Community vigil honors life of murdered homeless man and calls on city to prioritize safety through housing by investing an additional $100 million a year

On Wednesday morning, advocates and individuals with lived experience of homelessness held a virtual vigil to call out the increasing pattern of violence against people living on the streets and demand the city interrupt this pattern by making a significant investment in housing. In July, at least two violent attacks were made on individuals experiencing homelessness in Grant Park, one of which resulted in the death of 58-year-old Aaron Curry. 

Tom Gordon, a resident of an encampment in Uptown and volunteer leader with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) shared his take on the recent violence, “We may be unsheltered and living on the streets, but we are still human beings. The murder of Aaron Curry, the daily pattern of trauma and violence that individuals like me experience – including harassment by the general public or being evicted from the only place we can call home – all of this could be prevented if the city prioritized housing. It’s not right.” Continue reading Community vigil honors life of murdered homeless man and calls on city to prioritize safety through housing by investing an additional $100 million a year

CCH supports a Fair Tax in Illinois

November 3, 2020 will be a historic Election Day. In addition to deciding who will be in the White House in 2021, Illinois voters will also close the loop on a 20-year conversation: Do we pass a Fair Tax in Illinois?

Right now, Illinois is one of eight states in the country that has a flat income tax, at a rate of 4.95%. This means everyone from teachers, nurses, and delivery workers, to real estate moguls and corporate CEOs pays the same rate.

A flat tax rate may seem fair on the surface, but the reality is far from it. Flat tax rates place more of the financial burden on middle- and low-income households, and less on millionaires and billionaires. Under the current system, the top 1% of Illinois earners pay only about 7% of their income in state and local taxes, while middle- and low-income families pay up to twice that percentage. Continue reading CCH supports a Fair Tax in Illinois

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to move 40th anniversary celebration online

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless will mark 40 years of organizing and advocating with a virtual celebration, “No Place Like Home,” on Thursday, September 24.

Guests are encouraged to make a suggested donation of $40 per household, but all are welcome to attend regardless of contribution. All guests are required to register here.

CCH is proud of the roster of sponsors lined up in support of our work. Many thanks to lead sponsor Baker McKenzie, and to our Associate-level sponsors – Fifth Third Bank, Harris & Harris, actor John Cusack and the JPC Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Kirkland & Ellis, attorney Marta Delgado and Sam Nandi, Muriel Quinn and Robert Pasin, Revolution Brewing, and SEIU. A list of additional sponsors can be found here. Contact Michael Nameche for more information on sponsorship opportunities. Continue reading Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to move 40th anniversary celebration online

Mutual Aid Fund distribution nearing completion

Updated July 29 – Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has notified 341 people who are receiving one-time grants from its Mutual Aid Fund. The distribution of funds will be completed by early August. 

Those whose applications were denied have been notified via email or phone call.

The coronavirus pandemic amplifies hardships experienced by people who are homeless as well as those who have been homeless and risk facing it again.

Responding to pressing community need, CCH created its Mutual Aid Fund. The fund provides direct cash support of up to $500 to Illinois residents in need. Continue reading Mutual Aid Fund distribution nearing completion

CCH provides 2020 Census outreach, advocates for complete count of people experiencing homelessness

Have you filled out your census form yet? If not, you have until October 31 to make sure you are counted! Responding early is encouraged to avoid a follow-up visit from a U.S. Census worker.

Every person living in the country should be counted, no matter their Census 2020: People experiencing homelessness count too!housing status. 

Yet people experiencing homelessness are often undercounted, depriving many of fair political representation and access to vital resources.

Over the past year, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless provided extensive outreach to help ensure Illinoisans living in shelters, on the street, and doubled-up are represented in the 2020 Census. CCH is one of 42 organizations across the state partnering with Forefront’s IL Count Me In 2020 initiative, which aims to support a fair and accurate count among historically undercounted communities Continue reading CCH provides 2020 Census outreach, advocates for complete count of people experiencing homelessness

CHHRGE coalition urges city, Cook County courts to enact robust plan to ensure safe, equitable participation in hearings and reduce COVID–19 exposure among the most vulnerable

Editor’s Note: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has signed on to the following letter, sent July 13 to Timothy C. Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and to E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., presiding judge of the First Municipal District Court Civil Division.

The letter was submitted on behalf of the Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE), a coalition of healthcare and emergency shelter providers responding to the COVID–19 pandemic among those most vulnerable to the virus.

Subject: General Order 2020-12 Procedures for Civil Division Matters

The courts opened on July 6, 2020 with a massive influx in litigants appearing for non-emergency civil matters. At times, lines have grown long and dense at Daley Center with limited space to adequately distance. We have serious concerns relating to the courts’ and court-stationed Chicago police officers’ ability to adhere to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID–19 guidance and, in turn, the risk associated with people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness appearing in court. We fear that a more robust plan is needed to ensure safe and equitable participation in hearings and reduce COVID–19 exposure among the most vulnerable members of our community. Continue reading CHHRGE coalition urges city, Cook County courts to enact robust plan to ensure safe, equitable participation in hearings and reduce COVID–19 exposure among the most vulnerable

CCH increases college scholarships, awards to seven new students

Seven students awarded $14,000 college scholarships by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless this June are new high school graduates who live in Chicago, Joliet, and Tinley Park.

CCH offers a renewable scholarship to students who succeeded in school while coping with homelessness. Twenty-one students will be assisted next school year, including five sophomores, five juniors, and four seniors.

CCH is pleased to announce that the scholarship award for all students will increase to $3,500 a year. This first increase in five years is thanks to a substantial gift in memory of Jill L. Meinzer. Continue reading CCH increases college scholarships, awards to seven new students

In memory of Jill Meinzer, CCH increases awards in college scholarship program that’s grown through long-time donor support

A generous donation given in memory of the late Jill L. Meinzer has allowed the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to increase its four-year college scholarship awards, to $3,500 a year.

Jill’s family gave a $30,000 gift in her name in spring 2019. By early 2020, Jill’s family had made gifts to eight youth-serving programs, including a second substantial gift to the CCH college scholarship program.

“Jill wanted to support youth in Chicago who want to get the education and training to further their lives,” said her sister, Karen Whitaker, an Indiana resident. She and Jill’s other two sisters and their parents planned the gifts in Jill’s memory. Continue reading In memory of Jill Meinzer, CCH increases awards in college scholarship program that’s grown through long-time donor support

CPS Focus Group parents and grandparents write public officials with concerns about summer school, resuming fall classes

The following letter was delivered this week to Dr. Janice Jackson, CEO, and other leadership at the Chicago Public Schools, including its office of Students in Temporary Living Situations. This letter also was delivered to officials in the mayor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. The parents group is seeking meetings with CPS and state education leaders.

We are a committee of parents and grandparents with lived experience of homelessness who have children and grandchildren enrolled in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We are writing because we have many concerns for the summer of 2020 and the 2020-2021 school year. These past few months with schools closed were extremely challenging and disorienting for our children. Our children and other students experiencing homelessness will need robust and compassionate supports to successfully navigate the new school year. This letter addresses our specific concerns and asks that CPS and its Students in Temporary Living Situations office (STLS) implement certain supports for students experiencing homelessness. Continue reading CPS Focus Group parents and grandparents write public officials with concerns about summer school, resuming fall classes

CCH welcomes Fair Tax State Organizer Brandon Marks

We welcomed Brandon Marks to our community organizing staff this month. We asked Brandon to introduce himself.

Brandon Marks

I am beyond excited to join the staff of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless as the Fair Tax State Organizer. My work will focus on supporting and expanding the Homeless Prevention State Network in northern Illinois, with the primary goal of passing the Fair Tax ballot initiative in November.

Previously, I have contributed to efforts to unionize the fast food industry through ​the Fight for $15 and supported progressive candidates in primary elections. I also volunteer with a new mutual aid ​effort in the Logan Square neighborhood. Continue reading CCH welcomes Fair Tax State Organizer Brandon Marks