November 20, 2014
Nasia Smith is the first college scholarship winner at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to earn a bachelor’s degree as a single parent. She worked full-time to support her young son while earning a business degree.
We think Nasia tells her story better than anyone else:
Life before I left for college was difficult. I am one of six kids, and we were in foster care before my grandmother took us in. She died when I was in fifth grade. We went to live with my great-aunt, but when I became pregnant at 16, I was kicked out.
CCH youth attorney Beth Cunningham did outreach at my new school, a high school for pregnant girls. I was already homeless at that point. I didn’t know what to do. I was about ready to drop out. I was emotionally drained and didn’t feel I was important. Beth encouraged me and she helped me obtain public benefits, but we were unable to find youth housing with room for my son, Jarrett, and me. Read more.
Chicago aldermen pass SRO preservation law
By Mary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune reporter
Owners of single-room-occupancy hotels in Chicago will not be able to so easily evict residents and convert their properties to market-rate apartments, under an ordinance approved Wednesday by the Chicago City Council.
By a vote of 47-2, aldermen approved the Single-Room Occupancy Preservation Ordinance to help veterans, students and city residents down on their luck who might otherwise find themselves homeless.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the ordinance, crafted by City Hall, aldermen and housing advocates, a "down payment" on the city's five-year plan to preserve 41,000 units of affordable housing in the city. Read more.
The ordinance was advocated for by CCH, ONE Northside and several partner organizations in the Chicago For All coalition.
The Chicago Housing Authority Board has voted to pilot a program to allow select ex-offenders to access public housing.
The Reentry Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) proposed the program, and has worked two years to persuade local housing authorities to pilot it. Meanwhile, the pilot was adopted in August by the Housing Authority of Cook County, which oversees public housing in 135 Chicago suburbs.
Up to 50 adults would be placed during three-year pilot programs adopted by both housing authorities. Publicly endorsed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last March, the CHA will implement its pilot after it secures final approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Read more.
December 2 is Giving Tuesday, the official start of the holiday giving season. #GivingTuesday is a chance for people to give back, by making a donation to their favorite nonprofit organization and then spreading the word of their gift to family and friends.
We enourage our supporters to save the date, and make a year-end donation to CCH. Membership-level donations of $50 or more will receive our gift of a CCH water bottle!
If you are homeless or at-risk and have a legal question, call the CCH Law Project's toll-free helpline: (800) 940-1119.
This includes school issues, such as enrollment and denial of school fee waivers. Homeless students include those doubled-up in the homes of others.