Many thanks for your generous support on Giving Tuesday, a global day of charitable giving held Nov. 29. We sought to raise $8,000, and by day’s end, 89 donors generously gave $8,755, surpassing our goal by 9%. We are so grateful!
We’re also thankful for our youngest donor, Peninah. Accompanied by her mother, Anika, the 5-year-old donated $215.58 to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), most of it earned running a hot cider stand Sunday in her South Side neighborhood.
On June 23, CCH awarded $2,500 renewable college scholarships to five new high school graduates who succeeded in school while coping with homelessness. We also presented $2,500 renewal awards to 15 upperclassmen. Thanks to the donors and foundations that fund these scholarships, 50 students received $235,000 through last school year.
Jayme Robinson is 21 and a college graduate. That’s no small feat, considering that she became homeless her senior year of high school.
Earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools updated its policies so that homeless students are now entitled to enrollment without proof-of-residence or guardianship. It also gives these students access to tutoring services, uniforms, and fees waivers, among other things.
Robinson came to the StoryCorps booth at the Chicago Cultural Center with her mentor, Ashley Allen, who used to be homeless as well. They spoke about their experiences growing up, and how that translates into the work they do today, advocating on behalf of the 20,000 homeless students in Chicago Public Schools.
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.
By Hannah Willage, Associate Director of Organizing
Kudos to the Education Committee at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless — the leaders’ group advocated for 18 months for a strong, updated policy on homeless education within the Chicago Public Schools.
As the budget crisis ravages social services across the state, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless traveled to Springfield April 5 with more than 100 homeless youths, Niles Township high school students, and service providers.
The group protested both inside and outside the Executive Mansion to bring attention to their message: “Governor Rauner needs to support legislation that would immediately release funding to ensure homeless youth have a place to lay their heads at night.”
Homeless youth met with the governor himself in February. They recounted the circumstances that lead to their homelessness, how they connected with their service providers, and where they would be without this assistance. The governor listened, promising that he would consider supporting HB4955/SB2603, legislation that would immediately appropriate funding for homeless services in Illinois. Continue reading Youth and service providers protest inside the Executive Mansion
During public schools’ Report Card Pick-Up Day, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless released a report card of its own – assessing how the city of Chicago fails to meets the needs of its homeless students and families.
The report card was released as CCH launches HomeWorks, a multi-year campaign to create affordable housing for homeless families and improve school services for homeless students.
CCH will run another provider survey in November, a shared project with Housing Action Illinois, Corporation for Supportive Housing, and the Supportive Housing Providers Association.
Agencies reported that they have had to limit their intake of new clients; reduce or eliminate services for current clients; layoff staff and/or impose furlough days or reduce work hours; eliminate programs; and/or close sites.
The Illinois General Assembly adjourned May 31 with a “spending plan” for FY16 but without the revenue needed to support that plan, leaving the state budget incomplete.
This plan includes funding reductions for housing and homeless services that are minimal compared to the disastrous cuts recommended in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. The plan rejects the governor’s budget proposal and points to the need to raise revenue to prevent permanent damage to infrastructure that supports kids, communities and working families. Continue reading State budget impasse – the urgent need for Illinois to raise revenue