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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Estimate of Homeless People in Chicago 2018

May 1, 2020

This report shows 76,998 Chicagoans experienced homelessness in 2018, per an annual analysis by CCH that relies on the most current U.S. census data.Though the city's aggregate homelessness count decreased from the prior year, Chicago saw a nearly 2,000-person increase among those who lived on the street or in shelters. It is a development with troubling connotations today: The city's shelter system is a hotspot for COVID-19 infections and homelessness is expected to climb dramatically during the worsening economic downturn triggered by the pandemic.Per our analysis, the number who experienced homelessness decreased by 4,282 people, or 5.9% from 2017. This net decrease was concentrated exclusively among homeless people in temporary living situations, also known as living "doubled-up" or "couch-surfing." The number who doubled-up in 2018 remained massive, at 58,872 Chicagoans.

Facts and Statistics

2015 Estimate of Homeless People in Chicago

June 1, 2017

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) has developed a new methodology for estimating the homelesspopulation in Chicago throughout the year. CCH uses a definition of homelessness which incorporatesall those considered homeless under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD)definition, and also incorporates portions of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) McKinney-Ventodefinition of homelessness. The DOE definition includes people who are living "doubled-up," which meansstaying with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship. CCH includes doubled-up households inour definition because it more accurately captures the way most people experience homelessness.The methodology uses the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey data to estimate the numberof doubled-up individuals in Chicago in 2015. It also uses data from the city's Homeless ManagementInformation System (HMIS) from 2015 to count those served in the shelter system. It then removes duplicatesby identifying individuals who experienced both forms of homelessness during the year.

Homeworks: Stable Home + Stable School = Bright Futures

November 1, 2015

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless surveyed 118 homeless families with school-aged children and found that the experiences of Chicago's homeless students closely mirrored what the national research showed. Surveys were conducted at public schools, shelters, and parks during the summer of 2015. More than 80% of the families interviewed have between 1 and 3 school-aged children and less than 20% have more than three children attending school.

Chicago Housing Authority Reentry Pilot

June 21, 2013

The CHA Reentry Pilot was designed by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) Reentry Committee and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). The CHA Reentry Pilot has the potential to improve CHA's responsiveness to community needs through an innovative approach to housing ex-offenders who have truly turned their lives around and who receive continued support from reentry service providers once housed.

Communities and Homelessness

Sweet Home Chicago: The Story of an Affordable Housing Campaign

May 1, 2012

The Sweet Home Chicago (SHC) Coalition was comprised of nine community organizations and two labor unions that conducted a two and a half year campaign that resulted in passage of the Vacant Building TIF Purchase Rehab Program on May 4, 2011. This ordinance is one of the very few pieces of legislation to benefit low-income people that passed during Mayor Richard Daley's 22 years in office.

Housing and Homelessness

Giving Hope: The City of Chicago Task Force on Homeless Youth Report

April 12, 2011

Homeless youth are defined in this report as unaccompanied young people ages 14-25 that do not have a safe, stable place to live. Youth often leave home or are forced out due to physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse by a parent, and long-term family economic problems. Pregnant and parenting teens, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) youth, and current and former wards are disproportionately represented in the homeless youth population. During the 2009-2010 school year, the Chicago Public Schools identified 3,682 unaccompanied homeless youth in school. Based on CPS data, data from shelters, and data from other research on homelessness, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has developed a methodology to estimate total numbers of homeless youth, children, and adults each year including those living doubled up. According to this estimate, there were a total of 11,471 homeless youth ages 18-21 in Chicago during the 09-10 school year. This includes youth who were not in school or were not identified by the schools. Shelter and housing programs in Chicago do not come close to meeting the need for housing for young people. A survey conducted for this report found that the eight programs providing shelter and housing to homeless youth turned away 4,775 requests for housing from youth in a year. When youth are not able to access shelter they are extremely vulnerable to physical and sexual victimization on the streets. Background on the City of Chicago Task Force on Homeless YouthThe City of Chicago Task Force on Homeless Youth is a network of city and state agency officials, youth providers and advocates, and homeless youth working to address the issue of youth homelessness in Chicago. The group was developed through the advocacy of the H.E.L.L.O. youth activism group.H.E.L.L.O. stands for Homeless Experts Living Life's Obstacles and is composed of homeless and formerly homeless youth and co-sponsored by The Night Ministry, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), and Lakeview Action Coalition. The group is rooted in community organizing and positive youth development principles. The youth educate the public, policy-makers and the media about issues affecting homeless and unaccompanied youth while learning to communicate effectively and non-violently. The group is very diverse, consisting of youth of color, pregnant and parenting teens, and LBGTQ youth.Every year, H.E.L.L.O. hosts a homeless youth "art show and speak out", where youth are invited to submit spoken word and visual arts pieces. Over 200 members of the community attend the show each year. In November of 2009, Mayor Daley attended the Art Show. He spoke briefly and promised the youth in attendance he would meet with them to discuss how the city can better serve homeless youth.In January 2010, 25 members of the H.E.L.L.O. Group had a private meeting with Mayor Daley and other city officials. The youth shared their stories and gave a presentation on different ways the city can improve services for homeless youth. They identified five different areas in which the city could improve services for homeless youth: transportation, education, jobs, increased shelter beds, and improved drop-in services.The Mayor also committed to the creation of a city-wide homeless youth task force. The Department of Family and Support Services hosted the task force. Out of the task force, five work groups were developed to work on the specific issues identified by the youth. Each work group met over several months, researched their area of concern, collected information and developed recommendations that the City of Chicago could use to guide a citywide effort to first improve the plight of homelessness experienced by youth and eventually eradicate this problem. Homeless youth were represented on each workgroup and were given a chance to react to the recommendations. Finally, the task force as a whole approved the recommendations. This report represents the recommendations of the city-wide youth task force.

Children and Youth and Homelessness

A Drop in the Bucket: An Analysis of Resources to Address Home Foreclosure in Chicago

September 1, 2010

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is Chicago's primary source of funds to redevelop neighborhoods devastated by the home foreclosure crisis. Yet NSP is able to fund a minute fraction of the resources needed to effectively address the crisis. The city of Chicago has another available resource, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which could be used in a similar way to the way NSP dollars are used, though they are not currently being allocated for this purpose.Of the city's 159 TIF districts, all but three allow TIF funds to be used to purchase and rehabilitate properties. The Sweet Home Chicago ordinance, now pending before the Chicago City Council, would designate a yearly share of TIF funds to build and rehabilitate affordable housing, including foreclosed houses and apartment buildings. If enacted, TIF funds would complement the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, allowing the city to more significantly impact the continuing foreclosure crisis.This report examines the current impact of NSP, the extent to which TIF resources can be used to address foreclosures, and the resources available in TIF funds within neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures.Key findings include:The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), launched in 2009, has already depleted 28 percent of its funding through the purchase and rehab of only 83 properties. These properties comprise less than 1 percent of the total number of foreclosures completed in Chicago during 2009 alone.The maximum number of foreclosed properties acquired in any of 27 NSP communities as of July 30, 2010 is 11.32% of home foreclosures in NSP communities occurred within TIF districts. These properties could be rehabilitated as affordable housing using TIF dollars.In 2009, 507 foreclosures were completed and 1,415 foreclosures were filed within TIF districts in communities that were ineligible for NSP.Communities reporting more than 50 foreclosures within a TIF district have uncommitted funds available in the TIFs within their boundaries. Estimates of uncommitted funds that will be available over the life of these TIF districts range from $19 million to $761 million.

Communities and Homelessness

Who's Getting Your Tax Dollars?

December 1, 2009

This report profiles corporations receiving Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money from downtown TIFs since 2000. Where public data is available, it shows the profits for these corporations as well as CEO compensation.The financial data raises questions about why these corporations are in need of Chicagoans' tax dollars -- and what the public benefits are. Most are highly profitable and reward their leadership with extravagant compensation. Corporate TIF recipients are required to maintain and/or increase jobs as a condition of receiving TIF funding, however the city's record of holding them accountable to this has not been stellar.

Facts and Statistics

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Funding and Affordable Housing: An analysis of current TIF resources and City of Chicago TIF-funded housing 1995-2008

July 31, 2009

A serious affordable housing crisis, which has plagued the City of Chicago for more than a decade, has deepened drastically during the last two years due to the rise in foreclosures and unemployment. Meanwhile, through its 158 active Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, the city has accumulated, and likely will continue to generate, a large surplus of funds that could be used to alleviate the affordable housing problem.TIF districts were created to promote revitalization of blighted or struggling neighborhoods, and the availability of affordable housing is instrumental to a neighborhood's stability. Unfortunately, the city's policy on the use of TIF funds for housing has not gone far enough to adequately address the fundamental need for affordable housing in developing neighborhoods. Expenditures on affordable housing have accounted for too small of a percentage of TIF funds. An even smaller percentage of TIF funds have supported housing affordable to people in the neighborhoods in which it is built and for those with the greatest housing needs.Key findings are:As of 2008, there was nearly $1 billion built up in Chicago's TIF accounts at least $350 million of which has not been dedicated to a particular project.[1]Between 1995-2007, only 4 percent of TIF funds were targeted for development of affordable housing.[2] (Note: 1995 was the first year the Chicago Department of Housing began issuing detailed reports on its production and spending)TIF funds have been used to create housing that is more expensive and targeted for higher incomes than existing housing in the neighborhoods in which it has been created. In 50 percent of the wards in which TIF-funded housing was built, at least half of the units were too expensive for current residents.[3]TIF-funded units go disproportionately to higher income households. Between 1995-2008, only 27 percent of the units created with TIF funds went to the households with the most critical needs -- those earning less than $20,000 a year.[4]Recommendations:Target 20 percent of TIF funds each year for affordable housing.For those targeted dollars, affordable should be defined as housing that meets the needs of neighborhood residents and those with the greatest need.This report was prepared by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless on behalf of the Sweet Home. Chicago Coalition.

Communities and Homelessness

How Many People Are Homeless in Chicago? A Fiscal Year 2006 Analysis (key findings)

April 1, 2007

Over the past three decades, homelessness has persisted as a serious problem in the city of Chicago. However, throughout that time, a comprehensive, reliable figure for the number of people who do not have a home has not been determined. This is a significant gap not only in our public records but also in our public policy. By not adequately accounting for the city's homeless population, we are unable to understand the true scope of the problem. Thus, we are ill equipped to come up with realistic strategies and adequate resources to address homelessness.

Facts and Statistics

How Many People Are Homeless in Chicago? An FY 2006 Analysis

December 21, 2006

Over the past three decades, homelessness has persisted as a serious problem in the city of Chicago. However, throughout that time, there has never been a comprehensive, reliable figure for the number of people who do not have a home. This is a significant gap in not only our public records, but in our public policy. By not adequately accounting for the city's homeless population, we are unable to understand the true scope of the problem and therefore are ill equipped to come up with realistic strategies and adequate resources to address it. Estimating the number of homeless people is a distinct challenge to do as they are a transient and often invisible population. The city of Chicago conducts a partial census of the city's single-night homeless population. That count includes those who are officially reported as being served in the city's homeless shelters that night and any homeless people that can be counted on the streets or other locations outside of shelters that night. This method has limitations because it is very difficult to locate every homeless person outside, particularly on a cold winter night. Also it does not include people living temporarily with others because they cannot afford housing. This is often referred to as "doubled-up." Counting those not served in shelters or on the street may be difficult, but it is imperative to do so. To meet this challenge, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago Survey Research Laboratory, developed a methodology that is designed to count both those served in shelters and those who never access shelters. The Survey Research Laboratory helped shape the methodology and reviewed the findings of the analysis. Every effort has been made to make this a conservative effort and to avoid duplication.

Facts and Statistics

Unaddressed: Why Chicago's 10-year plan to end homelessness will not work

January 20, 2006

In 2003, Mayor Daley signed on to a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Chicago. The premise of the plan is to transform the homeless service system from one based on shelter to one based on permanent housing and prevention of homelessness.While the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless agrees with this strategy for assisting homeless individuals and individuals at risk of homelessness, a review of the city's plan and its recent actions to implement the plan reveals that:- The city is not actually taking the steps it says it is taking to achieve its goal- The plan grossly underestimates the demand for homeless services in Chicago and the resources needed to accomplish its goal.- Thousands of people are likely to end up abandoned and only a limited number of people helped in 2012, the year the plan is expected to be fully implemented.

Housing and Homelessness

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