Logan Center: Many of the city’s homeless are not on the streets on a rainy winter night

The back of a woman in a beanie holds a yellow sign reading "Zone 17B."

By Allison Beck and Julius Philp, April 9, 2024

Multiple studies in cities across the country, including New York CityChicago and Houston, have shown that not only does the PIT count miss people that it is intended to capture, but it excludes those living in their cars or abandoned buildings and those in temporary living situations like motels and doubling up.

Doubling up is one of the most common ways that people experience homelessness. It happens when a person or group of people are unable to afford their own housing and are forced to live with others, often leading to overcrowding. It’s also one of the experiences of homelessness that isn’t considered in the point in time count, which is why researchers from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Vanderbilt University created a way to measure it using publicly available data.

“We’ve seen doubled up homelessness is starting to be funded alongside street and shelter homelessness,” said Sam Paler-Ponce, the interim associate director of city policy at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “I don’t think that would have been as possible without a measure to describe the total scope.”

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: A reflection from Associate Board Advocacy Chair Lindsay Welbers

In recognition of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, CCH is sharing reflections from people who work with us – interns, board, and associate board members – writing about what inspires their work. 

Today’s essay is written by Associate Board Advocacy Chair Lindsay Welbers.

Lindsay (left) volunteering in the CCH Riot Fest tent in 2019, pictured here with Community Organizer Bisma Shoukat

Part of the reason that I volunteer to support the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is because they don’t normally ask me for direction. CCH believes that the best people to understand homelessness, and the work that needs to be done to eliminate it, are people who understand that experience. That doesn’t include me, because I have never experienced life on the streets, in a shelter, or doubled-up with someone else. In working with CCH’s grassroots leaders, who do have that experience, I’ve learned a few things: Homelessness is not a moral failing on anyone except the society that allows it to exist, and the kinds of people who experience homelessness are more like me than I thought.

Continue reading National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: A reflection from Associate Board Advocacy Chair Lindsay Welbers