August 30, 2016
We are happy to introduce Jayme Robinson as our new AmeriCorps VISTA organizer. A three-year member of our Speakers Bureau, Jayme now manages the program.
Jayme works with Associate Director of Organizing Hannah Willage, who launched the Speakers Bureau nine years ago. Hannah leads education organizing for our HomeWorks campaign, including an Education Committee of homeless parents and students.
The Speakers Bureau is staffed by 15 people passionate about education and advocacy, the most active homeless leaders at CCH. Talking to audiences about their own lives, they speak about issues related to school access, housing and jobs, and developing opportunities for people to get back on their feet. In FY16, the Speakers Bureau spoke at 85 events, reaching an audience of 4,696 people. More than 90% of our audience is made up of students from the city and suburbs. Read more.
Chicago Public School layoffs of more than 500 teachers and 500 support staff will disproportionately impact homeless students. Last school year, CPS identified 18,831 homeless students, which was 4.8% of its total enrollment.
Homelessness often has significant negative impacts on students — academically, socially, and emotionally. Homeless students face greater barriers to enrollment, attendance, and success in school than their housed peers.
CCH took a closer look at the 19 schools hardest hit by the layoffs announced August 8. In these schools, which lost eight (8) or more staff, we found:
- Six (31.5%) of the 19 highly impacted schools had more than 80 homeless students enrolled last school year. But schools with 80 or more homeless students comprise only 7% of all CPS schools.
- On average, the homeless enrollment of these highly impacted schools was more than 10%.
- Nearly 5.5% of the total number of homeless students were enrolled in a highly impacted school. Only 4% of the overall CPS population is in a highly impacted school. Meaning, homeless students are 38% more likely to attend a highly impacted school than their housed peers. Read more.
Four job-access bills that create employment opportunities for Illinoisans with old criminal records have been signed into law, two taking effect immediately.
The bills offer new work opportunities in schools, park districts, and in health care. All were advocated by the Reentry Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) and the RROCI coalition on which we partner, and enacted with bi-partisan legislative support.
“Legislators Kelly Cassidy, Camille Lilly, Jacqueline Collins, Iris Martinez, Patricia Van Pelt, and Don Harmon recognize that Illinois must remove employment barriers for people with records,” said CCH Executive Director Doug Schenkelberg.
“Thanks to their leadership and the work of the RROCI coalition — Community Renewal Society, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Heartland Alliance, and the Reentry Project — we passed four important pieces of legislation that create real opportunity.” Read more.
Using data from Chicago, a new University of Notre Dame study affirms the impact of homeless prevention grants to families who call for help – those who received a grant were 76% less likely to move into a shelter within six months than those turned away.
“There is evidence that it’s a sustained impact up to two years later,” says the the study’s author, economist James Sullivan.
CCH’s statewide housing campaign successfully advocated for the state-funded prevention program in 1999. It helped 109,652 Illinois households through mid-2015. The program did not receive any state funding during last year's budget impasse. Read More.