Born to a large family with nine siblings, Patricia “Pat” Franklin understands the importance of working together so that everyone has what they need to thrive. A grandmother of three and self-described jokester, Pat aspires to make the world better for families like hers.
“Growing up, I never knew we were poor,” recalls Pat. “Sleeping three to a bed – I just thought that’s the way it was. My mother was always helping and taking people in. She taught me that there’s always someone else out there who is worse off than you.”
Today, Pat channels her mother’s generous spirit by serving as grassroots leader with CCH, leading advocacy efforts to support people experiencing homelessness.
“CCH is like my second family,” Pat said. “I just love being here and advocating. By sharing my story, I hope it helps the next family and prevents them from going through what I did.”
At the onset of the COVID–19 pandemic, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless launched the Edrika Fulford Mutual Aid Fund and has distributed more than $450,000 in emergency cash to over 900 households facing homelessness.
In collaboration with the Mutual Aid Fund Governance Committee and researchers at the Inclusive Economy Lab of University of Chicago, the Community Care During Crisis: Mutual Aid Fund Impact Report webinar was hosted on Thursday, March 9.
At the start of the pandemic, Shamaje Singleton, then 18, was unable to afford housing on his own. He bounced around Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, living doubled-up with various family members and sharing crowded hotel rooms with friends.
A month after turning 19, Shamaje received wonderful news: He had been accepted into the Solid Ground transitional living program at La Casa Norte. Shamaje instantly connected to the community living in the dorm-style building in Humboldt Park.
CCH’s Mutual Aid Fund (MAF) is an innovative, low-barrier direct cash-assistance program for Illinois individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Created in May 2020 in response to the pandemic, the fund was designed by and continues to be managed by grassroots leaders with lived experience of homelessness.
To date, the Mutual Aid Fund has distributed 710 grants of $500, totaling $355,000 in direct assistance!
MAF recipients have used the funds for critical, urgent needs, including security deposits, hotel/motel stays, monthly bus passes for work, and doctor’s appointments and medicines.
Join us in helping even more individuals and families impacted by homelessness: Through October 31, donations up to $50,000 will be matched by long-time community partners Marta Delgado & Sam Nandi.
CCH aims to raise at least $100,000 for the Mutual Aid Fund this year, enough to provide 200 cash grants to community members impacted by homelessness.
Your support makes a difference: CCH’s Mutual Aid Fund in action
“I did the application because I’m living in a difficult situation – I am diabetic and need a balanced diet. Sometimes I go to sleep without a dollar in my pocket, not knowing how I will pay for rent. I used the funds to buy food and pay a portion of my rent.”
“Being homeless during the pandemic felt impossible, but the fund helped me with food, hygiene products and most importantly art supplies…which helped me to earn more income and to feel more secure in the post-pandemic world, that had seemed to forget the homeless. CCH didn’t forget though…the fund was there to help.”
“When I found out I was chosen to receive the Mutual Aid Funds, I was so happy and appreciative. I had recently moved into a new apartment and abruptly lost my income temporarily. I was able to open a checking account and had a little cushion to pay my bills. Resources such as this should always be available for hard-working people who do not qualify for government assistance.”