Remembering grassroots leader Leeanna Majors

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.

Leeanna Majors, the Butterfly Effect
A poem by grassroots leader Maxica Williams and her family

When life and chaotic processes that shift and bring about conditions that are wider-scaled, there rises, moving freely to the sky a butterfly
With power as you enter any room
With your charm, you graced the world with your exquisite presence
You were the life of the party
Making jokes, loving people smiling, & dancing to the music
Always saying don’t make me fight you
Such a funny gesture
You’re too sweet and kind to fight instead,
With your voice you speak wisdom
With your chapters of your life so well written, you guide others to a different path
With a smile on your face, you are happy with the current chapter of your life
You speak of queens, kings, princes, & princesses, in a world where we are perceived as less
You are anointed by the most high, you live by God’s laws
You pass on the ever-loving joy of being in God’s Grace
You loved to pass on your love for God to everyone you came across
You are a faithful servant
You are a daughter, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, cousin, niece, friend, colleague, & light that shined upon many
Your essence was known soon as you stepped in the room
You loved to help everyone
Through your story, you helped others find strength, carry on, find a different path, & understand that change can happen
Your family was a priority
You raised all your children; you have been there for your grandchildren & great-grandchildren, who are all your greatest creations
You are married to your King
You are at peace in your kingdom with your King
You lived a divine life & you are a true inspiration to anyone you ever met
You loved hard and strong
Queen Leeanna Majors, you are a true Butterfly Effect. Your legacy will live on.

“My most fond memory of Ms. Leeanna is when she took a picture of me during a Speakers Bureau. We were at the event waiting for it to start. She was the first person I told I was pregnant. I was riddled with worry and anxiety about becoming a mom, and she told me with the biggest smile on her face, no doubt in her mind, ‘you got this, mama’ nobody can ever replace such a beautiful person like her.”
Crystal Sahler, Grassroots Leader

“I worked with Leeanna for over a decade at CCH. Leeanna was part of multiple organizations and various projects. She was a member of CCH Speakers Bureau, CCH TANF project, and CCH Mutual Aid Fund. She lobbied in Springfield and worked with CPS students on the importance of advocacy work. Leanna was a caring daughter, a devoted wife, a loving mother, a dear friend, a fantastic colleague, and a mighty social justice warrior. She was my to-go person when I needed to direct a young lady to someone for guidance. Ms. Leeanna made the world a better place by giving her true self to all of us.”
Charles Jenkins, Grassroots Leader

Where to turn for help when temperatures drop

Chicagoans should call 3-1-1 if they need weather-related assistance in frigid winter weather, including access to homeless shelters or city warming centers.

Six neighborhood warming centerslisted below, are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays whenever temperatures go below 32 degrees. All residents can find safe refuge and relief from extreme cold weather at these locations.

  • Englewood Community Service Center
    1140 West 79th Street
  • Garfield Community Service Center
    10 South Kedzie Avenue
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center
    4314 South Cottage Grove
  • North Area Community Service Center
    845 West Wilson Avenue
  • South Chicago Community Service Center
    8650 South Commercial Avenue
  • Trina Davila Community Service Center
    4312 West North Avenue
Continue reading Where to turn for help when temperatures drop

As the winter solstice approaches, we remember those we have lost

A message from Wayne Richard, Director of Organizing
Two hands holding taper candles, transferring the flame from one candle to the other.

As we approach the longest night of the year, the winter solstice on December 21, we turn our hearts and minds to those who must seek refuge in the streets, those who experience homelessness.

Homelessness is an experience so severe that some don’t survive it. Each year for over a decade, we have gathered to memorialize those who have lost their lives while they were homeless.

Continue reading As the winter solstice approaches, we remember those we have lost

Elizabeth and her family are finally home

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.  

Continue reading Elizabeth and her family are finally home

CCH welcomes eight new board members

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?

Continue reading CCH welcomes eight new board members

Almost $62,000 raised, thanks to your support this Giving Tuesday

Thanks to your generous support on Giving Tuesday, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has raised almost $62,000.  And our loyal donors that supplied $100,000 in matching funds have extended the time period to draw them down because they know life can get busy. So there is still time to help CCH reach this ambitious goal!

I know we can get there; we just need to donate, share, and share again. Donate here, and don’t forget to share to get the word out.

Continue reading Almost $62,000 raised, thanks to your support this Giving Tuesday

Please help us meet our $100,000 dollar-for-dollar match on Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 30 is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. All donations to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 total by generous donors Marta Delgado & Sam Nandi, Muriel Quinn & Robert Pasin, and Dem Hopkins! Make a tax-deductible gift here.

For the third year in a row, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless received a Perfect 100 from Charity Navigator. Less than 1% of the thousands of charities nationwide earned perfect scores.

Continue reading Please help us meet our $100,000 dollar-for-dollar match on Giving Tuesday

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: A reflection from Policy Intern Sana Sami

In recognition of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, CCH is sharing reflections from people who work with us – interns, board, and associate board members – writing about what inspires their work. 

Today’s essay is written by Policy Intern Sana Sami, a student at Loyola University School of Law graduating this spring.

My current goals and priorities in my work so far with CCH include educating myself through all the tools available to understand homelessness and the data associated with homelessness. I came to CCH with a preconceived notion of what homelessness actually entailed or what it looked like in our local Chicago communities and along the way I have learned that there is a lot more to understand. Since we all have a responsibility to work towards a better future for everyone in our communities, understanding that homelessness can take many forms is a key step in beginning to work towards real solutions.

Continue reading National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: A reflection from Policy Intern Sana Sami

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: A reflection from Associate Board Advocacy Chair Lindsay Welbers

In recognition of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, CCH is sharing reflections from people who work with us – interns, board, and associate board members – writing about what inspires their work. 

Today’s essay is written by Associate Board Advocacy Chair Lindsay Welbers.

Lindsay (left) volunteering in the CCH Riot Fest tent in 2019, pictured here with Community Organizer Bisma Shoukat

Part of the reason that I volunteer to support the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is because they don’t normally ask me for direction. CCH believes that the best people to understand homelessness, and the work that needs to be done to eliminate it, are people who understand that experience. That doesn’t include me, because I have never experienced life on the streets, in a shelter, or doubled-up with someone else. In working with CCH’s grassroots leaders, who do have that experience, I’ve learned a few things: Homelessness is not a moral failing on anyone except the society that allows it to exist, and the kinds of people who experience homelessness are more like me than I thought.

Continue reading National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: A reflection from Associate Board Advocacy Chair Lindsay Welbers

Remembering our mentor, organizer, life coach, and friend, Keith Freeman

With sad and heavy hearts, we share the news that our friend and colleague Senior Community Organizer Keith Freeman passed away on November 10 after a long illness.

By Grassroots Leaders at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

What words would we use to describe Keith? He was hard-working. He was relentless. He was compassionate, a listener and people person. He was an all-around nice guy. He was a GEM – someone that would always Go the Extra Mile. He not only saw the best in us, but he brought out the best in us.

Continue reading Remembering our mentor, organizer, life coach, and friend, Keith Freeman