Streets Blog Chicago: Homeless coalition hopes CTA security plan won’t “criminalize” unhoused people on the ‘L’

By Amber Drea

Unarmed CTA security guards on the Jackson Blue Line platform. Photo: John Greenfield Last Wednesday Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with the heads of the Chicago Police Department and the CTA, announced at a press conference that police resources would be shifted from the Bureau of Counterterrorism to the ‘L’ system in order to address the spike in violent crime on transit during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many Chicagoans have been experiencing economic and mental health crises. The deployed officers (asked how many, police chief David Brown simply said replied, “As much as we need to send to the CTA to make it safe,”) will focus on the 24-hour Red and Blue lines, using data to target high-crime stops with an emphasis on preventing gang- and drug-related violence.

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Rampant Magazine: Chicago’s Houselessness Is Entirely Avoidable

By Tyler Zimmer

The warmth of summer has left Chicago—and temperatures are steadily dropping as winter intensifies. In a matter of days, the weather will be freezing. That is a matter of life and death for the tens of thousands of people currently experiencing houslessness in the city.  

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, there were 58,273 unhoused Chicagoans in 2019, and the economic turbulence caused by the ongoing pandemic has probably caused that number to rise. A significant percentage of those without homes are minors. This year, for example, the Chicago Public School system reported serving 10,836 homeless students. And the majority of Chicagoans without housing are people of color; CCH reports that roughly 60 percent of those affected are Black, and 25 percent are Latinx. 

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Chalkbeat: Illinois students missed a lot of school last year: ‘It’s a sign that something isn’t working’

By Samantha Smylie

For the past 19 years, when students in Kane County have missed school, Kari Glenn has visited their homes to see what’s preventing them from attending classes. As a truancy officer, she says this year has been the hardest. In one of the families Glenn works with, the single parent died, leaving behind four young children. “Now they’re going to be living with a relative and that relative isn’t completely prepared to take on four little kids,“ she said. 

Continue reading Chalkbeat: Illinois students missed a lot of school last year: ‘It’s a sign that something isn’t working’

BuzzFeed News: A Photographer Documented The Housing Crisis By Asking People How They Became Homeless

By Kate Bubacz

The problem of unaffordable housing — and the inextricable problem of people experiencing homelessness — is so obvious in major cities, including New York, where I live, that it can be overwhelming. For some, that feeling can be translated into a sense of learned blindness — If I don’t look too hard, it is not a problem, and certainly not my problem.

Jeffrey Wolin, a photographer in Chicago and professor emeritus at Indiana University, has taken the opposite approach. He has spent the last several years talking with and documenting the circumstances of people who are homeless. He works with advocacy organizations, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, to find participants. 

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Chicago Tribune: Second-chance hiring gains momentum in Illinois but barriers remain. ‘I know of companies that prey on people with records because they know they need a job.’

By Jade Yan 

Over 20 years ago, Sontcerá McWilliams was driving her car on Chicago’s South Side near 83rd Street when she got into an accident. The man who’d crashed into her saw her gun, which had been in the trunk with her groceries. Though she had a license, she was taken to jail and charged with unlawful use of a weapon, she said. Three months later, McWilliams, from Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, was fired from her new job because her weapon charge was still in the system as a felony, not the misdemeanor she had ended up with, she said.

Continue reading Chicago Tribune: Second-chance hiring gains momentum in Illinois but barriers remain. ‘I know of companies that prey on people with records because they know they need a job.’

Chicago Sun-Times: To curb gun violence, Chicago must have more safe and affordable housing

By Regan Thomas, M.D., president, Illinois State Medical Society

As a resident of the 3rd Ward and recent resident of the 4th Ward, I was saddened to read the recent article “Violent death of Chinese student in Hyde Park sparks calls for action — but few specifics on how to combat city’s rising crime.” I am deeply concerned about preventable violence in the communities where my friends, family, and colleagues reside.

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Chicago Sun-Times: Sleepless night under Chicago stars affords time to contemplate youth homelessness

By Mark Brown

Snow flurries were falling Thursday evening in East Garfield Park when we arrived at Covenant House, a shelter and resource center for young people experiencing homelessness. It was one last sign to make me doubt the wisdom of my promise to join the organization’s annual Sleep Out Chicago event raising funds for — and awareness about — youth homelessness. What made me think I could withstand even one night outside in sub-freezing temperatures, even though homeless people do it night after night.

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Chicago Defender: LYTE Collective Aims to Reduce Homelessness on SouthSide

By Danielle Sanders, Interim Managing Editor

LYTE Collective serves young adults impacted by poverty and homelessness. Their mission is to support every young adult, end harmful systems that cause young people to need help in the first place, and build a more just and equitable world together with all who aspire to do better by young people.

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WTTW: Mayor’s 2022 Budget Proposal Includes $214M in Housing Aid

This story is part of WTTW’s Firsthand initiative exploring poverty in Chicago.

By Leslie Hurtado

The city’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year will include up to $214 million in housing assistance for Chicago’s homeless population, with funding provided by the American Rescue Plan, also known as the federal stimulus package. The budget package will be the largest investment from the city to address homelessness.

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WBEZ Chicago: Chicago’s Proposed Budget Would Steer Millions Toward Homelessness, Trees And More

By Mariah Woelfel

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has long faced criticism that she hasn’t put resources behind some of the progressive policy proposals she got elected on.

After the mayor last week outlined her $16.7 billion so-called “Recovery Budget,” which is propped up by a windfall of federal stimulus money, advocates across Chicago tell WBEZ they’re optimistic that might be changing. But, some worry the progress will be short-lived, built on a massive influx of federal dollars that won’t last.

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