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

Illinois State of Homelessness 2022

September 19, 2022

An estimated 65,611 people were experiencing homelessness in Chicago in 2020. This in-depth analysis includes sheltered, unsheltered, and people temporarily staying with others, and it is a 7,338-person increase (+12.6%) from 2019, immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer Chicagoans experienced sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, but Chicago saw a large spike (+20%) in people temporarily staying with others (or "doubling up"). 

The Facts Behind the Faces: A Fact Sheet from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (2018)

August 1, 2018

Provides national, state, and local statistics and data about affordable housing, family status of homeless households, living wage jobs, tax inequality, un- and under-employment, the poverty rate, and other exacerbating factors that feed into and exacerbate homelessness.

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.

Due to State Budget Impasse More than $107 Million in Dedicated Funds for Affordable Housing Are Going Unused

December 21, 2015

As the state budget impasse nears its six-month mark, the State of Illinois has accumulated $107.8 million in 7 dedicated funds to create affordable housing and end homelessness according to a report released today. However, these funds -- such as the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund and federal HOME Investment Partners Program funds -- cannot be spent without approval by the General Assembly and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. These 7 dedicated funds -- 6 state funds and one federal fund -- have their own revenue sources and are separate and apart from General Revenue Funds (GRF) collected from income taxes and other revenue sources. Spending these dedicated funds would not increase the state budget deficit. Based on the budget passed by the General Assembly in May 2015, the report estimates that resources from these dedicated funds and a small amount of GRF could:Fund programs serving the affordable housing needs of 172,350 people.Provide funding for 14,640 units of affordable housing.The programs not being funded include homeless prevention grants, emergency shelters and foreclosure prevention counseling. The housing units are primarily permanent supportive housing for people who were formerly homeless.

Housing and Homelessness

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.

The State Budget Impasse Is Causing Homelessness in Illinois: A Responsible Budget with Adequate Revenue is Urgently Needed

September 10, 2015

Starting August 14, 2015 and through September 2, 2015, homeless service providers throughout Illinois were surveyed to find out what steps they have already taken in response to the state budget impasse and what steps they will have to take if the budget impasse continues and/or their funding in next year's budget is significantly reduced. One hundred and one homeless service providers responded -- agencies large and small, from urban, suburban and rural communities.

Facts and Statistics; Housing and Homelessness

The Facts Behind the Faces: A Fact Sheet from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (2015)

March 1, 2015

Provides national, state, and local statistics and data about affordable housing, family status of homeless households, living wage jobs, tax inequality, un- and under-employment, the poverty rate, and other exacerbating factors that feed into and exacerbate homelessness.

Facts and Statistics; Families and Homelessness; Healthcare and Homelessness; Housing and Homelessness; Jobs and Homelessness

Gaps in Educational Supports for Illinois Homeless Students

February 27, 2014

Homeless children and youth in Illinois have the right under state and federal law to receive supports from their school districts to help them enroll, prevent school changes, and succeed in school. The federal government supplies some resources for school districts to achieve these goals, but the resources are far from adequate. A December 2013 statewide survey found that in a majority of school districts, more than half of homeless students who needed support were not getting the following services:52% said that more than half of homeless students did not receive tutoring52% said that more than half of homeless children that needed preschool did not access it.56% said that more than half of students did not receive counseling58% said that more than half of students did not receive help with public benefits50% said that more than half of students did not receive help with long-term housing44% said their capacity to identify and enroll homeless children and youth not in school was limited to very limited.The survey findings indicate a strong need for more resources. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless advocates that the state of Illinois restore $3 million in school grant funding to assist the growing and unmet needs of homeless students.

Children and Youth and Homelessness

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

Treatment Courts and Court-Affiliated Diversion Projects for Prostitution in the United States

November 1, 2012

In February of 2009, staff of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless began a dialogue with the Honorable Paul P. Biebel, Presiding Judge of Cook County Criminal Courts, regarding the possibility of a new problem-solving court specializing in prostitution offenses. For our own edification, we searched for other court models around the country with this same focus. We found several; however, there was no centralized source of information. There was also a lack of shared information among those responsible for coordinating these court projects. In fact, few of these court teams were aware of the other courts in operation. We found more and more court models randomly via keyword searches on the Internet or word of mouth. Those that we contacted regarding their court models were eager and enthusiastic about their models, willing to openly share any information requested, and excited about the prospect of new models and connecting with other existing courts and their associated programs.As we moved further into developing and preparing for the WINGS Project, the newly formed felony prostitution court in Cook County, Illinois, we felt that it would be highly beneficial to begin sharing the knowledge, best practices, and contact information among the courts throughout the country. We wanted to create a tool that facilitated communication and learning between all of the court teams. The information regarding these courts was invaluable in the creation of the WINGS Project, and we hope it can be as useful for other specialty courts for prostitution offenses around the country.The authors of this report have not physically observed any of the court or diversion projects described in this report other than the WINGS Project/Feathers and the Maywood court calls. The information presented about each project is based on countless hours of phone interviews and email communication, as well as any online articles or reports; therefore, the information presented is not completely neutral, and any subjective information or views expressed within those sections do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors.The court and diversion projects in this report are by no means meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather only what we have been able to find through extensive research to date. This report is, and may always be, a work in progress. Our hope is that this report will also help us gain awareness of other projects and even spur other communities to develop similar projects. The sharing of this tool should lead to even greater sharing, ever-improving models, and a much more comprehensive base of knowledge on the subject of effective criminal justice-based models that divert individuals with prostitution offenses away from prison and into desperately needed community-based services.


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

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