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Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
December 27, 2016

Twenty-six Chicagoans who died in 2016 were remembered at a Homeless Memorial service at Old St. Pat’s Church.

Featuring singers from the Harmony, Hope & Healing choir, the Dec. 19 service celebrated the lives of people not forgotten by those who cared about them in their struggles with homelessness. Among them, Richard S. was remembered as “he always helped others more than he received help.”

The annual service was first organized in 2010 by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Ignation Spirituality Project, and Old St. Pat’s Church, 700 W. Adams. It features a pre-service dinner for homeless families and adults, this year serving 50 people from Breakthrough Urban Ministries and Madonna House.

“I was homeless for three years, so I understand what it means to be homeless,” said John Owens, a Breakthrough SRO resident. “It’s almost like they’re brothers of mine.” Read more. 

With an arctic turn in the weather, Chicagoans should call 311 if they need cold weather-related help, including access to homeless shelters or city warming centers.

Garfield warming center at 10 South Kedzie Avenue is open 24/7. Six other neighborhood warming centers, listed here, are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays whenever temperatures go below 32 degrees.

StreetLight Chicago, a free new mobile app for homeless youth, provides weather alerts and lists resources such as shelter and drop-in centers that serve unaccompanied youth through age 24. Read more.

A 5-year-old girl saved some of her chores money and this week delivered a jar with $208 cash to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, making her the organization's youngest donor.

A year ago, Peninah came to understand that not everyone had a home, seeing people in tents and sad that they didn't have a house.

"Her eyes have been opened at a young age. I think that homelessness in this city is not so hidden," said Peninah's mother, Anika Matthews-Feldman.

She told her mom that she wanted to donate some of her chores money to the homeless. She also added proceeds from her weekend hot cider stand to the total. Read more. 

For some months now, controversy has been brewing over several homeless encampments under Lake Shore Drive viaducts. As the temperatures drop, advocates are even more concerned about the people living there.

Over the weekend, when we not only had temperatures below zero but also a few inches of snow, there were about 38 people living under the four viaducts on the north end of Lake Shore Drive.

The city does have to give the residents a week’s notice, but advocates say the frequent cleanings have, in some cases, amounted to harassment.

“Treat people with dignity and respect,” said Doug Schenkelberg of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “It’s not to say that cleanings can never happen … but to really balance the needs of these individuals and the reality that they’re living in, with whether or not cleaning should be done. Read more.

CCH’s State Network, active in 11 suburbs and downstate communities, is launching a State Organizing Committee to steer its work in Illinois. Active for five years, the coalition’s statewide organizing network mobilizes more than 1,700 people a year on issues that impact homeless families, youth and adults in Illinois.

Staffed by Jim Picchetti, a senior community organizer at CCH, the new steering group will connect providers and churches from different parts of Illinois to share how homelessness is uniquely impacting their communities. They will also identify laws or practices that harm homeless and at-risk families in their community, and develop strategies that make addressing homelessness a priority in Springfield. Read more.


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