Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and partners weigh in on high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case, Johnson v. Grants Pass 

By Sam Paler-Ponce, interim associate director of policy 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless assembled 27 statewide partner organizations in filing an amicus brief in the upcoming case of Johnson v. Grants Pass. On the docket to be heard for oral arguments on April 22, 2024, this will be the first time in decades that the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case related to homelessness. 

“Homelessness is not something you can sweep under the rug. It needs to be solved in a positive way,” said Robert Henderson, a grassroots leader with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “Punishing a person for being homeless is cruel and unusual, and it is not right.” Henderson was living on the street when he first worked with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless as a legal client. In 2018, he became the first person to successfully bring a case under the Illinois Homeless Bill of Rights. 

Originating from Grants Pass, Oregon, the Supreme Court will determine if cities have the right to penalize people for sleeping outdoors if they have even a blanket to stay warm, particularly when they have nowhere else to go. At the heart of the matter lies the interpretation of constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.  

“The best solutions to the homelessness crisis in this country are creating sufficient affordable housing and providing supporting social services to help individuals stay housed,” said Camilla Krauss, a drafting attorney on the brief. “Criminalizing a person experiencing homelessness for simply existing in the elements not only creates bad precedent but also serves to exacerbate, rather than solve, the core issues.” 

“Homelessness is a public health and affordable housing crisis, requiring urgent, meaningful and collaborative action across many sectors.  Fines and jailing are traumatizing to people experiencing homelessness and disrupt work towards real solutions,” said Lisa Parsons, Legal Director at Legal Council for Health Justice and a drafting attorney on the brief. 

Read the amicus brief here.

The case challenges the practice of cities like Grants Pass, which resorted to penalizing people sleeping in public spaces with bedding, such as a blanket, despite the absence of shelter in the community. 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), alongside 27 partner organizations, filed an amicus brief (relating to amicus curiae, meaning “friend of the court”), raising the importance of the case and the impact on people experiencing homelessness in Chicago and Illinois. Pro bono partner Much Shelist supported CCH in filing the brief, and attorneys Steven Blonder, Josh Leavitt, and Charlotte Franklin were instrumental in drafting the brief.  

“The measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable. It demonstrates the character and compassion of the citizenry, and our country has made significant advances in the care and sheltering of those experiencing homelessness,” said Steve Blonder, principal at Much Shelist. “A reversal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision would be a major step backward – to a society less caring and more medieval.” 

“With homelessness and evictions most seriously impacting Black Americans, criminalizing homelessness is an additional way to make living while Black illegal and must be stopped if we are ever to attain a just society,” said Michelle Gilbert, Legal and Policy Director at the Law Center for Better Housing, a drafting organization on the brief. 

“A negative outcome in this case would exacerbate the challenges faced by people living with HIV and other chronic conditions who are also experiencing homelessness, creating additional barriers to accessing the support and services they need to transition out of homelessness and manage their chronic health conditions,” said Nadeen Israel, Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at AIDS Foundation Chicago. 

While the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass serves as a focal point for legal debate, it also highlights the systemic failures that perpetuate homelessness nationwide. Punitive measures like incarceration and fines exacerbate the issue, rather than resolving it. The real solution lies in ensuring safe, decent, and affordable housing. 

“This case could affect the thousands of Illinois survivors seeking shelter and create further barriers to accessing safe housing,” said Jaclyn Zarack-Koriath, Director of Housing Advocacy at The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence. 

As the Supreme Court prepares to deliberate on this landmark case, the outcome holds significant implications for the quarter of a million people nationwide who find themselves without shelter on any given night. 

“An adverse outcome in this case could make the families we serve even more vulnerable and unstable,” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Chicago Urban League, an advocacy organization that works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment. 

CCH joins the National Homelessness Law Center and hundreds of other organizations that have submitted 39 amicus briefs in support of people experiencing homelessness. 

Amicus brief partners: AIDS Foundation Chicago, All Chicago Making Homelessness History, BEDS Plus, Inc., Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Rehab Network, Chicago Urban League, Chicago Women Take Action, Covenant House Illinois, Deborah’s Place, Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project, Healthcare Alternative Systems, Inc, Heartland Alliance Health, Housing Action Illinois, Illinois Public Health Institute, Impact for Equity, James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Law Center for Better Housing, Legal Council for Health Justice, LYTE Collective, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, Organized Communities Against Deportations, Red Line Service Institute, Safer Foundation, South Suburban PADS, Street Samaritans, The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, The Night Ministry, and Thresholds. 

CCH’s Post-Election Statement as a Member of Bring Chicago Home

Group of people in front of city hall hold a sign in support of Bring Chicago Home campaign

Sharing and building power is how we address homelessness in Chicago.

In 2017, a group of CCH’s grassroots leaders with lived experience of homelessness first developed the idea of what became Bring Chicago Home. Since that first day, we have collectively fought for the revenue we need to provide the permanent housing and services the people experiencing homelessness in Chicago need. 

We spent years building a broad coalition made up of people with lived experience of homelessness, union members, faith leaders, social service providers, community organizations, and grassroots volunteers. The opposition tried to intimidate, misinform, and outspend us, but we always had the will and the power of the people on our side. 

The March 19th election results did not end the fight. Instead, they amplify our commitment to finding solutions for housing insecurity and addressing homelessness.  

Despite this obvious setback, we continue to stay focused on what matters most: the building of a long-term movement for housing justice, with, for, and by the 68,000 Chicagoans experiencing homelessness in one of the richest cities in the world. We invite all who share this vision to join us for the next chapter. The fight for housing justice continues because housing is a human right. 

Want to help win Bring Chicago Home on March 19? Here’s how to vote if you are experiencing homelessness 

A group of protestors holds up a banner saying "Bring Chicago Home."

The Importance of Voting 

This upcoming election holds a special significance for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In addition to voting on key races at local and national levels, at the end of the ballot, you will find a referendum question – known as Bring Chicago Home or Ballot Question One – which would give the city the authority to restructure the city’s real estate transfer tax (the one-time tax paid when a property is bought) so that anyone buying a property for under $1 million would pay a lesser rate, and anyone buying a property for over $1 million would pay a marginally higher rate. All the new funds from the real estate transfer tax would be legally dedicated toward affordable housing and supportive services to prevent homelessness. 

This moment has been years in the making. After years of organizing to create a dedicated stream of funding to address homelessness by amending the real estate transfer tax, the Bring Chicago Home coalition – convened by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless – successfully lobbied City Council to put a referendum question to authorize the restructuring of the real estate transfer tax on the ballot. The ballot question is a necessary legal step to pass an ordinance in City Council to implement Bring Chicago Home’s proposal.  

Despite an initial court ruling suppressing the vote on the ballot, on March 6th that decision was overturned. This means that on March 19th – you will have the opportunity to vote on a proposal that would dramatically shift how Chicago addresses its housing and homelessness crisis. You have an opportunity to help Bring Chicago Home by voting YES on Ballot Question One. 

A Black woman in her 20s sits at a table with paper in front of her.
Evie, a volunteer with the Bring Chicago Home campaign, helps out at a CCH West Side Canvass on February 3, 2024.

Voting While Experiencing Homelessness 

All people experiencing homelessness  whether they are street-based, living in shelters, or doubled-up in the homes of others  have the right to vote. This right is protected by state and federal laws, including the 2013 Illinois Bill of Rights for the Homeless Act

You can check online to see if you are registered here

You can register to vote at an Early Voting Site OR on Election Day! 

Any Illinois resident ages 18 or older can register to vote on Election Day at the precinct polling place assigned to their residential mailing address. Chicago residents can also register at the Loop Super Site located downtown. 

You are required to bring two (2) forms of identification (ID) when registering to vote on-site, including one that shows proof of residence or a mailing address. Acceptable forms of ID include mail postmarked to the applicant; an Illinois driver’s license or state ID card; a municipal ID card (for example, the Chicago CityKey); an employee or student ID; Social Security card; birth certificate; credit card; valid U.S. passport; and lease or rental contract. 

Illinois residents who are homeless have the right to vote in all local, state, and national elections, including the upcoming Primary Election on March 19th. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Illinois permits residents to vote early and request to vote by mail without providing an excuse or reason for this request. Also, Illinois residents can vote on Election Day even if they are not yet registered to vote. 

As one form of ID, a person experiencing homelessness can provide a letter from a drop-in center, shelter, or the person in whose home they are living doubled-up. The letter must confirm that the named person has permission to use the address to register to vote.

To register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on or before Election Day, and not claim the right to vote elsewhere. 

You cannot vote if you are currently incarcerated for a conviction. But, if you are in pre-trial detention and have not been convicted, you remain eligible to vote. Learn more about  how to vote in pre-trial detention. 

A crowd of protestors stands in an intersection with a banner reading "Bring Chicago Home."

When is ID needed and not needed to vote?  

Identification is not necessary if the person experiencing homelessness has already registered to vote at the polling place; the signature they provide matches the one on file; and an election judge does not challenge the person’s right to vote. 

But identification is necessary in these situations: 

  • They registered by mail and did not include the Illinois ID/driver’s license number or Social Security number. 
  • An election judge challenges the person’s right to vote. Please note: A common reason for challenging a person’s right to vote occurs after the Board of Elections has sent mail to verify a voter’s mailing address, but the mail was returned. 
  • The individual is registering to vote on-site (see above) 

If a voter needs to show ID but is unable to do so, they may cast a provisional ballot. For that provisional ballot to be counted, the voter must present ID within seven (7) days of the election to the Board of Elections. 

Voting after a recent move, whether homeless or housed 

If you moved within the same precinct within 27 days of the election, you can vote a full ballot by signing an affidavit. 

If you moved outside of your precinct more than 30 days before the election and did not register in your new precinct, you may grace-period update your registration through Election Day, and then grace-period vote. 

If you moved outside of your precinct less than 30 days before the election, but still live in Illinois and did not transfer your registration, you may grace-period update your registration to your new address through Election Day and grace-period vote. Or, you can vote a full ballot in your old polling place after completing an affidavit. 

For Election Day assistance, call these legal help desks: 

  • Chicago Board of Elections, (312) 269-7870 
  • Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough office, (312) 603-0236 
  • Illinois State Board of Elections has phone numbers in Chicago at (312) 814-6440, and in Springfield at (217) 782-4141. Operators will be standing by until 11 p.m. in Chicago and until 12 midnight in Springfield. 
A group of protestors stands at an intersection under a green traffic light. One protestor's sign reads "Love Your Neighbor."
Bring Chicago Home coalition members rally outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home on December 19, 2022.

By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation 

CCH’s Response to Governor Pritzker’s FY25 Budget Address 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is mindful of the state’s budget constraints and Governor Pritzker’s focus on putting the state in good economic standing. With the cost of housing and other essentials rising, the state has a responsibility to prioritize the needs of the unhoused.  

Photo of IL Gov JB Pritzker

We laud the Governor’s continued commitment to the Home Illinois initiative, which addresses homelessness through a holistic approach, and understand there are several pipeline pathways needed to support people to maintain stable housing. This initiative is helping Illinois make progress in our efforts to end homelessness across the state.   

We fully support the state’s intentional focus on addressing Black homelessness. The disproportionate number of Black Illinoisans who face homelessness is one more area where we see the manifestation of systemic racism. As part of our advocacy to address this inequity, CCH will advocate for increases in funding to important, ongoing work, such as funding homeless youth, supportive housing, homelessness prevention and emergency shelters, while also dedicating $5 million in the Illinois State Board of Education budget to support the needs of students experiencing homelessness. 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report: Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates, conducted in January 2023, homelessness increased by 12% from 2022. In Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) reported 58,498 students experiencing homelessness during the 2022-23 school year, a 22% increase from the year before. As of January 31, 2024, Chicago Public Schools identified 22,777 students experiencing homelessness. This represents a 57% one-year increase and the highest number ever identified at this point in the school year. School districts statewide need funding to provide services and supports to students, especially as American Rescue Plan funds are coming to an end.    

In his address, Governor Pritzker shared the story of Jasmine, a pregnant mother of five in Oak Park experiencing homelessness. Jasmine was able to receive the wraparound services her family needed through Housing Forward and is currently stably housed. He is correct in stating, “There are many hundreds of people like Jasmine out there in need of help.” CCH’s grassroots leaders and homeless and housing service providers would go further and say there are thousands of families facing similar predicaments. This is why we continue to advocate for increases in the established line items. As we have seen over the last year, not including funding in their designated line items has caused delays to service providers receiving contracts, which delays funding and being able to provide much-needed services. It means families who could have remained housed experience homelessness, it means families like Jasmine’s are sleeping in unsafe places because shelter beds are unavailable, it means a shelter hoping to hire a new staff person to support youth in their programs kept that position open for an additional six months awaiting the contracting process. Home Illinois is a great initiative, but its goal of eradicating homelessness is undermined when providers are unable to provide services due to administrative delays.  

We commend the Governor’s understanding that housing is truly a human right and that a person’s citizenship status should not determine whether they have access to safe and affordable housing. The additional $182 million in funding for migrant services in his budget proposal makes this commitment clear. The Governor and the General Assembly have shown through their actions over the past few years that they want to invest in the needs of those who are too often pushed to the margins. We look forward to working with them this year to enact a 2025 budget that continues to support all Illinoisans.  

CCH honors community members who made our 2023 victories possible

  • CCH grassroots leaders and their families pose with Mayor Brandon Johnson.
  • Carla Johnson, a CCH Board Member and grassroots leader, hugs Ald. Hadden while presenting her award.
  • A group of 9 multi-racial adults stand beside Julie Campos, a Latina woman holding her young son,
  • A group of 13 multi-racial, multi-generational people stand side by side behind a podium. Most are holding certificates.
  • Leaders Myron Byrd, Bianca Hardy, and Carla Johnson with Mayor Johnson.
  • A large group of people sit in folding chairs watching a presentation off camera.

More than 100 community leaders, elected officials, and coalition members gathered at Grace Episcopal Church on January 22 to celebrate CCH’s accomplishments over the past year. 

The evening began with opening remarks from Maxica Williams, President of CCH’s Board of Directors and a longtime grassroots leader with the coalition.

“Through advocating, lobbying, and working hard, the accomplishments for 2023 were plentiful, unique, trendsetting, and successful moves in the right direction to eliminating some of the outdated laws and policies that were direct barriers that have led to homelessness,” shared Maxica.

Continue reading CCH honors community members who made our 2023 victories possible

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.

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!” 

Pat speaks up to help others

Black grandmother and her three grandkids -- ages 11, 12, and 16 -- pose smiling with their arms around each other. They are sitting on a bench and wearing winter jackets. Banner text reads: Pat speaks up to help others

Born to a large family with nine siblings, Patricia “Pat” Franklin understands the importance of working together so that everyone has what they need to thrive. A grandmother of three and self-described jokester, Pat aspires to make the world better for families like hers.

“Growing up, I never knew we were poor,” recalls Pat. “Sleeping three to a bed – I just thought that’s the way it was. My mother was always helping and taking people in. She taught me that there’s always someone else out there who is worse off than you.”

Today, Pat channels her mother’s generous spirit by serving as grassroots leader with CCH, leading advocacy efforts to support people experiencing homelessness.

“CCH is like my second family,” Pat said. “I just love being here and advocating. By sharing my story, I hope it helps the next family and prevents them from going through what I did.”

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