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.
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.
Many definitions of homelessness include “people temporarily staying with others”—doubling-up because of economic hardship or housing loss. Temporarily staying with others can have negative consequences that should be addressed, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s methods for enumerating homelessness exclude these arrangements, and Department of Education counts of doubling-up include only school children.
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of grassroots leader Leeanna Majors. We send our deepest condolences to Ms. Leeanna’s family and all those who loved her. CCH mourns with you, and celebrates the extraordinary life of this remarkable woman. She devoted her life to advocating for the rights of people experiencing homelessness.
Ms. Leeanna brought hope, love, and joy to all those who knew her. She empowered people to believe they were the answer to the issues their communities faced. She inspired everyone with her positivity, devotion to justice, and willingness to be vulnerable and share her story with others. She will be missed.
The warmth of summer has left Chicago—and temperatures are steadily dropping as winter intensifies. In a matter of days, the weather will be freezing. That is a matter of life and death for the tens of thousands of people currently experiencing houslessness in the city.
According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, there were 58,273 unhoused Chicagoans in 2019, and the economic turbulence caused by the ongoing pandemic has probably caused that number to rise. A significant percentage of those without homes are minors. This year, for example, the Chicago Public School system reported serving 10,836 homeless students. And the majority of Chicagoans without housing are people of color; CCH reports that roughly 60 percent of those affected are Black, and 25 percent are Latinx.
For the past 19 years, when students in Kane County have missed school, Kari Glenn has visited their homes to see what’s preventing them from attending classes. As a truancy officer, she says this year has been the hardest. In one of the families Glenn works with, the single parent died, leaving behind four young children. “Now they’re going to be living with a relative and that relative isn’t completely prepared to take on four little kids,“ she said.
All parents want a safe, stable, loving home for their children. Grassroots leader Elizabeth Maldonado, a mother of four, is no different. Although her journey to housing had been tough, her desire to provide a real home for her children was stronger.
Born in Honduras, Elizabeth’s family moved from place to place – never having a home of their own. They moved to Florida, then Ohio, and then back to Central America, always staying with family or in shelters. Abuse was a common occurrence.
In November, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) was excited to add a superlative group of new board members to our governing board. These eight people bring an amazing breadth of knowledge, talent, and passion to an existing stellar line-up of committed board members. We are so incredibly grateful to each of them for giving their time and energy to CCH’s mission.
We asked each of them to answer this question: What motivates you to be part of our mission to prevent and end homelessness in Chicago/Illinois?
The problem of unaffordable housing — and the inextricable problem of people experiencing homelessness — is so obvious in major cities, including New York, where I live, that it can be overwhelming. For some, that feeling can be translated into a sense of learned blindness — If I don’t look too hard, it is not a problem, and certainly not my problem.
Jeffrey Wolin, a photographer in Chicago and professor emeritus at Indiana University, has taken the opposite approach. He has spent the last several years talking with and documenting the circumstances of people who are homeless. He works with advocacy organizations, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, to find participants.