Catholic Charities joined CCH in honoring State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) for helping to restore state funding for homeless safety net programs in the current FY 2013 state budget.
Sandra Murray, director of the Catholic Charities Homelessness Prevention Call Center, led Rep. Feigenholtz on a tour of the downtown call center during their Monday meeting.
“If it weren’t for them [Catholic Charities], we would be in bad shape,” Rep. Feignholtz said during her visit.
The Call Center operates as a collaboration between Catholic Charities, the city of Chicago, private foundations, homelessness prevention advocates and service agencies. The Call Center centralizes the process by which people who are homeless or at-risk can access help. Callers are screened to determine if homelessness prevention funds are available, and referred to the appropriate social service agency to process their application.
More than 100,000 households have been helped since 2000, when Illinois began offering one-time homelessness prevention grants to families — a program proposed by CCH’s statewide housing campaign, It Takes a Home to Raise a Child. CCH advocates yearly for prevention funding.
“It’s not about politics, it’s about the poor,” Rep. Feigenholtz said. “We need our community partners to get out there and let people know what this money can mean for real people.”
Call Specialists are on standby around the clock, seven days a week, and can assist callers in 170 languages. In the past three months, the Call Center has received requests for help from 6,296 distinct callers. Chicago residents can access the Homelessness Prevention Call Center by dialing 3-1-1. Suburban Cook County residents can call (877) 4-COOK-15.