WBEZ: A U.S. Supreme Court case could affect homeless people in Chicago and Illinois

By Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, April 11, 2024

In 2015, Robert Henderson returned from panhandling to the viaduct under which he was sleeping on Chicago’s West Side. He was unhoused at the time.

“When I came back, I saw a blue garbage truck,” recalled Henderson, now 70. “When I finally looked around, everything that I owned at that particular time was thrown in the garbage truck.”

His belongings included blood pressure medicine, his Social Security and Medicaid cards, a copy of his birth certificate, family photos and clippings of loved ones’ obituaries.

With help from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Henderson sued and settled a case against the city of Chicago on the grounds that tossing his belongings violated Illinois’ Homeless Bill of Rights, enacted in 2013.

Now, Henderson, who has lived in a Chicago Housing Authority apartment for the past seven years, is using his experience to speak out against a high-profile case on the U.S. Supreme Court docket.

Sun-Times: Blankets, gloves, a tent and some propane protect some homeless Chicagoans during ‘brutal’ cold snap

A man in a heavy parka warms himself by an outdoor trash fire.

By David Struett, Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless doesn’t perform street outreach, and instead focuses on advocacy and legal assistance.

Its executive director, Doug Schenkelberg, said that extreme weather events — such as this cold snap or heat waves in the summer — are examples of why the city needs more robust homeless services.

“We push over and over that we need better funded long-term strategies, primarily long-term access to housing, so when crisis like this pops up, we have fewer people in harm’s way to begin with,” he said.

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As CPS identification of homeless students drops, CCH offers recommendations

By Alyssa Phillips, Education Attorney

The number of students identified as homeless in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) declined 34% since the 2018-19 school year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and school districts nationwide faced unprecedented challenges. School districts, including CPS, implemented remote, hybrid, and in-person learning models as COVID-19 cases and deaths ravaged communities, hitting communities of color especially hard. In CPS, it was particularly challenging for schools to identify and serve students experiencing homelessness.  

Continue reading As CPS identification of homeless students drops, CCH offers recommendations

2020 Census deadline update: count now continues through October 15

Updated October 14

The deadline to respond to the 2020 Census has changed. Data collection will now end on Thursday, October 15, at 11:59 p.m. Hawaii Time, which is 5 a.m. Central Standard Time, Friday, October 16.

You can read the U.S. Census Bureau’s full statement here.

That means there is still time to respond to the Census and to make sure our communities get counted.Census 2020: People experiencing homelessness count too!

As of October 13,  Chicago’s self-response rate is only 60.5%, so there is still work to do!

Continue reading 2020 Census deadline update: count now continues through October 15