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.
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 one year!
CCO shelter guests hosted an inspiring and original art event last Saturday, April 26 from 5-8pm. The event took place at Epworth United Methodist Church in Chicago.
Greg Palmer organized the event and showcased his artwork. He had several portraits of celebrities along with some abstract art. His work will be on exhibit on May 24 at the Creative CoWorker in Evanston, Illinois. The uniquely urban artwork of Shawn Price was displayed along with his original play. Also, Quwa displayed his work at the event and said that he always adds a spiritual element to his pieces. His most recent focus is on natural meditation pads.
We are very proud of the three men who shared their artistic endeavors with the public. It was an inspiring and encouraging evening!
Great job, Robert! It’s good to see you with your new apartment keys. Congratulations!
CCO’s Shelter for Men provides bed space for 65 men each night. During the day men in the shelter program are offered intensive case management services, meals, on-site medical and mental health services, and a variety of services that meet the complex needs of each individual. Our goal is always stable, permanent housing. And it is our privilege to see our shelter guests move from homeless to housed! Join us in our efforts to provide safe, beneficial shelter. Donate Today!
It’s great to see Arturo in his brand new apartment! Congratulations!
It’s been an exciting week at CCO. Several of our single shelter guests have moved into permanent, stable housing. Five people found employment and two families moved into apartments this week from our family programs. We are grateful for all the success!
Your donations make these successful moves possible. Please donate today!
“I stopped by the Epworth Church gym late last night (Thursday, February 27) to meet these folks who run the overnight men’s shelter in Uptown. They are on the front line combating poverty and mental illness.” – Sheila Simon, Illinois Lieutenant Governor
We want to thank Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon for spending the evening at CCO’s Epworth Shelter for men. We appreciate your support. Thank you!
In 2013, over 170 people moved into permanent housing from one of CCO’s shelter programs or through street outreach. We never get tired of seeing our former shelter guests showing off their apartment keys!
Tzu Chi Foundation of Chicago generously donated a large number blankets to the CCO men’s overnight shelter. Each man sheltered in our men’s program got a new blanket with some left over for future use.
During these cold months, warmth is a wonderful gift. Thank you!
To learn more about CCO’s shelters for homeless individuals, click here.
Providing shelter matters. That is particularly true in the recent frigid weather. CCO staff work even harder during the colder season to make sure everyone is safe and indoors.
Join us in our efforts to see our homeless brother and sisters through this cold season. Volunteer or donate today! Thank you!
Take a moment to read what Archie had to say about trying to survive on the winter streets…
“First, you have to find a lot of blankets; at least 5 or 6, but 10 or 12 would be better. Try to keep them dry. Put on all your clothes, one layer on top of another. Find a place where the wind isn’t blowing too much, like a spot against a wall. Look for a hospital with warm air vents. And if it’s raining or snowing put some cardboard under you and get some shelter over you, like an awning or overhanging. Find some more people trying to survive, because you’ll stay warmer together. Take off your wet socks and anything else that’s wet or else you’ll freeze or get frostbite. Wrap up in all your blankets and put some over your head. You don’t worry about breathing because you’re so cold. The trick is to keep the air out.
If you can get a transit pass, your best bet is to ride the train. Try to find someone else to ride with you so one of you can sleep and one of you can watch your stuff. Keep your stuff on the inside seat and sit next to it. Get off the train before the end of the line so they don’t know you’re homeless or they’ll kick you off the next time you get on. Try to go unnoticed and switch trains so you can ride all night. It sounds crazy, I know, but you can do it, even when it’s below zero outside. You can make it.”