CCH Policy Reports And Publications

Since 1980, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) has had a clear mission: “We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.” We've collected all of our mission-driven policy documents here and provide access to downloadable documents as noted. Search, browse, access and get the facts, stats, and real story behind homelessness.
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Failing to Deliver: One Stop Employment Centers

May 1, 2005

In 1999, CCH started its Day Labor Organizing Project. The project grew from a survey of over five hundred interviews with homeless individuals, conducted in shelters during one evening. The results showed that many of those surveyed were employed, but three-fourths had day labor jobs. Eighty-two percent of these jobs had wages of $5.50 or less, which were too insufficient to enable them to rent their own apartment. CCH worked from 1999 until 2002 on the abuses common to the day labor industry: no pay for overtime, transportation fees, and race, gender, and age discrimination. Day laborers continued to face homelessness because, ultimately, even under the best working environment, temporary work at low wages leaves workers in poverty. While organizing in shelters with day laborers, CCH discovered that job seekers were seeking services at local Workforce Centers. Often referred to as One-Stop centers because of the concentrated services available in one place, the centers are supposed to be a resource to job seekers that provides career training and employment services to the unemployed and underemployed. Job seekers, particularly day laborers, sought services that would lead to permanent work at livable wages. As organizers from CCH continued to hear from One-Stop clients living in shelters, we found that many were being placed into temporary jobs with low-wages and their need for skills training was not being met. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless developed a test project to evaluate the effectiveness of the services at the One-Stop centers from January to July of 2004. The project shadowed 16 One-Stop participants as they navigated the system of services over a period of six months, as well as spoke to over 35 job seekers during that same period. To broaden the scope of our research, in August and September of 2004 CCH organized 30 volunteers from the community to survey participants at the One-Stop centers throughout the city. This report is the result of 170 interviews conducted during that time period. Overall, the research revealed that respondents were not satisfied with the services they received through the One-Stop centers. Had respondents received the services they requested, they may have been able to achieve self-sufficiency through wage or skill increases. However, over half of respondents did not receive the services they requested. While many people reported that developing a career plan with a job developer was beneficial, only one-fifth of respondents had created one. Also, most respondents received job training (69 percent), but 45 percent of those individuals reported that job training was not geared toward job placement.

Jobs and Homelessness

Buying Sex: A Survey of Men in Chicago

May 1, 2004

On April 23, 2004 staff of the CCH and 42 volunteers conducted one-on-one interviews with 159 men in nine popular Chicago bars, on the streets of high volume 'bar-areas' in scattered neighborhoods throughout the city, and at Chicago's Union Station. The Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART), a project of the CCH decided to make contact with some men who may pay for sexual services in Chicago to determine their characteristics, the frequency with which they paid for sex acts, their interactions with law enforcement, their knowledge of the plight of women and girls involved, and their attitudes about the sex trade industry. Why interview customers? Strategies to combat both legal and illegal aspects of the sex trade seldom focus on the demand that fuels this industry. Research in Chicago indicates that many women and girls in the sex trade experience homelessness and are victims of violence, abuse and exploitation, and that some male customers are violent and exploitative. Yet, there is little research on the customers of women in the sex trade industry. Only two researchers, Martin Monto and John Lowman, have done research with men in North America who buy sex. The reasons are obvious: It is difficult to determine and construct a representative sample of sex trade customers due to the clandestine nature of the industry. It is also likely that many male customers will be reluctant to admit that they pay for sex for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it is against the law.


Unlocking Options for Women: A Survey of Women in Cook County Jail

April 1, 2002

On October 31, 2001, 60 members of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless conducted in-depth, one-on-one surveys with 235 of the 1,117 women detained that day in Cook County Jail. These surveys were designed and conducted to gain an understanding of women's lives that may dictate and support policy initiatives and further direct service providers in assisting those in need. This study was conducted to document the lives of women detained in Cook County Jail and promote understanding of their many experiences. It reveals a great deal about the lives, current circumstances, and future hopes of 235 women detained that day.

Criminal Justice System and Homelessness; Women and Homelessness

War and Homelessness

January 1, 2002

The war in Afghanistan, and the resulting increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced persons, focuses our attention on homelessness at an international level. This policy paper represents an effort to examine homelessness created as a direct result of war, and to recommend ways to reduce conflict and prevent war.

War and Homelessness

Putting Children First: Ending Family Homelessness In Illinois: A Statewide Survey on Family Homelessness

December 1, 2001

The recent economic recession and resulting layoffs compounded by a severe lack of affordable housing, lack of living wage jobs, and an increase in foreclosures, has caused increasing hardship for families in Illinois, including homelessness. This December 2001 study of seventeen agencies that serve homeless families in fifteen counties throughout Illinois and the eight warming centers (emergency shelters) in Chicago gathered information regarding family homelessness in Illinois. The agencies surveyed indicate an increase in family homelessness over the past year and specifically over the past two months. These results, and other recent research regarding the acute shortage of affordable housing in Illinois points towards the increasing need for Illinois to invest in homelessness prevention initiatives and the development of affordable housing for the benefit of thousands of families and children.

Children and Youth and Homelessness; Families and Homelessness

Prostitution: A Violent Reality of Homelessness

January 1, 2001

This policy paper summarizes findings on the connections between homelessness and prostitution.

Prostitution; Violence and Violent Crime

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