CCH advocacy leads to passage of three bills, increased funding for housing programs

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

During this successful legislative session, CCH policy and organizing staff, alongside our grassroots leaders, worked on various initiatives to remove barriers for people experiencing homelessness.

Shared advocacy and organizing in Springfield resulted in increased funding for housing programs in the FY23 state budget as well as the passage of HB 5265, HB 4242, and HB 2775, bills that will support K-12 students, increase access to child care, and ban source of income discrimination for renters.

Continue reading CCH advocacy leads to passage of three bills, increased funding for housing programs

Springfield advocacy: CCH’s 2022 state legislative agenda

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

This year the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is advocating for several statewide measures that would remove barriers for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. CCH policy and organizing staff, along with our grassroots leaders, are leading efforts to pass four bills that will impact students experiencing homelessness, extremely low-income families and children, and people using rental assistance or housing vouchers.

CCH is advocating for the following legislation: 

HB 5265: Financial Equity in Education for Students (FEES)

Illinois school districts are permitted to charge students and their families annual mandatory fees. Fees can include textbooks, instructional materials, and school activities. These fees can add up quickly, putting a strain on low-income parents and guardians who are trying to make ends meet. Fortunately, public school students experiencing homelessness or whose families are classified as low-income have access to fee waivers. Charter schools are obligated to waive fees for students who are experiencing homelessness under the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act but are not required to waive fees for low-income students and their families. 

HB 5265 will create parity between students at public schools and charter schools to ensure students and families living in poverty are not burdened by financial barriers to their educations. 

Continue reading Springfield advocacy: CCH’s 2022 state legislative agenda

Learn about our recent victories in our 2021 Annual Report

CCH grassroots leaders and staff, clad in bright yellow CCH t-shirts, standing with fists raised in front of the Illinois state capitol building. Text includes the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo and the words 2021 Annual Report.

We are grateful for the strong coalition of people with lived experience, community members, direct-service and advocacy organizations, institutional partners, donors, and volunteers who are working every single day to prevent and end homelessness.

Five blocks in a row. Block 1: Photo of a young woman wearing a hijab, standing, speaking to a Black woman in a trucker hat, seated. Block 2: Blue square that reads: 3,000 people who experienced homelessness were reached by our community organizers and legal aid attorneys. Block 3: photo of a white man speaking to a crowd with a bullhorn. The man is wearing a yellow t-shirt with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo. Block 4: Blue square that reads: 408 legal aid cases were closed by the Law Project, representing 319 clients. Block 5: two young women with brown hair from behind, seated in front of a laptop.

Strong community support contributed to CCH’s many accomplishments over the last year. Read more about our shared victories during Calendar Year 2021 in our annual report.

Blue box with white letters: Read our annual report now

Take Action for Illinois Families

The Illinois House Appropriations-Human Services Committee will vote on HB4423 this Thursday, February 24 at 8 a.m.

HB4423 would support families living in extreme poverty by increasing the cash assistance families receive each month. This increase would ensure families are able to meet their basic needs including paying rent, purchasing clothing, hygiene products, and maintaining transportation. This legislation would also ensure that when a noncustodial parent pays child support that the money goes directly to the family. Currently, the state and federal government are given a portion of the child support payment.

Please file a witness slip on behalf of your organization or yourself to indicate your support for an increase in the TANF Cash Grant amount and ensure that child support payments go directly to the child.

How to fill out the online witness slip: 

  1. Go to this link.
  2. If you can file a slip on behalf of your organization, include your organization name under “Representation.” If you do not represent a firm or organization, please write “NA” in the Firm/Business Or Agency and Title fields and “Self” under Representation. 
  3. To indicate your support of the bill, please click “Proponent.”
  4. Under Testimony, select “Record of Appearance Only.”
  5. Agree to the Terms of Agreement and click on the “Create(Slip)” button.

Bill that would create parity for charter school students moves forward with bipartisan support

UPDATE: Thanks to the shared advocacy of our community, Facilitating Equity in Education for Students (FEES) (House Bill 5265) was moved out of committee with unanimous, bipartisan support on February 16. Sixty-five people submitted witness slips as proponents of the bill.

Representative Will Guzzardi, CCH Grassroots Leader and Board Member Maxica Williams, and CCH Education Attorney Alyssa Phillips testified at the hearing. CCH is grateful to be one step closer to ensuring every student in Illinois has access to a free and comprehensive education.  

Read our fact sheet on HB5265 here.

Photo of grassroots leader April Harris, smiling from her neck up. April is quoted: “Waivers at charter
schools prevent students from falling through the cracks and help students stay focused on their academics and not their current situation. It is important for students to feel that they matter and that they’re not forgotten during difficult times.”
Grassroots Leader and Outreach Assistant April Harris

Continue reading Bill that would create parity for charter school students moves forward with bipartisan support

Policy Intern

Applications are being accepted March 1-March 30, 2022 for fall academic year internships running from Aug/Sept 2022 through May/June 2023.

Position can be all remote, but preference will be given to candidates who can attend occasional in-person meetings and events.

Description

The policy intern conducts research in areas of housing and homelessness and collaborates with CCH staff to develop policy campaigns. Areas of advocacy include housing, employment, criminal justice, and youth homelessness.

About CCH

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 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 who have experienced homelessness 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. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist in research, tracking, analysis, and communication of relevant state and local policy issues, legislation, and regulations;
  • Produce written materials necessary to develop and implement policy initiatives;
  • Support CCH staff in state and local policy development, communications, and administrative duties, as assigned;
  • Perform survey research and data analysis around homelessness in Chicago and Illinois;
  • Participate in task force meetings and other organized efforts with coalition groups working toward ending homelessness;
  • Support CCH staff in coordinating meetings with elected officials and candidates
  • Support coalition building efforts
  • Collaborate with all CCH departments—CCH believes strongly in interdepartmental collaboration and expects all staff to work in close partnership with the other departments at the organization.

Qualifications/Skills

  • Entry level position
  • Demonstrated oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and racial equity
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and manage projects
  • Demonstrated interest in policy/advocacy work to address poverty/homelessness

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to policyintern@chicagohomeless.org


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, or any other legally protected status.

CCH statement on Gov. Pritzker’s State of the State speech

“The measure of any society is how willing we are to care for those who need us.” 

Today in Springfield, Governor Pritzker began his 2022 Budget Address and State of the State with this statement from Margaret Mead, noting that this ethos has guided him and his administration as they have governed through the ravages of the pandemic.  

The Governor’s proposal for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget strives to “protect the most vulnerable” and, on many fronts, it does just that. We understand that Illinois’ fiscal outlook continues to improve. With that positive direction, Illinois should look at this moment as an opportunity to invest in our lowest-income residents, particularly individuals and families who experience housing insecurity. 

Continue reading CCH statement on Gov. Pritzker’s State of the State speech

Recent changes to federal programs that assist families

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

As we all continue to navigate the pandemic and its ramifications, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless would like to provide some information about updates to federal benefits programs that assist families and individuals in our community.  

Continue reading Recent changes to federal programs that assist families