Showcasing Horizons Poets: Commitment, Community, Dignity and Power

Above: Brooklyn Silas first joined Horizons two years ago, which allowed her to continue cultivating her longtime love of writing Brooklyn knows firsthand that creating and sharing art can have a ripple effect. “Writing poetry, this is bigger than me. When I write, it’s not just about me expressing myself. Who am I going to touch with these words?”

Above: Taishi Neuman a longtime grassroots leader with CCH, member of the Speakers Bureau and CPS focus group and participant in the Horizons creative writing program.  Though she was hesitant to write and publicly recite her poetry when she first joined Horizons two years ago, Ms. Neuman now appreciates the power of creative writing. “When you read poetry, it helps you. Because I love it now. I read not only my poetry, I read other people’s poetry.”

Horizons Creative Writing

CCH’s creative writing program Horizons offers creative writing workshops to parents experiencing homelessness who live at family shelters, as well as residents of adult shelters located in Chicago. Horizons was launched in 2007 by Director of Organizing Wayne Richard, a staff member since 2000. Wayne first became involved with CCH as a grassroots leader, when he lived in a West Side shelter that hosted an earlier version of the writing program.

“Everyone has a song to sing,” says Wayne, pointing to pieces written by participants that range from emotional to wistful, hopeful to angry. Most of the writing is “about relationships to someone or something – the lack of, or need of, or appreciation of relationships.”

Horizons poets, Taishi Neuman and Brooklyn Silas recently showcased their poetry.

Taishi Neuman has been involved with CCH for 11 years as a grassroots leader, as well as participating in the Speakers Bureau and CPS focus group. Poetry has helped her unpack her experience with homelessness and express the words in her heart. Neuman’s poem “Life Journey,” featured above and on YouTube, outlines many of her own experiences.

For Brooklyn Silas, participating in Horizons gives her an opportunity to express her feelings and be in solidarity with others when taking action isn’t always an option.

Associate Director of Organizing, Strategic Campaigns

About CCH:

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 43-year-old systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness–lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders within the homeless population to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values: collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality.

Job Purpose:

The Associate Director of Organizing, Strategic Campaigns is responsible for CCH’s city-level strategic organizing campaigns. This position will support and co-develop Chicago organizing staff and help craft overall strategy, as well as lead a planning process with our grassroot base and allied organizations that advance our housing public policy goals. This position also will work to advance racial equity.
Initially, this work will focus on an initiative that brings together key stakeholders to change policies and laws to create a dedicated stream of revenue for affordable housing and services for those experiencing homelessness. The Associate Director will also play a leadership role in establishing and operating a new 501(c)4 companion organization. This position provides leadership on CCH’s organizing team and works in close collaboration with CCH’s policy and legal departments.

Duties Include:

  • Work in close collaboration with the Director of Organizing and the policy department on the development and execution of CCH’s organizing and advocacy campaigns.
  • Provide strategic leadership on 501(c)4 activities, including, but not limited to:
    • Helping lead c4 eligible work,
    • Providing strategic guidance on 501(c)4 allowable activities,
    • Training staff and grassroots leadership on 501(c)4 work,
    • And, in conjunction with CCH’s administrative department, ensuring compliance with relevant rules and regulations.
  • Staff and provide leadership in campaign coalitions.
  • Plan and execute campaign strategy in partnership with other key staff and coalition partners.
  • Promote and facilitate relationships with key current and potential partners.
  • Plan and execute direct actions and other tactics, including the coordination of neighborhood-level
    fieldwork such as canvassing and door knocking.
  • Supervise and mentor staff organizers and grassroots leaders to deepen advocacy skills and political analysis.
  • Help to design and conduct workshops and presentations that prepare base members to lead
    elements of our campaigns.
  • Co-lead the development of a core group of leaders’ engagement in campaign strategy and decision making.
  • Assist with CCH’s community organizing training, which also helps build skills and knowledge of our
    base members and stakeholders.

We’re seeking candidates who excel in relationship-building and collaboration, who are results-oriented, strong strategic thinkers, who want to build power, and who have strong project management skills.

  • 5 or more years prior experience leading grassroots organizing or political campaigns
  • Ability to formulate and deliver on short-term and long-term campaign-building goals.
  • Coalition experience and skills in navigating organizational relationships.
  • Experience leading work within a 501(c)4 environment and a strong understanding of related
    rules and regulations.
  • Familiarity with a diverse range of organizing tactics and strategies.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead direct actions and events.
  • Experience supervising organizers.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills including the ability to establish and
    cultivate respectful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to create and facilitate trainings and workshops.
  • Demonstrated ability to stay on task and meet deadlines and goals.
  • Detail oriented and the ability to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Commitment to racial, economic, gender and social justice.
  • Appreciation for work-life balance.
  • Proficient in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and VAN.
  • Spanish language skills are a plus.

Salary range: $76,125 -$79,125

Salary above the base salary is available if the candidate meets one or more of the following criteria – demonstrated second language proficiency ($1,000), lived experience of homelessness ($1,000), certification in racial equity work ($1,000).

Excellent benefits, including health, four weeks of paid vacation, and a sabbatical program.

Please send a resume and cover letter to: with the subject line “Associate Director of Organizing, Strategic Campaigns”
Deadline to apply is November 20th.

As of July 1, 2022, all employees should be up to date on vaccination series as indicated by the CDC. The currently approved vaccines under this policy are Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and boosters. No vaccine shall be designated unless and until itis fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization. Employees are in compliance with the vaccine mandate two weeks after receiving the last vaccination required to be up-to-date in the series. Timing and dosage (one shot for Johnson & Johnson, two shots for Moderna with 28 days between shots, two shots for Pfizer with 21 days between shots and boosters as they become eligible).

Prospective employees will be expected to comply with this policy within two months of accepting their offer of employment.

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.

People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or any other legally protected status.

More job opportunities beyond “Associate Director of Organizing, Strategic Campaigns” can be found on our “Jobs & Internships” website page.

Bring Chicago Home: Advocates reintroduce resolution at City Hall to combat homelessness

Outside City Hall on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, elected officials and advocates stood together to demonstrate support and to speak on the pressing need to address homelessness and housing instability. As Illinois’ Eviction Moratorium is set to be lifted, a dedicated funding stream for affordable housing is needed. 

Continue reading Bring Chicago Home: Advocates reintroduce resolution at City Hall to combat homelessness