National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: Mother and 18-year-old son share why they’re grassroots leaders

During National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, CCH shares essays by people who work with us, writing about what inspires their work.

Our final essays are written by Margaret Bingham and her son, John Tyrese Daniels. They are grassroots leaders on the Bring Chicago Home housing campaign.

Margaret Bingham and her daughter, Mariah

My name is Margaret Bingham. I became homeless ever since I lost my mom in the year 1991. I didn’t have nobody to turn to. I started sleeping on the bench in the park and my baby Mariah would be sleeping in her stroller. Then I started going to different places to live and went house to house. I would stay with my family members but could not stay with them for too long because the houses would be too crowded. Also, there were multiple deaths in my family since 1991 to 2018, so I have been living doubled-up for years.

I have a 10-year-old daughter named Mariah. She’s been in seven schools since she has been born and lived in different houses. Also, she has been bullied at all the schools she’s been to. But she is a smart girl and all her teachers say that about her.

I like being involved with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless because they help me get resources. I like helping to fight for affordable housing and help homeless people that are living on the street. I want to help the 86,000 people who are homeless right now like me.

Margaret Bingham

I like going to the meetings with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless because they go to Springfield to talk to senators and representatives to help get housing for the homeless in Chicago because we need it.

If you walk down the street today, you will see more people out there sleeping in the parks, at the bus stops, and train stations. It hurts me when I see people living out there in the cold and snowy weather. The city should be helping the homeless. Right now, I need a home that I can call my own.

I will continue to fight until we have housing for everyone.


John Tyrese Daniels, volunteering at a Bring Chicago Home action this summer

Hi, my name is John Tyrese Daniels. I am an 18-year-old male. I was young when I was taken away from my mother. Finding her again and coming home to my mother has been stressful because she doesn’t have a stable place to live. On top of that, I have a 10-year-old sister who has experienced hardship through homelessness at this very time.

Homelessness is a problem. This problem can affect people in many ways. One way is that it puts stress on the table for the family and in this case my single mother. My mother on top of taking care of my little sister with her school also must worry about providing her a warm shelter.

I stress daily thinking about this situation because how can the city not be providing services to families in need.

Margaret and John work with CCH Community Organizer Bisma Shoukat.

Photos by Claire Sloss