WTTW: Firsthand, Brian

FIRSTHAND is a local public television program presented by WTTW. Aired 02/19/24.

Brian walked into St. Leonard’s Ministries with the goal of leaving homelessness behind him. He’s taking advantage of his new life and repairing broken family relationships after years of couch surfing and sleeping in vehicles. Brian is making his voice heard through advocacy work with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

WGN: More on the Bring Chicago Home referendum

On March 15, Chicago voters will have their say on a referendum that would raise the one-time transfer tax on properties over $1 million to fund homelessness prevention in the city. It’s called the Bring Chicago Home referendum. Doug Schenkelberg, the executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and Tynetta Hill-Muhammad, an organizer for the bring Chicago Home Ordinance, joined the WGN Evening News to talk more about it.

Sun-Times: Get facts straight on Bring Chicago Home real estate transfer tax referendum

By Joshua Wilmoth,  Feb 7, 2024

As a resident of Chicago, and as the president & CEO of Full Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to housing through affordability and resident services, I am invested in economic development across Chicago. I strongly support the Bring Chicago Home initiative, which aims to address our city’s homelessness and housing affordability crisis by making the real estate transfer tax or RETT — the sales tax paid by property buyers — more progressive.

WTTW: Volunteers, Faith Leaders Working to Help Unhoused Chicagoans Amid Freezing Temperatures

By Emily Soto (WTTW), January 17, 2024

Most of us can avoid Chicago’s frigid temperatures just by staying home. But for those experiencing homelessness, the solution is not that simple. Local organizations work directly with those individuals, hoping to provide relief and find long-term solutions.

Many groups like Thresholds are looking to the Bring Chicago Home ballot measure — which would change the real estate transfer tax in order to raise revenue to house the homeless — as the way forward.

CCH is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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Chalkbeat: Many of Chicago’s migrant students may be entitled to bus service. But are schools telling them?

By Reema Amin, Chalkbeat

The 60-day shelter rule is “going to require families to move more often, and it makes it more challenging to get to the school of origin and stay stable in their school of origin,” said Patricia Nix-Hodes, director of the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “If they are eligible for hardship transportation, they should be getting it.”

“The onus isn’t on the family who is newly arrived to Chicago to figure out what services might be available for transportation,” Patricia Nix-Hodes, director of the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless said.

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Sun-Times: Blankets, gloves, a tent and some propane protect some homeless Chicagoans during ‘brutal’ cold snap

A man in a heavy parka warms himself by an outdoor trash fire.

By David Struett, Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless doesn’t perform street outreach, and instead focuses on advocacy and legal assistance.

Its executive director, Doug Schenkelberg, said that extreme weather events — such as this cold snap or heat waves in the summer — are examples of why the city needs more robust homeless services.

“We push over and over that we need better funded long-term strategies, primarily long-term access to housing, so when crisis like this pops up, we have fewer people in harm’s way to begin with,” he said.

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Block Club: Bring Chicago Home Advocates Say ‘Frivolous’ Lawsuit Won’t Block Ballot Question

Bring Chicago Home supporters rally with banners and signs inside of City Hall.

By Alex V. Hernandez, Block Club Chicago

A lawsuit trying to block the city from raising certain real estate taxes to support homelessness services is a last-ditch attempt by wealthy landlords and real estate agents to protect their profits, advocates of the measure said this week.

Doug Schenkelberg, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ executive director, said the lawsuit is “a desperate attempt to deprive Chicago voters of their right to have their voices be heard.”

“This lawsuit is a political maneuver, orchestrated to protect the interests of greedy landlords and multi-national real estate corporations at the expense of Black, Brown, working class and homeless Chicagoans,” Schenkelberg said.

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DFSS Announcement: Winter Beds Availability

A blue stripe and red star form the DFSS logo, accompanied by the text: "DFSS, Department of Family and Support Services"

DFSS officially launched the Salvation Army’s winter beds at the Freedom Center. This is an overnight shelter that will serve single men and will be filled via 3-1-1 referrals, but also allow people to walk up or be dropped off by Outreach Teams. There will be 100 beds available every night.

Clients that are placed in this shelter through the walk up/outreach team drop-off option will not need an SR #, but will instead sign in upon arrival starting at 6:30 p.m.

Salvation Army Freedom Center

  • 825 N Christiana Ave, Chicago, IL 60651
  • South Door, Door A
  • Overnight Congregate-Bed Shelter

Normal Hours of Operation:


  • Fridays: Referrals start at 6:30 pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: Referrals can be made 24/7
  • Monday mornings, the shelter will close at 8:30 a.m. directly after breakfast

Monday – Thursday

Shelter will operate as an overnight shelter from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 a.m. the next day.

If a count of winter beds is needed, please call the front desk at 312-667-2204

WBEZ: As the 60-day shelter stay limit looms, a WBEZ analysis reveals most migrants stay longer

Carolina Gonzalez of Venezuela carries supplies into the Chicago City Life Center Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.

Thousands of migrants who lived in city shelters have stayed longer than 60 days — the length of a looming city deadline that will start affecting the first wave of migrants next month.

A WBEZ analysis of the lengths of their shelter stays finds that roughly 7 in 10 have stayed longer than 60 days, and that an average stay was 76 days for migrants who had exited shelter before Nov. 1.

If housing hasn’t been secured by the time a migrant’s shelter stay is up, they will have to give up their spot and return to the city’s landing zone for new arrivals and put in another request for shelter. Only under extenuating circumstances, such as a medical crisis, extreme cold weather or a pending move-in date with a signed lease, will extensions be granted, according to the city.

It’s difficult to discern how the 60-day deadline may impact the city’s overall homeless services system, said Sam Paler-Ponce, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ interim associate director of policy, who stressed that long-term housing solutions are ultimately needed.

“It looks like the new arrival system and the Chicago homeless services system have been kind of separate,” Paler-Ponce. “And at the 60-day mark, we might start to see these populations overlap quite a bit.”

Volunteers and advocates are fearful the policy will disrupt the modicum of stability asylum-seekers may have achieved.

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The Daily Line: Housing Industry, policy groups react to appointment of new city housing commissioner

A woman in her mid-30s smiles in red lipstick, wearing a black top.

By Michael McDevitt (The Daily Line)

Doug Schenkelberg, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said Castañeda’s appointment is likely to aid in the success of the Bring Chicago Home proposal, which would raise the real estate transfer tax on the sale of properties above $1 million and decrease the tax on property sales that are under $1 million. Bring Chicago Home will appear as a question on the March primary election ballot, and the revenue raised from the increased tax if it’s approved would be used by the city to fight homelessness. 

Schenkelberg told The Daily Line in a statement that the organization, which is one member of the Bring Chicago Home coalition, was “ecstatic” about the appointment and appreciated her work with “pillar community organizations.” 

“[Castañeda] understands what it takes [to] create the types of affordable housing our communities need and knows we need to center the voices of those most impacted,” Schenkelberg said. “As we look towards winning the ballot in March and passing the Bring Chicago Home ordinance soon after, her leadership and commitment to creating permanent housing and solving homelessness will aid in Bring Chicago Home’s long-term success.”

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