Happy Veteran’s Day!

CJ Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran’s Day! CJ is a former CCO resident and U.S. Military Veteran. She moved from homelessness to housing two years ago. We rejoice with her that this year she can observe Veteran’s Day from her own home. Great job, CJ!

In recent years, U.S. Veteran homelessness has declined but their is still a lot of work to be done. At CCO, we believe that safe housing is a human right. Are you a veteran experiencing homelessness? If so, a federal housing program called HUD-VASH may help you. Click here to go to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs HUD-VASH website.

2016 Marathon Album! Get Inspired!

Commitment, motivation, and inspiration are just a few of the words that describe  Team CCO at this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon! Every member of the team “wowed” us with their commitment to crossing the finish line. They motivated us to support homeless services and inspired us to give! We want to extend our deepest thanks to each member of the team who endured 26.2 miles to help families and individuals who are sheltered at CCO. Every step you took brought someone closer to permanent housing.  You have truly inspired us!

We also want to thank the support team who cheered everyone on at the Charity Block Tent. Your encouragement kept the team on the road to the finish line!

Are you inspired? Registration for the 2017 Chicago Marathon is open from October 25 – November 29, 2016. Contact Andrew at teamcco@ccolife.org or visit the Team CCO page to request more information. Not a runner? It’s not too late to give to the team that supports those sheltered at CCO. Visit the Team CCO CrowdRise page by clicking here.

Click the album below to view the Team CCO 2016 Marathon photo album.

 

Home for Heroes

Glenn Kaiser

Glenn Kaiser and friends have put together an outstanding recording to benefit Cornerstone Community Outreach. The music was released on February 8, 2016 and 100% of donations will go to providing safe shelter, nutritious meals, and compassionate management services to the men, women, and children residing at CCO.

Here are a few reviews:
“Glenn Kaiser…the revered Chicago bluesman…joined forces to help raise funds for the Cornerstone Community Outreach…this leads to Kaiser’s reflective side shining through but it’s all done without sacrificing the vocal power and passion that has become the singer’s trademark…Kaiser on top form…worthwhile release… 8/10.”
– Crossrhythms (Lins Honeyman)

“I had to check out something new from brother Glenn who I’ve looked up to for 35 years. He’s like a distant pastor to me and a tremendous example to follow…This whole album is like delicious organic fruit. The good stuff without the pesticides of over production and empty lyrics. And it supports a great cause as well…Looking forward to soaking my soul in all of these songs for a while…Five Stars.”
– iTunes Reviewer

Click here to listen to the title track, “Homes for Heroes” and donate and download today!

Tommy’s Story…

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Tommy is an extremely unassuming and polite man! He is drug-free, alcohol-free and felony-free. He doesn’t want to bother anyone. He’s happy to quietly sit and I’ve never heard him complain! (I’m complaining for him) He just lives “day-by-day”, accepting his “homeless fate”. When he wandered into Cornerstone, he didn’t come yelling or demanding answers, he was just expecting CCO to be part of his journey, he was expecting CCO to be just another place to lay his weary bones! But, we had other plans, so we drew this information out of him…..

Click here to read Tommy’s story of hope in the midst of U.S. Veteran homelessness.

CCO Veteran Recognition Dinner

Take a moment to view the photo album from this years CCO Veteran Recognition Dinner. The CCO kitchen prepared a delicious meal that was enjoyed by all our shelter guests, our veterans were honored, and Theresa McCall sang beautifully for everyone. The National Veterans Art Museum provided military art mugs for our veterans. It was a beautiful evening for our CCO guests, staff and veterans.

 

Veteran Success After 30 Years Homeless

Success
In early 2013, Tommy, a senior citizen and Vietnam Veteran, wandered into our place. He’d been homeless for 30 years! Yes, that’s not a misprint; Tommy had been homeless in Chicago for 30 long years. For 30 long years, he’d been rotating in and out shelters and uninhabitable places! He lives in this massive city, without income and without health insurance! For 30 years, Tommy had been an invisible man in the hustle and bustle of never-ending crowds!

Tommy is an extremely unassuming and polite man! He is drug-free, alcohol-free and felony-free. He doesn’t want to bother anyone. He’s happy to quietly sit and I’ve never heard him complain! (I’m complaining for him) He just lives “day-by-day”, accepting his “homeless fate”. When he wandered into Cornerstone, he didn’t come yelling or demanding answers, he was just expecting CCO to be part of his journey, he was expecting CCO to be just another place to lay his weary bones! But, we had other plans, so we drew this information out of him…..

And upon hearing this American tragedy, we knew we had to be the answer. We also knew it rested upon our shoulders to help turn his tale of despair into a story of hope!

This is a little shout-out to a couple of my fellow case-managers (Andre and Franck); through some amazing displays of dedication and love, Tommy’s story has changed! Tommy trusts us! Tommy knows we care! Tommy needed direction in trying to navigate through a complicated system that is wrapped in a lot of “red tape”. Tommy needed people to advocate for him. He needed people willing to do a lot of leg work for him. Results started happening when we personally took him to the Veterans Administration, Social Security and other places. Results started happening when we became his voice and made a bunch of phone calls on his behalf! Tommy is now getting helped medically by the VA and he’s on the tedious path toward finally getting the financial assistance he deserves.

We didn’t just say, “Hey Tommy: Do this; GO”. We went with him! We spoke for him! We made sure he was seen! We made sure Tommy was “invisible-no-more”! Through these efforts, Tommy got his HUD VASH (Veterans Administration Supportive Housing) voucher.

Tommy’s tragic tale has resurrected into a source of hope!
After his long and tedious journey, Tommy successfully moved into his own apartment in early 2014! He is now getting the support, medical care and financial assistance he earned and deserves.

-Jeremy Nicholls, CCO Men’s Program Supervisor

Veterans Day last year was just another night in a shelter for Tommy. Through compassionate support and intensive case management, Tommy has now been housed in his own apartment for nearly two year!