Chicago Tribune – An estimated 65,611 people in Chicago experienced homelessness in 2020, coalition report says

By  Maddie Ellis September 20, 2022

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development identified 5,390 people experiencing homelessness in Chicago.

But in a new report released Tuesday, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless put forth a different count: 65,611.

Continue reading Chicago Tribune – An estimated 65,611 people in Chicago experienced homelessness in 2020, coalition report says

The Washington Post – America’s first homelessness problem: Knowing who is actually homeless

By  Kyle Swenson August 24, 2022

SEATTLE — Handwritten notes were everywhere, taped into car windows or tucked under windshield wipers or scrawled across van doors. They were public announcements and cryptic rants — tiny splashes of individuality amid the anonymity of garbage piles and ripped tarps surrounding the trailers and campers parked near the railroad tracks south of downtown.

Continue reading The Washington Post – America’s first homelessness problem: Knowing who is actually homeless

Chicago Latina Files Lawsuit Challenging False Arrest By Chicago Police

CHICAGO – A Chicago police officer’s obscene verbal tirade escalated into the officer’s physical assault and false arrest of a Chicago woman in June 2020, according to a federal lawsuit filed today. Chicago police are accused of unlawfully arresting Julie Campos, a Southside Latina resident—who was 19 years old at the time—at her place of employment, a Family Dollar store located on East 79th Street. The ACLU of Illinois (“ACLU”), the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (“CCH”), and the law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP are representing Ms. Campos in the lawsuit challenging false arrest. 
 
Ms. Campos was working at the store on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, cleaning up property damage that had occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The lawsuit asserts that, after Ms. Campos videoed the officer who physically assaulted her, Ms. Campos was falsely arrested on a trumped-up charge and unlawfully detained for hours—separated from her infant son. 

White text in all caps on a blue gradient background reads "Julie Campos v. City Of Chicago, Eric Taylor, and Treacher Howard" Center below text is the CCH Logo, a cartoon person crouched in a white house, to the right of logo reads " Law Project, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless". Lawsuit Challenges False Arrest.

“I was confused and scared throughout this entire experience,” said Ms. Campos. “It was shocking that just getting up and going to work could result in being arrested.” 

“The body cam and other video of this incident show a CPD officer completely out of control. The City never should have allowed this officer onto the street,” said Joshua Levin, staff attorney for the ACLU. The officer has a lengthy history of civilian complaints, but never had been adequately disciplined or retrained by the Chicago Police Department. 

Arturo Hernandez, a senior attorney at CCH, stated, “Ms. Campos, a young mother who was experiencing housing instability at the time, was at work trying to provide for her family when she endured this horrific experience at the hands of Chicago Police officers. This should not happen to anyone. If CPD doesn’t take action to adequately train their officers, or adequately discipline officers who engage in misconduct like the officers in this case—how will relations between the community and the police change?” 

The officers’ body camera video shows CPD Officers Eric Taylor and Treacher Howard pulled into the store parking lot where employees were busy cleaning up so that the business could reopen to serve the community. Ms. Campos was making repeated trips in and out of the back entrance to throw out trash from the damaged store. 

Content Warning: the following may be uncomfortable for some viewers. Jump to 10:30 for interaction.

While in the store parking lot, Officer Taylor instigated a shouting match with one of Ms. Campos’ coworkers. Officer Taylor made vulgar sexual comments about the employee’s mother and oral sex, using racist epithets. 

“Officer Taylor’s dehumanizing language—and his completely unnecessary escalation of conflict with this community member—is maddening to watch,” Levin added. “These Chicagoans were at work just doing their jobs.” 

After Officer Taylor’s argument with the employee, Ms. Campos continued cleaning the store. As she was carrying boxes through the store doorway to the dumpster, Ms. Campos came face-to-face with Officer Taylor, who was charging inside. Unbeknownst to Ms. Campos, Officer Taylor was looking to arrest Ms. Campos’ coworker, with whom he had instigated the earlier argument. Frightened by the officer coming toward her, Ms. Campos momentarily froze. Officer Taylor said “step back, step back,” then grabbed Ms. Campos, forcibly shoved her, and struck her face. As Ms. Campos fell backward, Officer Taylor, his partner Officer Howard, and other CPD officers entered the store. No one checked to see if Ms. Campos had been injured.  

As Officer Taylor stomped through the store, Ms. Campos pulled out her phone and began recording him and saying that he had punched her. Although Ms. Campos had a First Amendment right to record Officer Taylor and criticize his misconduct, Officer Taylor approached her, twisted her arms—forcing her to stop recording—and placed her under arrest for purportedly obstructing a police officer. 

“There was no legal basis whatsoever to arrest Ms. Campos for ‘obstructing an officer’; this was a blatant violation of Ms. Campos’s constitutional rights,” the ACLU’s Levin explained.    

Ms. Campos was taken to a CPD station, where she was detained and physically restrained for nearly five hours. While holding Ms. Campos in custody, Officers Taylor and Howard refused to tell her when she would be released and when she would be able to see her one-year-old son again. Defendant Taylor even taunted Ms. Campos about her inability to contact her child or her child’s daycare while in custody. 

Months later, the false charge against Ms. Campos was dropped.  

“My hope is that this lawsuit will help make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said Ms. Campos. “I’m concerned that something like this could happen to me again. But I’m more afraid for when my Latino son grows up. I’m afraid for what could happen to him if we continue to have police officers like Officer Taylor patrolling this city.” 

“Not only was Ms. Campos arrested and detained when she did not do anything wrong, but the officers lied on the police reports. They fabricated information to cover up the false arrest—a widespread practice CPD officers use to conceal misconduct,” said Levin. 

“This sort of behavior by CPD officers is the antithesis of public safety and constitutional policing,” Levin added. “And the City is directly responsible because it fails to adequately train, supervise, and discipline officers like Taylor who have egregious records of misconduct.” Officer Taylor has racked up more civilian complaints than 93% of other officers. Levin explained: “This case exemplifies the City’s systemic failure to take abusive officers off the streets.” 

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If you or someone you know is in a transitory living situation and needs legal support the Law Project can be reached weekdays on its toll-free helpline:  1 (800) 940-1119.

Related Media Coverage:

Video of Police Cam footage: https://youtu.be/rCNyyBjFeoI

Tribune

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-aclu-lawsuit-chicago-police-arrest-20220526-ywksug2l75gwxg34eulugt2uoe-story.html   

Sun Times 

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/5/26/23143373/federal-suit-alleges-cpd-officer-struck-falsely-arrested-woman-recording-misconduct-2020

Univision Chicago

https://www.univision.com/local/chicago-wgbo/hispana-presenta-demanda-contra-policia-de-chicago-por-falso-arresto-y-agresion

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

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

State moratorium on evictions extended through January 9, with modifications

By Samuel Carlson, Manager of Research and Outreach 

Gov. Pritzker is extending a revised eviction moratorium into the New Year.  

Since March 2020, Illinois has had a moratorium (or freeze) on most eviction case filings across the state. The revised moratorium still allows Illinois landlords to evict their tenants, but it provides clarity on who is protected. The new moratorium applies until at least January 9, 2021.  

Continue reading State moratorium on evictions extended through January 9, with modifications

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

CCH celebrates 40 years of advocacy with a virtual celebration

By Michael Nameche, Director of Development

On September 24, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless hosted its first virtual gala, No Place Like Home: Celebrating 40 Years of Advocacy.

Through generous sponsorships, including lead sponsors Baker McKenzie and JP Morgan, individual contributions, and the proceeds of an online auction, the event raised more than $225,000 to support CCH’s mission to prevent and end homelessness.

Continue reading CCH celebrates 40 years of advocacy with a virtual celebration

Election Day 2020 is November 3: Here’s how to vote if you are experiencing homelessness

By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation

COVID-19 Related Voting Procedures

Due to the pandemic, individuals are encouraged to vote early or by mail to minimize crowds and long waits on Election Day. Those who request vote-by-mail ballots have options for how to drop them off. Local Boards of Election throughout Illinois are setting up secure ballot drop boxes for those who would prefer not to mail in their ballots. Voters can visit this portal on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website to find their nearest ballot drop box location. Chicago drop box locations can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE: Drop boxes will NOT be available at your precinct polling place on Election Day. If you bring a ballot there, you’ll have to surrender the vote-by-mail ballot and vote a new ballot in person.

In Chicago, voters can also drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at every Early Voting Site beginning October 14, or return their ballots directly to the Chicago Board of Elections at 69 W. Washington on the sixth floor. And of course, vote-by-mail ballots can also be returned in the mail, but must be postmarked by November 3, Election Day. An informational palm card is available here

Continue reading Election Day 2020 is November 3: Here’s how to vote if you are experiencing homelessness

Social Justice News Nexus (SJNN): In a home but still homeless

Study shows more than 80 percent of homeless Chicagoans are living ‘doubled-up’

By Alexandria Johnson

For nearly 68,000 Chicagoans, the majority of them in families with children, being homeless does not mean sleeping on the street or in a park. Their friends, neighbors and classmates might not even know they are homeless.

But they are “doubled-up,” a type of homelessness basically defined as living in crowded dwellings with extended family members or friends because of economic hardship. A recent study by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless found more than 80 percent of the city’s homeless population living in this situation, a total of 67,582 individuals living doubled-up out of a total of 82,212 homeless people in 2015. There were almost 10,000 families living doubled up, and more than 11,000 unaccompanied youth, according to the study. More than half of the people living doubled up were African-American.

Though they might not obviously appear homeless, children growing up in such situations suffer many of the same struggles as people living outside or in other transient situations. So, the Coalition for the Homeless and city officials are stepping up their efforts to serve this population and reduce the number of families living doubled-up.

“There’s no difference between these families [and people on the streets] in terms of the reasons they become homeless or what they need,” said Julie Dworkin, policy director for the coalition. “Some of them end up going to a shelter. Some of them end up moving into someone’s house, but they’re all becoming homeless because they can’t afford their housing.” 

Coalition leaders and city officials hope to help people like Jakyla Mitchell, a 15-year-old student at Harlan Community Academy High School, on the city’s far South Side.

Mitchell enjoys participating in poetry club and playing volleyball at school. She said she’s proud of her grades and is looking forward to taking an honors art class next year. But she does all this with extra challenges that her classmates may not face or understand.

Most days after school, Mitchell chooses not to head straight home, where she lives in a three-bedroom house with at least six other people, sometimes more. She sticks around school to work on homework where she can better concentrate.

“It’s hard because with so many kids in one place, it can be hard to get things done with my homework,” said Mitchell. “Mom wants to move, but we don’t know where. I want to be somewhere kind of quiet.”

Mitchell, her mother, mother’s boyfriend, her sister and her sister’s three children all live together in the small home in the Roseland neighborhood. Sometimes more than seven people live in the house at once, including friends of Mitchell’s mother when they need a place to stay due to relationship problems.

“My mom invites people who can’t stay at their houses,” Mitchell said. “Her old friends have to stay and bring their kids.”

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless report estimated that 67,582 total individuals lived doubled-up in the city in 2015. The coalition recently created a new methodology to better assess the size of Chicago’s homeless population by calculating an unduplicated total of homeless individuals based on analysis of the Homeless Management Information System, a database that tracks people accessing homeless services, and data about doubled-up individuals from the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census.

“We think [this methodology] is really sound and much more accurate than what we’ve done in the past,” Dworkin said. “It’s something that can be replicated every year in exactly the same way, so we can really compare from year to year what homelessness looks like in Chicago.”

The coalition’s definition of homelessness includes all people considered homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – people lacking a regular, adequate nighttime residence, including those living in shelters or temporary residential institutions or people in places not designed as regular sleeping accommodations. The coalition’s definition also includes those living doubled-up, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education as people sharing others’ housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship.

“This is honestly a very conservative estimate, we’ve been cautious as to who to include as doubled-up households,” said coalition intern Thomas Brown, a recent University of Chicago graduate. “In lots of cases, we decided we couldn’t assign someone as doubled-up because it didn’t look like it would be for economic reasons, but there are sometimes non-economic reasons for someone to be doubled-up, like an LGBT individual who might’ve been kicked out of the house.”

People in such situations are not included in the homeless estimate. Other exclusions include single adult children living with parents for reasons other than economic hardship, heads of households’ relatives over age 65 living with family for health reasons, grandchildren who live with grandparents claiming responsibility for their basic needs and people in institutions or group lodgings.

In conjunction with the April report, the coalition announced a collaboration with the City of Chicago in a pilot program aimed at addressing homelessness in neighborhoods with the city’s highest violence rates. This fall, the program plans to connect 100 homeless families attending Chicago Public Schools in Austin, Humboldt Park, West Englewood and Englewood with new supportive housing units.

“We know that we have an unmet need for supportive housing for individuals and families,” said Betsy Benito, director of the Illinois program at the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which is also involved in that pilot program. “We’re really excited about the 100 units to get us going to help respond to these families.”

Rent subsidies for the initiative will be funded with $1 million from the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, and the city’s 4 percent surcharge on AirBnB rentals will fund supportive services for the families. Dworkin said the next phase of the campaign will include working with the Chicago Housing Authority – which oversees public and subsidized housing – on addressing homelessness.