An estimated 13,054 Chicago families experienced homelessness in the 2014-15 school year. Yet on average, less than 1% – or 123 families – access permanent affordable housing each year.

PrintChicago Coalition for the Homeless manages HomeWorks, a multi-year campaign to create affordable housing for homeless families and improve school services for homeless students in Chicago.

Working with parent leaders and family housing providers, HomeWorks advocates for improved school services and more family-sized housing with supportive services, including housing for families doubled-up in the homes of others.

“The city of Chicago must commit to ending family homelessness, just it has pledged to end homelessness among veterans,” said CCH Policy Director Julie Dworkin during the campaign’s launch in November 2015.

Initiatives include advocacy with Chicago Public Schools to enact an updated homeless education policy, adopted in April 2016. Parents and students on our Education Committee worked for the new policy, in collaboration with our Law Project.

HomeWorks advocated for adoption of Chicago’s Airbnb ordinance, enacted by the City Council in June 2016. The ordinance allocates a 4% surcharge to fund supportive services and housing for homeless people.

In April 2017, the HomeWorks campaign joined the city of Chicago in announcing the city’s new school-based housing initiative, called Housing Support for CPS Families in Transition (FIT). Launched in the 2017-18 school year, FIT offers permanent supportive housing to 100 homeless families attending six Chicago elementary schools located in high-crime neighborhoods. The program assessed the most vulnerable families, a city-funded program that for the first time includes families that are doubled-up. Funding is provided by the city’s Airbnb tax, and $1 million from the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, using revenue streams advocated by CCH.

HomeWorks campaign partners: AIDS Foundation, Catholic Charities, CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing), Facing Forward to End Homelessness, Family Rescue, Heartland Alliance, Inner Voice, Inspiration Corporation, New Moms, Inc., Primo Center for Women and Children, Renaissance Social Services, and Unity Parenting and Counseling

HomeWorks gratefully acknowledges project-specific support from Polk Bros. Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust, through its Housing+ grant program.

For more information, contact Associate Policy Director Mary Tarullo.