As you read through the 2014 statistics, remember that each number represents shelter guests at CCO. Whether it’s a family of four who moved from CCO to permanent housing, or a senior citizen taking a bag of nutritious food home from the CCO Food Pantry, good things are happening every day at CCO.
In 2014, over 213 people moved into permanent housing from one of CCO’s shelter programs or through street outreach. Safe, affordable housing is the ultimate goal for each of the families and individuals sheltered at CCO. There is no greater joy than in seeing a new lease and/ or apartment keys in the hands of one of our shelter guests.
Last year, CCO helped 7 households maintain their housing through financial assistance provided by the Emergency Fund. Maintaining housing through financial aid helps to keep families stable and out of the shelter system.
Reducing Chronic Homelessness
Maintaining housing is a critical element in the fight against homelessness. In 2014, over 90 households who successfully left CCO remained in their housing for 6 months or more.
Birth Certificates/ State ID’s/ Drivers Licenses
In 2014, over 260 people obtained their birth certificates with the help of CCO. Over 100 people got Illinois State IDs and 12 people obtained their driver’s license. Many shelter guests come through the doors of CCO with no identification at all. It’s critical to begin the process of getting our shelter guests basic identification immediately. The process can take several weeks to a month.
Over 236,600 plates of food were served to families and individuals sheltered at CCO in 2014. In 2014, over 7,500 bags of nutritious food items were distributed by CCO. Food items are provided by the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). Of the foods received from the GCFD, 25% were fresh fruits and vegetables. It is often costly and difficult for people struggling with poverty to get nutrient-dense foods and we are grateful to include healthy options. In 2014, over 5,000 plates of food were served to our neighbors in need at our Saturday “Dinner Guest” program. Providing nutritious meals and food items is a valuable service for people dealing with food insecurity.
In 2014, CCO assisted hundreds of shelter guests with transportation assistance. CCO assists shelter guests with transit cards until they have established their own income. If residents are not able to get to training programs, interviews, appointments and other meetings, it is impossible to take the necessary steps away from poverty and homelessness. A simple CTA card can enable one of our shelter guests to take these vital steps into a stable future.
Employment Essentials/ Uniforms, Work boots, Transportation
Over 120 weekly CTA transit cards and 4 monthly passes enabled CCO shelter guests to get to their employment until their first check paycheck arrives. Homeless people often lose their jobs simply because they cannot get to work. A relatively small investment, such as a CTA card, means that families and individuals can stabilize their lives.
Twelve people were assisted with employment essentials. Purchases include various work uniforms, steel-toed boots, shoes, black pants and other employment needs. Again, sometimes a simple pair of work boots or a uniform is often all that is needed to move forward in a new job.
Free Store “Shopping”
Over 2,000 “shoppers” were able to select clothing and household items from our CCO Free Store in 2014. Items available in the Free Store are made up of gently-used donations that are given to CCO. We, in turn, display clothing, shoes, car seats, books, winter wear, bags, toys, and many other useful items for our shelter guests and neighbors in need.
In 2014, our dedicated volunteers donated over 33,000 hours of hard work at CCO. Whether they were preparing or serving a meal, sorting and hanging clothes in the Free Store, painting a wall or reading to children, these hours strengthen and maintain basic day-to-day life at CCO. We are grateful for each volunteer and every hour they spend serving our shelter guests and neighbors.
Chicago Hopes continues to offer valuable tutoring services 3 afternoons a week for school-age children residing at CCO. We are grateful for this much-needed service and the academic and emotional benefit our children receive through Chicago Hopes.
The Holidays are extravagant at CCO and by extravagant we mean, just like the typical American holiday season. Treats, special holiday foods, gifts for adults and children, festive music, and Christmas parties bring a sense of compassion and care to our shelter guests. People residing in our family and single programs are all part of the celebrations. No one is more excited that the 140 children sheltered at CCO with their families! CCO Shelter guests who have found housing are invited to come back and get toys and gifts for their family, as well. No one is left out!
Winter Outreach/ Search and Rescue Efforts
When temperatures reach a life-threatening level, CCO Outreach Workers bring those living on the streets inside. Warm shelter and food is offered to anyone wishing to get out of the dangerous elements. On cold nights, as many as 35 additional people are sheltered with us. We are grateful to welcome our city’s most vulnerable citizens into CCO and out of the extreme weather conditions.
Our Partnership with You
Your support continues to be a critical and valuable part of life at CCO. Please continue to share in all the important services offered to our shelter guests by making a donation today!