We are establishing the CCH Mutual Aid Fund to provide modest emergency grants of up to $500 to Chicagoans experiencing homelessness. Working alongside people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness for the last 40 years, we know that a small amount of money can make the difference between having access to a safe place to stay, a warm healthy meal, or life-saving medication, and not. In these unprecedented times, we hope to be able to provide much-needed emergency support to as many of our neighbors as possible.
Illinois now ranks 14th among the states in its eviction and housing-related responses to the pandemic after Gov. JB Pritzker’s issued an April 23 executive order that stops the initiation and enforcement of eviction orders during the current disaster proclamations, which run through May 30. During this time, Illinois landlords cannot file eviction cases and law enforcement cannot remove a tenant from their housing or commercial business unless they are “a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants.”
Published reports indicate that confirmed COVID-19 cases among occupants and staff at embattled homeless shelters have risen precipitously, with some shelters reporting that up to 45% of their clients have tested positive. These alarming infection rates have prompted advocates to recommend that the city immediately identify and prepare additional space where shelter clients who are either COVID-positive or at higher risk of contracting the disease can be safely housed in isolation. Advocates also recommend awarding hazard pay for the dwindling number of shelter staff who are working, despite personal risk, to keep shelters in operation.
Destiny Carter has joined the public policy staff at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Her work is focused on reentry and criminal justice reform and Springfield-based advocacy:"I am excited to be a part of a great organization like CCH and advocate for legislation that targets underlying systems to create systemic change and allows people to stand on their own two feet. I chose this work because I want to help families like my own create stability and break generational curses. My hope is that my time at CCH will help give communities a fighting chance and change the state of Illinois for the better."