Help for Students Experiencing Homelessness Is On The Way

American Rescue Plan brings $800 million in federal funding; Illinois to receive $33 million.

By Patricia Nix-Hodes, Director of the Law Project

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced plans, as part of the American Rescue Plan, to distribute $800 million in federal funding to ensure that students experiencing homelessness are identified, enrolled in school, and provided with services to ensure their success. This week, $200 million of the funding was released to states. Illinois will receive a total allocation of more than $33 million with $8.2 million already released.   

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CCH Statement: Mayor Lightfoot’s Reform of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance falls short

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) stands in support of the Chicago Inclusionary Housing Ordinance put forth by many of our partners in the fight for affordable housing in Chicago. We are disappointed that Mayor Lightfoot’s alternative ordinance fell so far short of what was needed to stem gentrification and to begin to close the housing affordability gap. Chicago needs 120,000 more homes affordable to our city’s residents who are living on low wages and/or experiencing homelessness.  

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CCH Statement: We condemn the murder of Adam Toledo

The murder of Adam Toledo at the hands of Chicago Police is indefensible. As an organization that works regularly with Chicago youth, we see in Adam what we see in other young people we work with every day – people that are important members of our community who make our city stronger and better. He was killed because the foundation of our policing system is violence and racism, and it runs through every piece of the machinery.

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CCH’s 2021 state legislative agenda, explained

This spring the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is advocating for a number of statewide measures in Springfield that would help remove barriers for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness. CCH policy and organizing staff, along with our grassroots leaders, are currently leading efforts to pass three bills that will impact college students experiencing homelessness, extremely low-income families and children, and people with criminal legal system involvement, including returning citizens.   

CCH is advocating for the following legislation:  

SB190: College accessibility for students experiencing homelessness 

A study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago found that 29% of young adults experiencing homelessness are enrolled in college or another educational program.  

SB190 would create a HOUSE (Housing and Opportunities that are Useful for Students’ Excellence) liaison at Illinois colleges and universities to provide support and resources to students experiencing homelessness. The bill also requires institutions that have on-campus housing to prioritize placement for homeless students, including during school breaks. 

  • Sponsors: Sen. Glowiak Hilton (chief sponsor), Sen. Pacione-Zayas, Sen. Bennet, Sen. Peters (chief co-sponsors) 
  • SB190 Fact Sheet 

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Housing and employment reform bills signed into law

As a part of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI), CCH advocated for the inclusion of two housing and employment reform bills within the economic opportunities pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ four pillar lame-duck session agenda.  

The two bills, the Employee Background Fairness Act (SB1480) and the Public Housing Access Bill (SB1980) passed both chambers of the General Assembly in January, and were signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on March 23. Both bills were sponsored by Rep. Sonya Harper and Sen. Christopher Belt.  

“This pillar advances our common vision for equity and inclusion by recognizing and addressing communities that have historically been cut out of the conversation,” Pritzker said before signing the bills. “That means addressing the impact of a criminal record, which shouldn’t prevent you from ever getting a job or having a roof over your head.” 

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American Rescue Plan Act includes funding to combat homelessness, poverty, and housing instability

By Mary Frances Charlton, Youth Health Attorney

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) to address the continuing COVID-19 health and economic crisis. This landmark $1.9 trillion relief package includes nearly $50 billion in essential housing and homelessness assistance. The bill also includes increases to nutritional assistance, stimulus funding, increased child tax credits and more.

Below is an outline of what we view as the strongest steps taken in ARP to combat homelessness, poverty, and housing instability. Given the wide-ranging scope of ARP assistance, this list only includes certain portions of the funding allocations ARP contains. However, the full text of the bill can be found here.

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CCH to convene our second Advocacy Cohort

Are you concerned about the growing issue of homelessness in Chicago? Interested in developing new skills and making an impact to address homelessness head on? Looking to connect with like-minded individuals and get valuable field experience?

The CCH organizing department will convene a Spring Advocacy Cohort, which aims to build power that will lead to real, systems change. By participating in this cohort, you will have the opportunity to learn core principles of community organizing, network with other social justice advocates, and better understand how to implement tools to shift power and make policy change. All participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

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CCH Scholarship Program graduate Mahalia Crawford successfully defends master’s thesis

We are proud to share that 2018 CCH Scholarship Program graduate Mahalia Crawford successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “No Time to Grieve: Mothers of the Movement and the Media” last November. She is pursuing a PhD in sociology, with a focus on race and crime, at Louisiana State University. 

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