Chicago City Council approves 2024 budget with marginal increases to tackle homelessness crisis 

Bring Chicago Home campaign supporters hold a banner reading "Bring Chicago Home" in front of a crowd.

By Sam Paler-Ponce 

November 20, 2023 

Chicago’s City Council greenlit the 2024 budget, allocating additional resources to respond to the city’s growing homelessness crisis. While the approved budget reveals targeted increases in critical services, much more is needed than these small increases subject to annual appropriations.

Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) estimates 68,440 Chicagoans experiencing homelessness at the beginning of 2022, the most recent data available. This reflects a 2,829-person increase from the previous year—up 4.30 percent. This estimate is inclusive of more than 44,000 Chicagoans doubling up. 

While we are happy to see that some line items are growing—by about 15-percent in total, or a $7 million increase—much more is needed than these small incremental increases subject to annual appropriations. Let’s dive into the key aspects of this budget and understand where the city’s resources are allocated. 

Continue reading Chicago City Council approves 2024 budget with marginal increases to tackle homelessness crisis 

Celebrating Julie Dworkin, A Champion for Homelessness Advocacy 

By Sam Paler-Ponce and Mary Tarullo

Twenty-seven years at the same organization is an incredible achievement and Julie Dworkin, Director of Policy at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, is understandably ready to take on new challenges. She has announced her last day will be November 3.  

Julie is recognized locally and nationally as a committed and tireless advocate and policy expert. She stands out for her unwavering dedication and resilience. Her efforts have made a profound impact in addressing Chicago and Illinois homelessness and housing issues. 

Over the years, Julie played both a contributing and leadership role in a wide range of important policy and budgetary changes at both the city and state level. Below is just a sampling of efforts that Julie lent her presence and voice to. 

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Nia remembers her roots as she spreads her wings

Close-up smiling portrait of Nia Hill, a Black woman in her 20s. She is wearing a white top and large, round, tortoise-shell glasses. Banner text reads: Nia remembers her roots as she spreads her wings.

Nia Hill wants you to know that the West Side of Chicago has great people who do great things. Born and raised in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, she also understands first-hand the barriers that residents in these systemically marginalized communities face.  

“A quick Google search tells you what you want to know,” said Nia on where she grew up, noting the prevalence of violence and poverty caused by institutional racism.  

Nia’s family experienced homelessness when she was in high school after losing their Section 8 voucher. They “bounced around a lot” – staying with an aunt, people from church, and hotels before eventually settling into stable housing.  

“It was a humbling experience,” she recalls, “learning how to do without a place you would normally consider home.”  

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Eating wings for a good cause

CCH’s 3rd Annual Wing Eating Contest was held on September 28 at Woodie’s Flat. Ten fearless competitors squared off to see who could eat the most wings in 30 minutes, raising over $15,700 to support our mission to prevent and end homelessness.

This event was organized by our incredible Associate Board, a group of volunteers who support our advocacy efforts and help raise awareness in their communities.

L – R: Charlie Beneke (2nd Place), Evan Anderson (3rd Place), and Mike Kightly (first 2023 Entry into the Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner Hall of Fame*) *$1,000 or more raised in donations.



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The return of Sips on a Ship – an enjoyable success! 

On the evening of Sunday, August 13, the Associate Board welcomed CCH supporters to board the Chicago’s Leading Lady for a cruise down the Chicago River.  It was a welcome return of an event last staged in 2019.  

CCH supporters (L to R) – Ailleen Gorospe, Ebony Thompson, Claire Sloss and Holly O’Hern toast to another successful Associate Board Fundraiser 


Guests mingled both above deck and below and were treated to a fishbowl raffle of over 45 prizes.  The night was made special by the generous spirit of the ship’s captain and crew.  As attendee Carol Marchán noted: “A familiar tone of camaraderie and friendship was felt throughout the night; unity and contagious positive energy was in the air. The “Sips on a Ship” event was made memorable by the welcoming staff on board, the captain on Chicago’s Leading Lady with his polite and conversational guidance, the unlimited Spanish tapas and drinks, the mesmerizing Chicago skyline and unbeatable energy. I cannot wait for next year.” 

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Cheers! For Systemic Change

11 years ago, the Associate Board of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless was trying to brainstorm a name for their newest fundraising event, a guest bartending night.  “The prevailing joke was, we needed to come up with a better name than my first suggestion: Carousing for Housing,” remembers current Board Secretary, Shane Hopkin.  Eventually, the name Cheers for Change was suggested.  “We were celebrating systemic change, not your spare coins,” explains CCH’s Director of Development, Michael Nameche.  

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CCH boosts college scholarship amount, awards to six new students

Six first-year college students won scholarships awarded by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) in June. They hail from Chicago, Evanston, and West Chicago and will attend universities in Illinois and Washington, D.C.  

Launched in 2004, CCH’s scholarship program provides up to five years of financial support as students work towards a college degree. Twenty-four students will receive scholarships during the 2023 – 24 school year. They include six first-years, six sophomores, seven juniors, and five seniors. They are attending colleges and universities in California, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. 

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2022 Year in Review Report

CCH is grateful for the strong coalition of people with lived experience, community members, direct-service and advocacy organizations, institutional partners, donors, and volunteers who are working every day to prevent and end homelessness. This report highlights our advocacy, organizing, and legal services work over the course of 2022.

You can now view our 2022 Year-in-Review Report below:

2023 CCH advocacy sees wins for students experiencing homelessness and returning citizens

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

The Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its spring session this past Friday evening/Saturday morning (depending on if you think of the glass half full or empty).  Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) worked on several legislative initiatives to best support people experiencing homelessness. With fiscal concerns fueled by an unexpected drop in projected revenue, the budgeteers were a bit more cautious in allocating funding to new and additional services.  

Increased funding for housing and homelessness

This year Chicago Coalition for the Homeless asked for additional funding for four line-items. These line-items directly address housing security including homelessness prevention, homeless youth, permanent supportive housing, and emergency and transitional housing. Service providers struggle with the hard decisions around making cuts to services and turning people and families away when there isn’t enough space or funding to provide them with help. In addition, CCH asked for an increase in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant program.  

Continue reading 2023 CCH advocacy sees wins for students experiencing homelessness and returning citizens

Get Ready to Renew Your Medicaid Coverage

Medicaid customers have not had to renew their Medicaid coverage since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Medicaid pays for healthcare, like doctor visits, prescription medicine, and urgent emergency services.  

Now Illinois is starting renewals again to see if people are still eligible. Everybody’s renewal date is different, so it is critical that you get ready to renew.  

Don’t risk losing your Medicaid Coverage! Here is what you need to do:  

Click Manage My Case at to: 

  • Verify your mailing address under “contact us.” 
  • Find your due date (also called redetermination date) in your “benefit details.”

Watch your mail and complete your renewal right away. 

You can also update your mailing address and find your Medicaid redetermination date by calling 1-800-843-6154.

If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, connect to coverage at work or through the official Affordable Care Act marketplace for Illinois,

Need assistance? Contact CCH Public Benefits Specialist Venus Rivera at