Showcasing Horizons Poets: Commitment, Community, Dignity and Power

Above: Brooklyn Silas first joined Horizons two years ago, which allowed her to continue cultivating her longtime love of writing Brooklyn knows firsthand that creating and sharing art can have a ripple effect. “Writing poetry, this is bigger than me. When I write, it’s not just about me expressing myself. Who am I going to touch with these words?”

Above: Taishi Neuman a longtime grassroots leader with CCH, member of the Speakers Bureau and CPS focus group and participant in the Horizons creative writing program.  Though she was hesitant to write and publicly recite her poetry when she first joined Horizons two years ago, Ms. Neuman now appreciates the power of creative writing. “When you read poetry, it helps you. Because I love it now. I read not only my poetry, I read other people’s poetry.”

Horizons Creative Writing

CCH’s creative writing program Horizons offers creative writing workshops to parents experiencing homelessness who live at family shelters, as well as residents of adult shelters located in Chicago. Horizons was launched in 2007 by Director of Organizing Wayne Richard, a staff member since 2000. Wayne first became involved with CCH as a grassroots leader, when he lived in a West Side shelter that hosted an earlier version of the writing program.

“Everyone has a song to sing,” says Wayne, pointing to pieces written by participants that range from emotional to wistful, hopeful to angry. Most of the writing is “about relationships to someone or something – the lack of, or need of, or appreciation of relationships.”

Horizons poets, Taishi Neuman and Brooklyn Silas recently showcased their poetry.

Taishi Neuman has been involved with CCH for 11 years as a grassroots leader, as well as participating in the Speakers Bureau and CPS focus group. Poetry has helped her unpack her experience with homelessness and express the words in her heart. Neuman’s poem “Life Journey,” featured above and on YouTube, outlines many of her own experiences.

For Brooklyn Silas, participating in Horizons gives her an opportunity to express her feelings and be in solidarity with others when taking action isn’t always an option.

WTTW – New Reports Examine the Housing-First Approach to Addressing Homelessness

By Blair Paddock , October 17, 2023

The number is tens of thousands of people higher than the city’s annual point-in-time count because of how the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless defines homelessness, said Julie Dworkin, director of policy for the organization.

For example, the 2021 point-in-time estimate from the city was 4,447 people experiencing homelessness. That figure doesn’t include doubling-up in shared living arrangements, Dworkin said. However, doubling-up is the way most people experience homelessness in Chicago, according to the report.

Eating wings for a good cause

CCH’s 3rd Annual Wing Eating Contest was held on September 28 at Woodie’s Flat. Ten fearless competitors squared off to see who could eat the most wings in 30 minutes, raising over $15,700 to support our mission to prevent and end homelessness.

This event was organized by our incredible Associate Board, a group of volunteers who support our advocacy efforts and help raise awareness in their communities.

L – R: Charlie Beneke (2nd Place), Evan Anderson (3rd Place), and Mike Kightly (first 2023 Entry into the Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner Hall of Fame*) *$1,000 or more raised in donations.



Continue reading Eating wings for a good cause

The return of Sips on a Ship – an enjoyable success! 

On the evening of Sunday, August 13, the Associate Board welcomed CCH supporters to board the Chicago’s Leading Lady for a cruise down the Chicago River.  It was a welcome return of an event last staged in 2019.  

CCH supporters (L to R) – Ailleen Gorospe, Ebony Thompson, Claire Sloss and Holly O’Hern toast to another successful Associate Board Fundraiser 


Guests mingled both above deck and below and were treated to a fishbowl raffle of over 45 prizes.  The night was made special by the generous spirit of the ship’s captain and crew.  As attendee Carol Marchán noted: “A familiar tone of camaraderie and friendship was felt throughout the night; unity and contagious positive energy was in the air. The “Sips on a Ship” event was made memorable by the welcoming staff on board, the captain on Chicago’s Leading Lady with his polite and conversational guidance, the unlimited Spanish tapas and drinks, the mesmerizing Chicago skyline and unbeatable energy. I cannot wait for next year.” 

Continue reading The return of Sips on a Ship – an enjoyable success! 

WTTW- Proposal to Hike Taxes on Sales of Million-Dollar Homes to Fight Homelessness Clears Key Hurdle

An August report from the Chicago Coalition of the Homeless, a member of the coalition that crafted the Bring Chicago Home proposal, found that the number of Chicagoans who do not have a permanent home grew 4% between 2020 and 2021 to 68,440 people.

More than 80% of unhoused Chicagoans are Black or Latino, with Black Chicagoans making up 53% of those who are unhoused in Chicago, according to the coalition.

Streetlight Chicago Launch Party

This Fall 2023 we will present the relaunching of the app and website. We are hard at work to ensure the resources are listed and the community is informed.

Sign up today and we will reach out when the relaunch party details are finalized.

SLC Launch Contact Form


Chicago Sun Times – Mayor Brandon Johnson creates post for city’s first chief homelessness officer

By Emmanuel Camarillo, October 3, 2023

Mayor Brandon Johnson on Tuesday signed an executive order creating Chicago’s first chief homelessness officer position. 

The person in the role will be tasked with providing solutions “for stable, permanent and affordable housing” for the unhoused in the city, Johnson said in a statement. 

“By establishing a Chief Homelessness Officer for the City of Chicago, we will have a critical point of contact to coordinate efforts and leverage the full force of government to provide shelter for all people,” Johnson said. 

Crains – Opinion: Renters don’t trust what our landlords say about housing affordability and Bring Chicago Home

By Anthony J. Perkins, October 3, 2023

During the 2023 mayoral runoff, a picture went viral on social media of an apartment with a Brandon Johnson sign in the window, above a giant Paul Vallas sign planted on the lawn by the building owner. As usual, a picture was worth a thousand words: renters for Johnson vs. landlords for Vallas.

Now, as the Bring Chicago Home campaign ramps up, we’re in yet another round of the battle between the renter and landlord classes. Bring Chicago Home would reform Chicago’s real estate transfer tax by creating a tax cut for property sales below $1 million and a progressive increase — higher tax rates on more expensive properties — on sales of properties valued at over $1 million, with the new revenue paying for affordable housing and essential services to end homelessness. With the referendum headed to the City Council for a vote to put it on the ballot in March, the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance has now published a survey saying that a majority of landlords would raise rents in response to the effort.

So when the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance starts wringing its hands and saying, “What about the renters?” you’ll have to forgive my skepticism. The alliance represents 600 members who own more than 180,000 rental units, an average of 300 rental units per landlord. These are not mom-and-pop landlords who rent their garden units. These are powerful political interests who for generations have raised rents, donated to landlord-friendly politicians and ferociously lobbied against any effort to tax any portion of their profits. They are not credible messengers on what’s best for renters like me.

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Bring Chicago Home will not, in fact, result in rising rents for the overwhelming majority of Chicagoans. Because of the graduated tax structure, most property sales will actually experience a decrease in their transaction taxes, including 94% of all two- to four-unit, multifamily buildings. In fact, two-thirds of the projected revenue will come from properties worth more than $10 million — not mom-and-pop multifamily homes, but large buildings with hundreds of rental units. Sound familiar?

Bring Chicago Home is a carefully considered, soundly constructed policy that is good for the overwhelming majority of renters and homeowners in our city, but that’s not what matters to organizations like the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance and landlords. What matters to them is their ability to keep making a profit by raising rents, cutting costs, and pushing out poor and working-class people when we can no longer afford to live in their investment properties.

That’s why big landlords are attacking Bring Chicago Home, and it’s why we shouldn’t trust a single thing they say about it.

Anthony J. Perkins, a housing leader with One Northside and the Bring Chicago Home campaign, is a disabled senior citizen who currently lives in a Chicago Housing Authority senior housing building in Edgewater.

Read Renters Beware: Don’t trust one thing landlords are saying about housing affordability and Bring Chicago Home.

The Tribe – The Lyte Collective takes a comprehensive approach to supporting unhoused youth

By Danielle Sanders, September 21, 2023

The Lyte Collective is a community rooted in their love of young people. Located in Chicago’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood at 549 E. 76th Street, the Lyte Collective supports people impacted by poverty and homelessness.     

Founded in 2016 by a group of social workers who wanted to create a more equitable system, the Lyte Collective works to end harmful practices such as lack of available low-cost housing, poor economic conditions, and insufficient mental health services that cause young people to experience homelessness. In 2021, an estimated 68,440 people experienced homelessness in Chicago with 11,885 being youth, according to a report by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Despite Black Chicagoans representing 29% of the city’s population, 53% of Chicago’s unhoused community are Black.

Continue reading The Tribe – The Lyte Collective takes a comprehensive approach to supporting unhoused youth

WBEZ – How Thursday’s Chicago City Council was a big moment for progressives

By Mariah WoelfelTessa Weinberg, September 14, 2023

Organizers in black shirts with the yellow slogan “Bring Chicago Home” across the chest have long shown up in droves to City Council meetings, led by multiple mayors at this point, to advocate for their proposal.

If passed, the ordinance introduced Thursday would prompt a citywide referendum next March asking voters whether the city should increase the transfer tax when properties valued over $1 million are sold, and decrease for lesser valued properties. If voters gave it the go-ahead, the revenue would create a dedicated stream to fund homeless prevention services.

Continue reading WBEZ – How Thursday’s Chicago City Council was a big moment for progressives