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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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.


2024 Chicago Cold Weather Updates

Information updated as of 1/8/24

Renters/Homeowners

Renters’ Rights

Evictions: The Cook County sheriff is not allowed to carry out an eviction on any day when extreme cold weather conditions could endanger your health and welfare, regardless of temperature.

Minimum Temperatures: The Chicago Heat Ordinance mandates that between September 15 and June 1, landlords must provide heat to apartments where occupants do not have individual control of the unit’s heating. Temperatures must be above 68°F from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and at least 66°F from 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. for most or all of the heating season, depending on the type of unit.

For more information, call Chicago’s Chicago Renters’ Rights Hotline at (312) 742-RENT [(312)-742-7368]. To report a landlord’s violation, call 3-1-1.

Heating Bills

Rights: While your gas and heat cannot be disconnected for nonpayment in below-freezing weather, there is no general winter moratorium on utility disconnection during cold weather above freezing. If the temperature is forecasted to be above 32º for 24 hours, proper notice has been sent, and a Deferred Payment Arrangement has been offered, your account can legally be shut off.

LIHEAP: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available in all Illinois counties through an online application.

  • LIHEAP Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) provides one-time payment assistance to all income eligible households.
  • LIHEAP Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) is not accepting applications through August 15, 2024.
  • Crisis Reconnection Assistance (RA) can help households with disconnected utilities or facing a disconnection notice in the next week.
  • Crisis Furnace Assistance (FA) is available from October 2, 2023 to May 15, 2024. Households enrolled in LIHEAP without a furnace can receive assistance for an operating furnace or heating supply.

Other LIHEAP benefits include:

  • A moratorium on utility disconnection between December 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024.
  • A prohibition on electric and gas utilities charging reconnection fees, connection deposits, or late-payment fees.
  • Deferred Payment Arrangements, available to all income-eligible households, have a maximum down payment of 10%.

CEDA: The Community and Economic Development Association’s “Peoples Gas Share the Warmth” program gifts up to $200 in one-time assistance for utility bills. The application can be found here.

Seeking Shelter

Warming Centers

Locations:

  • Englewood Community Service Center
    • 1140 West 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60620
    • (312)747-0200
  • Garfield Community Service Center
    • 10 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612
    • (312)746-5400
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center
    • 4314 South Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60653
    • (312)747-2300
  • North Area Community Service Center
    • 845 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640
    • (312)744-2580
  • South Chicago Community Service Center
    • 8650 South Commercial Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617
    • (312)747-0500
  • Trina Davila Community Service Center
    • 4312 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639
    • (312)744-2014

Hours: The warming centers are open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Other: Chicago Public Library locations and some park buildings are open as warming centers for cold weather during normal business hours.

Senior Citizens

Service Connection: Senior citizens in Chicago can connect with the Chicago Senior Services Hotline during business hours at (312)-744-4016, or by emailing Aging@CityofChicago.org.

If you are concerned on behalf of a senior citizen, request a well-being check by calling 311 or file an online service request at this link.

Senior Centers: Senior citizens can find warm shelter during cold weather at Senior Centers.

  • Central West Center 
    • 2102 W. Ogden Avenue
    • (312)746-5300
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Northeast (Levy) Senior Center
    • 2019 W. Lawrence Avenue
    • (312)744-0784
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Northwest (Copernicus) Senior Center
    • 3160 N. Milwaukee Avenue
    • (312)744-6681
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Renaissance Court
    • 78 E. Washington
    • (312)744-4550
    • 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Southeast (Atlas) Senior Center
    • 1767 E. 79th Street 
    • (312)747-0189  
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Southwest Center
    • 6117 S. Kedzie Avenue
    • (312)747-0440
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri

If you are experiencing homelessness and need legal assistance, call the CCH Law Project at 1 (800) 940 – 1119.

Satellite Locations:
  • Abbott Park Satellite Senior Center
    • 49 East 95th Street
    • (312)745-3493
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:00 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Auburn Gresham Satellite Senior Center
    • 1040 West 79th Street
    • (312)745-4797
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Austin Satellite Senior Center
    • 5071 W. Congress Parkway
    • (312)743-1538
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Chatham Satellite Senior Center
    • 8300 S. Cottage Grove
    • (312)745-0401
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Edgewater Satellite Senior Center
    • 5917 N. Broadway 60660
    • (312)742-5323
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Englewood Satellite Senior Center
    • 653-657 West 63rd Street
    • (312)745-3328
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Garfield Ridge Satellite Senior Center
    • 5674B South Archer Avenue
    • (312)745-4255
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Kelvyn Park Satellite Senior Center
    • 2715 N. Cicero Avenue
    • (312)744-3799
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • North Center Senior Satellite
    • 4040 N. Oakley 60618
    • (312)744-4015
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Norwood Park Senior Satellite
    • 5801 N. Natoma
    • (773)775-6071
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Pilsen Satellite Senior Center
    • 2021 South Morgan
    • (312)743-0493
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Portage Park Satellite Senior Center
    • 4100 North Long 60641
    • (312)744-9022
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • Roseland Satellite Senior Center
    • 10426 South Michigan Avenue
    • (312)745-1500
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • South Chicago Satellite Center
    • 9233 South Burley 
    • (312)745-1282
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri
  • West Town/Logan Square Satellite Senior Center
    • 1615 West Chicago Avenue
    • (312)743-1016
    • 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri

If you are experiencing homelessness and need legal assistance, call the CCH Law Project at 1 (800) 940 – 1119.

Latino News: ‘Doubling Up’ Homelessness: An Invisible Crisis

A cartoon girl sits in front of a brick wall with a suitcase and briefcase near her.

By Jacqueline Cardenas (Latino News), December 15 2023

Over 68,000 Chicagoans are experiencing homelessness, and nearly 45,000 of them live doubled-up, according to a 2023 estimated data report from the Chicago Coalition For The Homeless. Out of nearly 20,000 Latinx people experiencing homelessness, 91% are in doubled-up situations, according to the report.

Research suggests that members of the Latinx community who lived doubled-up have been undercounted in homelessness data because multigenerational living is a common practice.

The Latino Policy Forum and Illinois Latino News (ILLN) are partnering to create a 2-year long public awareness campaign that will illuminate the most common form of homelessness experienced in the Latinx community, which is through ‘doubling-up’ or when a person temporarily lives with others.

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We are stronger together: CCH raises over $127K on Giving Tuesday thanks to 537 individual donors and our generous matching gift partners 

The staff and volunteers of CCH are overwhelmed with gratitude for the enthusiastic support offered this past Giving Tuesday. Over 500 generous people contributed to CCH during this annual celebration of giving.   

CCH is grateful to longtime supporters Robert Pasin & Muriel Quinn, Revolution Brewing, and Metropolitan Capital Bank for donating a collective $42,500 in matching funds.  

John Carruthers, Director of Communications for Revolution Brewing, had this reflection on Giving Tuesday: “This year has opened a lot of eyes on how many of our neighbors go without a warm, safe place to rest. Revolution is proud to support the work that CCH does, and the incredible generosity of their donors is something that continues to give us hope. We’re glad we could help amplify the voices of the individual donors whose giving does so much for Chicagoans affected by homelessness.” 

CCH recruited 30 staff, Board members, and Associate Board members to follow their lead and become Giving Tuesday Ambassadors, spreading news of CCH’s work and enlisting peers to invest in our advocacy.  

Michael Rose, Chairman & CEO of Metropolitan Capital shared, “At Metropolitan Capital, we too believe in strength through community. Our team is grateful to have been a small part in the collaborative efforts to raise critical funds for CCH this Giving Tuesday, and we are proud to continue supporting their mission to build inclusive, hospitable communities – together.” 

Ambassador Work

Ambassadors employed all types of creative tactics to call attention to CCH’s impact. Development Director Michael Nameche thanked his personal network of supporters throughout the day with covers of rock albums with googly-eyes added. Director of Communications Vanessa Álvarez punctuated the day with short videos to demonstrate what she had learned about the issue of homelessness since coming to work at CCH. Sophie Babcock, Associate Board Vice President of Events, returned to be an ambassador for the seventh straight year, gathering an impressive 31 donations in 24 hours.   

Sophie had this to say about the experience: “I can’t think of a better organization to support on Giving Tuesday, a day that comes during many Americans comfortably putting up holiday decor in their homes and eating leftovers with family. Each year I remind my network how lucky they are to be in this position, and each year I am humbled by the outpouring of support.” 

Thank you to everyone who made contributions of any size to CCH on Giving Tuesday. We often like to say that we are stronger together, and this Giving Tuesday is one more example of that collective power to make change.  

Remembering CCH Board Member Brady Harden Jr. 

CCH is deeply saddened as we mourn the loss of Brady Harden Jr., a long-time member of our Board of Directors and a tireless advocate for underserved communities.  

Brady served as the President/CEO of Inner Voice for over 18 years, an impressive tenure in which he oversaw the expansion of shelter services from just one facility to eight.   

It was this dedication and strategic foresight that caught the attention of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who appointed Brady to the role of Statewide Housing Coordinator for Long Term Care Reform.  Brady attended the bill signing ceremony for the Illinois Homeless Bill of Rights Act, passed in 2013 thanks to CCH advocacy.  

Brady joined the Board of Directors of CCH in 2011 and held many leadership roles until his passing this October.   

We are grateful for Brady’s many contributions to CCH and lifelong commitment to working to end homelessness. He will be greatly missed. 

A tribute from CCH Board member, Bernie Dyme:  

“I had the pleasure and honor of serving with Brady for many years on the CCH board. His passion for ending homelessness and working for those in need of assistance was unmatched. Brady was a wonderful, warm person with a great sense of humor. May his memory be a blessing.” 

Brady retired as the Vice President of Housing at Grand Prairie Services, leaving a lasting impact on the organization and the lives of those he helped. 

A tribute from CCH Board member, Holly O’Hern:  

“It was an honor to be on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless with Brady. Beautiful to learn how his whole life was filled with contributions for the better. May he rest in peace.” 

A tribute from CCH Board member, Jaquie Algee:  

“Brady was my brother and friend, someone I admired and looked up to. He was quite the gentleman, debonair in his style of dress, manner of walk and smooth moves on the dance floor. Brady carried himself in such a manner that young men could admire and model after. 

That was Brady the man! But Brady the executive director, committed to housing the unhoused, offering and securing wrap around services for those trying to reestablish themselves in life was something that Brady stayed determined to do and he did with such excellence in his work, commitment and service on the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless board of directors. 

Brady the family man was devoted to my sister Stephanie, their children, family and his Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. I could say more about my brother Brady, as I fondly referred to him, but the one thing I would like to say in closing is that the world was a better place because Brady Harden lived!” 

Chalkbeat: As Chicago’s shelter rule for migrant families takes effect, here are three student rights to know

A group of children run around a classroom in Chicago.

By Reema Amin (Chalkbeat), November, 27 2023

Chicago educators and advocates are concerned about how Mayor Brandon Johnson’s new 60-day limit for shelter stays for migrant families will impact attendance and stability for migrant students.

The new rule comes as the city has struggled to house migrants. More than 22,000 have arrived from the Southern border since August 2022, many fleeing economic and political upheaval in Central and South American countries. City and state officials have promised to boost efforts to help families get resettled and find more permanent housing, a commitment that comes just as a state-operated rental assistance program will no longer apply to newly arrived immigrants who are entering shelters, Block Club Chicago reported.

About 50 families have already received the notices, and another 3,000 will get them on Dec. 4.

Advocates said losing shelter could mean more absences among migrant students who are homeless — formally known as students living in temporary living situations. That designation includes children in shelter, living doubled up with another family, or living in a public place. As of Oct. 31, average attendance rates this school year for homeless students are 5 percentage points lower than their peers with permanent housing, according to Chicago Public Schools data shared with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

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WTTW: What Homelessness Among Latinos Looks Like Amid Growing Need for Housing

By Acacia Hernandez (WTTW), December 1, 2023

Research suggests that Latinos are dramatically underrepresented in data on street and shelter homelessness.

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ recent report, which just became available in Spanish, an estimated 68,000 people are homeless in Chicago.

Meanwhile, 91% of Latino Chicagoans who are experiencing homelessness are expected to be in doubled-up situations.

“People experience homelessness in different ways. They could be at shelters on the street or doubled-up, which some people consider couch surfing,” said Arturo Hernandez, a senior attorney with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “This is when someone is staying at someone’s house where they have no legal right to be at and they can be asked to leave at any time. So they don’t have their own house, their own apartment, they might be staying with a relative or a friend, but they don’t have the right to be there.”

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