House Bill 5265) was moved out of committee with unanimous, bipartisan support on February 16. Sixty-five people submitted witness slips as proponents of the bill.

Representative Will Guzzardi, CCH Grassroots Leader and Board Member Maxica Williams, and CCH Education Attorney Alyssa Phillips testified at the hearing. CCH is grateful to be one step closer to ensuring every student in Illinois has access to a free and comprehensive education.  

Read our fact sheet on HB5265 here.

Photo of grassroots leader April Harris, smiling from her neck up. April is quoted: “Waivers at charter
schools prevent students from falling through the cracks and help students stay focused on their academics and not their current situation. It is important for students to feel that they matter and that they’re not forgotten during difficult times.”
Grassroots Leader and Outreach Assistant April Harris

Continue reading Bill that would create parity for charter school students moves forward with bipartisan support

Policy Intern

Applications are being accepted March 1-March 30, 2022 for fall academic year internships running from Aug/Sept 2022 through May/June 2023.

Position can be all remote, but preference will be given to candidates who can attend occasional in-person meetings and events.

Description

The policy intern conducts research in areas of housing and homelessness and collaborates with CCH staff to develop policy campaigns. Areas of advocacy include housing, employment, criminal justice, and youth homelessness.

About CCH

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness – lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services, and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders who have experienced homelessness to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values – collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist in research, tracking, analysis, and communication of relevant state and local policy issues, legislation, and regulations;
  • Produce written materials necessary to develop and implement policy initiatives;
  • Support CCH staff in state and local policy development, communications, and administrative duties, as assigned;
  • Perform survey research and data analysis around homelessness in Chicago and Illinois;
  • Participate in task force meetings and other organized efforts with coalition groups working toward ending homelessness;
  • Support CCH staff in coordinating meetings with elected officials and candidates
  • Support coalition building efforts
  • Collaborate with all CCH departments—CCH believes strongly in interdepartmental collaboration and expects all staff to work in close partnership with the other departments at the organization.

Qualifications/Skills

  • Entry level position
  • Demonstrated oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and racial equity
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and manage projects
  • Demonstrated interest in policy/advocacy work to address poverty/homelessness

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to policyintern@chicagohomeless.org


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.

People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status.

Staff Attorney

Job Description

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is seeking a mid-level Staff Attorney to join our Law Project team to advocate for people experiencing homelessness in Illinois through both direct representation and policy advocacy in the areas of civil rights and public benefits and to work to advance racial equity. 

Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

About CCH  

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 42-year-old systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness – lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders who have experienced homelessness to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values – collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose. 

Job Responsibilities  

  • Provide civil legal services to people experiencing homelessness. Areas of focus include civil rights and public benefits, including Social Security hearings.  Other areas of law may include access to identification documents, housing and criminal law. 
  • Conduct regular legal clinics and community outreach to unsheltered communities and through the Law Project’s Youth Futures Mobile Legal Clinic at various shelters and drop-in centers, schools, health centers and other community locations serving youth ages 14-24.  
  • Participate in the Law Project’s impact litigation to address systemic issues and barriers to people experiencing homelessness, including civil rights cases. 
  • Participate in local and state-level coalitions and campaigns to promote policies and laws to protect the rights of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness and to reduce barriers to accessing health care and public benefits for homeless youth and adults.  
  • Assist Law Project staff on other projects as needed.   
  • Develop and conduct trainings for attorneys and other professionals on civil rights, public benefits, health care and other legal rights of people experiencing homelessness. 
  • Collaborate with the Law Project’s Public Benefits Specialist in public benefits cases. 
  • Supervision of law student and social work student interns, possible future supervision opportunities 
  • Work in collaboration with all CCH departments—CCH believes strongly in interdepartmental collaboration and expects all staff to work in close partnership with the other departments at the organization. 

Qualifications/Skills  

Required:  

  • J.D. degree and currently licensed or eligible to waive in to practice law in Illinois   
  • Mid-level legal experience in a legal aid organization or other setting providing direct representation 
  • Experience and an interest in civil rights, public benefits and health law and policy, and/or criminal law.  In addition to professional experience in these areas, experience can include personal experience with homelessness, poverty and other issues affecting our clients.  
  •  Experience working with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds   
  •  Experience working in communities impacted by poverty and a desire to spend a significant amount of time out in the community providing legal services and engaging in outreach  
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and work to advance racial equity  
  • Self-direction and self-motivation and the ability to work independently  
  • Demonstrated strong research and writing skills 

Preferred: 

  • Experience representing individuals in administrative hearings or in litigation  
  • Experience and interest in criminal law 
  • Experience working with young people ages 14 to 24-years-old   
  • Valid driver’s license 

Salary range

$60,000 to 72,000 based on experience, highly competitive benefits package, including health insurance (90% of premium paid by organization), four weeks of paid vacation, sabbatical program and student loan repayment assistance program and more. 

To Apply

Please send resume, cover letter, references and writing sample to Patricia Nix-Hodes at lawproject@chicagohomeless.org


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.  

People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status.  

Law Project Paralegal Intern

Job Description

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is seeking a paralegal Intern to support the Law Project in their work in advocating for people experiencing homelessness in Chicago and throughout Illinois. In this position, you will conduct intakes of potential clients, and provide support to attorneys with their casework. The types of cases Law Project attorneys handle include public benefits cases, educational rights cases, expungement/sealing cases, civil rights cases, and other civil legal matters. Paralegal interns are expected to be able to work independently and collaboratively with Law Project staff. This position is remote with the option for some-in office work and in person outreach and distribution of materials.

Access to a computer and internet is helpful but not required. Computer and internet access can be provided if needed. All paralegal interns are also expected to work to advance racial equity.

About CCH

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 42-year old systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness – lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders who have experienced homelessness to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values – collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose.

The Law Project is a program of CCH that provides free legal services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Law Project’s work includes educational rights for students who are homeless, a mobile legal clinic to provide legal services to homeless youth, including access to health care and civil rights for people living on the street.

Job Responsibilities

Clients

  • Provide assistance in conducting intakes of clients to assess clients’ legal issues.
  • Provide support to Law Project attorneys with their casework, such as assisting clients with applying for public benefits.
  • Assist in compiling/reviewing a variety of documents for various audiences, such as legislators, service providers, and school staff.

Community Outreach*

  • Distribute Law Project materials at various events.
  • Assist Law Project staff in conducting outreach, in places such as shelters, schools, and street outreach.

*In response to the COVID-19 virus, only limited outreach is being conducted for the time being.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrated desire to work with people experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Ability to work in a variety of settings.
  • Demonstrated desire to work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Demonstrated experience utilizing Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Enrollment in a paralegal program preferred (however, being a student is not a requirement for this position).

To Apply

Please send a cover letter detailing how you are qualified for this position, a resume, and two references, to Arturo Hernandez at arturo@chicagohomeless.org and please put “Paralegal Intern” in the subject line. The applicant selected for this internship position will receive a stipend.


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.

People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status.

Law Project Intern

Job Description

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is seeking a Law Intern to support the Law Project in their work in advocating for people experiencing homelessness in Chicago and throughout Illinois. In this position, you will conduct research, writing, intakes of potential clients, and also assist attorneys with their casework. The types of cases Law Project attorneys handle include educational rights cases, expungement/sealing cases, civil rights cases, and other civil legal matters. Law interns are expected to be able to work independently and collaboratively with Law Project staff. All law interns are also expected to work to advance racial equity.

About CCH

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 42-year old systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness – lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders who have experienced homelessness to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values – collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose.

The Law Project is a program of CCH that provides free legal services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Law Project’s work includes educational rights for students who are homeless, a mobile legal clinic to provide legal services to homeless youth, including access to health care and civil rights for people living on the street.

Job Responsibilities

Casework/Clients

  • Conduct research on a variety of matters, and assist attorneys in writing briefs, or other legal documents.
  • Provide assistance in conducting intakes of clients to assess clients’ legal issues.
  • Assist Law Project attorneys with casework, such as public benefits cases, civil rights cases, expungement/sealing cases, and educational rights cases.
  • Assist in compiling/reviewing a variety of documents for various audiences, such as legislators, service providers, and school staff.

Community Outreach*

  • Distribute Law Project materials at various events.
  • Assist attorneys in conducting outreach, in places such as shelters, schools, and street outreach.

*In response to the COVID-19 virus, only limited outreach is being conducted for the time being.

Qualifications

  • Must be currently enrolled in a law school.
  • Strong research and writing skills.
  • Demonstrated desire to work with people experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Ability to work in a variety of settings.
  • Demonstrated desire to work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Demonstrated experience utilizing Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

To Apply

Please send a cover letter detailing how you are qualified for this position, a resume, three references, and a brief writing sample of no more than 5 pages, to Arturo Hernandez at arturo@chicagohomeless.org and please put “Law Intern” in the subject line. The applicant selected for this internship position will receive a stipend.


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.

People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status.

CCH statement on Gov. Pritzker’s State of the State speech

“The measure of any society is how willing we are to care for those who need us.” 

Today in Springfield, Governor Pritzker began his 2022 Budget Address and State of the State with this statement from Margaret Mead, noting that this ethos has guided him and his administration as they have governed through the ravages of the pandemic.  

The Governor’s proposal for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget strives to “protect the most vulnerable” and, on many fronts, it does just that. We understand that Illinois’ fiscal outlook continues to improve. With that positive direction, Illinois should look at this moment as an opportunity to invest in our lowest-income residents, particularly individuals and families who experience housing insecurity. 

Continue reading CCH statement on Gov. Pritzker’s State of the State speech

Photographer Jeffrey Wolin unveils new project: Faces of Homelessness

Photographer Jeffrey Wolin’s work has spanned from documenting Holocaust survivors to Vietnam war veterans, and he has now turned his camera towards Chicago’s unhoused population. He has called West Town his home for nearly 10 years, and he is now debuting a project about unhoused community members, Faces of Homelessness.  

The work is currently on display at the Catherine Edelman Gallery at 1637 W. Chicago Ave. through February 15. And on Tuesday, February 8, CCH is hosting a virtual panel with the Chicago Public Library featuring Wolin, CCH Executive Director Doug Schenkelberg, Alderperson Matt Martin of Chicago’s 47th Ward and two photography subjects, Ronald Matthews and Melodi Serna. 

Continue reading Photographer Jeffrey Wolin unveils new project: Faces of Homelessness

CCH Mutual Aid Fund reopened for third round of grants

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ Fund will provide $500 grants to 120 households that are or at-risk of becoming homeless. 

Updated February 8 – Responding to continued community need, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) reopened applications to the CCH Mutual Aid Fund for another round of 120 grants. The Fund will provide direct cash support of $500 to Illinois residents in need.  

Applications were open Tuesday, February 1, and the 250-application cap was reached within two hours. 

Continue reading CCH Mutual Aid Fund reopened for third round of grants