Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ Fund will provide up to $500 to those who are or have been homeless.
Updated July 12 – The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the hardships experienced by people who are homeless as well as those at-risk of homelessness. With the impending end of the eviction moratorium, many more Illinoisians will be placed further at-risk of homelessness.
Responding to pressing community need, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) reopened the CCH Mutual Aid Fund. The Fund will provide direct cash support of $500 to Illinois residents in need.
Applications were available from July 1 until the 500-application cap was reached on July 12.
CCH grassroots leaders – people who have experienced homelessness and work in partnership with CCH staff – run the fund. Leaders designed the fund and are currently processing applications to determine which requests will receive support.
Applicants can expect to hear back on the status of their application by August 11. All funds are expected to be distributed by October 10.
“Tragically, the homeless community has been overlooked and underserved. The COVID-19 crisis is no exception. It is important that the Mutual Aid Fund is governed by people with lived experience because we have a unique perspective on the needs of our community,” says Edrika Fulford, a grassroots leader and founding member of the Mutual Aid Committee.
“As an organization that works to build power for people who are often pushed to the side, it is important to CCH that we create a fund run by our leaders,” adds Alyssa Rodriguez, community organizer for CCH.
During the application period, people could apply online in English or Spanish through the CCH website or over the phone. Spanish-speaking operators were available.
The fund is open to current residents of Illinois who are currently homeless or who are at risk of homelessness due to eviction notice or domestic violence. Applicants must be at least 18 years old; or if an unaccompanied youth, at least 16 years old. One grant per household.
“Right now, families are struggling–some are in shelters. Receiving the fund could give them hope for the future and help them get housed,” says Elizabeth Maldonado, grassroots leader and Mutual Aid Committee member.
The CCH Mutual Aid Fund originally launched in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past year, the fund has served more than 400 households experiencing homelessness.
“Helping others with financial grants to assist them through the struggles of their homeless crisis was empowering. Knowing that I was able to help others with a financial means during the pandemic that had no other help was truly the greatest way to advocate for the homeless and help them,” says Maxica Williams, a grassroots leader and member of the Mutual Aid Committee.
The fund expects to have up to $200,000 to distribute, thanks to support given by an anonymous donor. But requests for support are greater than available funding. CCH continues to accept designated donations so that it can assist as many people as possible. Individuals interested in supporting the fund can donate at www.chicagohomeless.org/MutualAid.
Please contact Alyssa Rodriguez at (773) 906-3568 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the program.
“With over 80,000 people in Chicago experiencing homelessness, we know that this fund cannot help everyone facing hardship. But we hope that it can make a difference in the lives of those we can reach as we continue to advocate for broader systems change, putting both funding and policies in place that will end homelessness once and for all,” says Doug Schenkelberg, CCH’s Executive Director.
Since 1980, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) has had a clear mission: “We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.” For more information on how CCH is advocating permanent solutions to homelessness, please visit BringChicagoHome.org. Bring Chicago Home is a campaign committed to creating a dedicated revenue stream to combat homelessness in Chicago.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Originally published on June 30, this article was updated July 12 to include information about application closure and projected notification and distribution dates.