Gesenia Viviescas holds many identities. She is a master’s student. A Fulbright scholar. A woman of color. She is a chef and entrepreneur, co-owning a cooking business with her mother. She is a sister and daughter. An aspiring social worker. A writer. Gesenia has also experienced homelessness.
Growing up, Gesenia remembers having an “obscured” feeling of home, moving from Chicago, to Florida, to her parents’ native Colombia. As teens, Gesenia and her sister moved back to Chicago for high school, seeking better educational opportunities. They initially stayed with a family member, later bouncing around multiple friends’ and relatives’ houses. Gesenia sold chocolate bars to provide for herself and her sister.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is disappointed that many Illinois voters chose to not support the Fair Tax, a reform that would have made our tax system fairer and helped address the state’s structural deficit.
We are grateful to all of CCH’s supporters, partners, and allies that worked tirelessly to fight for this reform, logging hundreds of hours of work.
While the movement for progressive income for Illinois did not win this year, CCH, along with our partners in this fight, will continue to push for a system that ensures millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless received nearly $1,500 in donations in response to a fire that occurred at a homeless encampment near Belmont and Kedzie avenues earlier this month.
The October 5 fire destroyed several residents’ personal belongings, including tents, blankets, mattresses, clothing, and other necessities for living on the street. Three people also suffered minor injuries.
The first question on Illinois ballots this election asks voters whether they support an amendment to the Illinois constitution to change our unfair flat income tax to a fair graduated tax. We encourage you to vote YES.
Right now, Illinois is one of only nine 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.
Passing a Fair Tax would relieve the burden on the lowest income Illinoisans. Under this plan, anyone who earns less than $250,000 would pay the same or less in income taxes, and those who make more than $250,000 would pay a slightly higher rate, but only on their income over $250,000.
By Sophie Babcock, Associate Board Co-Vice President, Events
Do you have a talent or fun skill you’re proud of? Or know someone in your network who does? We are now recruiting participants for the CCH Associate Board’s upcoming virtual Variety Show on Thursday, December 10 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Whether you are a singer, dancer, musician, comic, or just someone who loves to take on a fundraising challenge, we invite you to participate! The show will feature talents ranging from pie-eating to juggling, so please don’t be shy and feel free to think outside of the box.
On October 9, members of CCH’s CPS Focus Group, a committee of grassroots leaders with children or grandchildren attending Chicago Public Schools, participated in a panel discussion at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) virtual conference.
The discussion centered on effective communication strategies between school personnel and parents experiencing homelessness during COVID-19. The parents shared their struggles with distance learning and gave their suggestions for school staff.
On September 24, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless hosted its first virtual gala, No Place Like Home: Celebrating 40 Years of Advocacy.
Through generous sponsorships, including lead sponsors Baker McKenzie and JP Morgan, individual contributions, and the proceeds of an online auction, the event raised more than $225,000 to support CCH’s mission to prevent and end homelessness.
By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation
COVID-19 Related Voting Procedures
Due to the pandemic, individuals are encouraged to vote early or by mail to minimize crowds and long waits on Election Day. Those who request vote-by-mail ballots have options for how to drop them off. Local Boards of Election throughout Illinois are setting up secure ballot drop boxes for those who would prefer not to mail in their ballots. Voters can visit this portal on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website to find their nearest ballot drop box location. Chicago drop box locations can be found here.
PLEASE NOTE: Drop boxes will NOT be available at your precinct polling place on Election Day. If you bring a ballot there, you’ll have to surrender the vote-by-mail ballot and vote a new ballot in person.
In Chicago, voters can also drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at every Early Voting Site beginning October 14, or return their ballots directly to the Chicago Board of Elections at 69 W. Washington on the sixth floor. And of course, vote-by-mail ballots can also be returned in the mail, but must be postmarked by November 3, Election Day. An informational palm card is available here.