We have so much to be thankful for! Today, we congratulate Cedric who has moved into permanent housing after over 10 years of homelessness.
Now that is something to be thankful for!
It is our privileged to shelter homeless veterans every night but once a year we go all out to honor our veterans at the CCO Veteran’s Day Dinner.
This year, 92 year old Tuskegee Airmen, Virgil M. Poole Sr. graced us with his presence and words of encouragement. Our veterans were honored with a delicious soul food meal and music provided by Pierre & Louise Walker of St. Sabina Church. All of CCO’s shelter guests enjoyed the meal and festivities but a few tables were set up and decorated especially for our veterans.
This week is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Take a moment to consider the men and women who served the United States in the armed forces. Many of these men and women are homeless and in need of safe shelter and supportive services. We have had the joy of seeing veterans stabilize their lives and move into permanent housing. Become a part of the good things that are happening at CCO. Volunteer or donate today.
“I just found a job, so I’m a happy man because I feel more confident going to work!” -Rafael
The Cornerstone Barber Shop is open! Over 40 shelter guests received free, professional hair cuts at CCO this week. Six Chicago barbers donated their time and energy to serve our shelter guests in this very practical way.
CCO staff and residents want to say thank you to Orlando’s Hair Studio, Urbane Blades, and Hyde Park Hair Salon. Thank you to our very own, Charlene, who organized this fun and meaningful event complete with pizza and treats. Thank you!
In the month of October, over 40 single men and women in our shelter programs got referrals from CCO case managers to eye appointments at the Illinois Eye Institute. This is great news since many of our single shelter guests are senior citizens or have not had an eye exam in years. Thank you, Illinois Eye Institute!
The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that 33% of the male homeless population are veterans. Among these men, 89% had an Honorable Discharge.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work along side men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. We have rejoiced with many residents who have obtained permanent housing with assistance from the case management team, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, and our partner agencies.
To learn more about homeless veterans in America click here.
“To live under a dictator is like slavery. There is no justice. There is no peace. It is not a free country.” Over fifty years of living under a Congolese dictatorship was long enough for Ildevert Mboungou. In the Congo, Ildevert worked as a chef for the employees of a major oil company. When it was found out that he was a supporter of the Democratic party the dictatorship that ruled and mistreated the Congolese people for decades began to severely abuse him. Ildevert was forced to leave his employment, his home, and all he knew. He had to escape his homeland and flee to America.
“I flew directly to Chicago. I did not know anyone. I was alone and deeply sad. I was living in the el train station and a man approached me and spoke my language. He told me that he knew where I could get help and he brought me to CCO (Cornerstone Community Outreach). I don’t know who he was.” Homeless shelters do not exist in the Congo and Ildevert was not aware that help was available or how to find it. This kind stranger took him from being isolated and living outside, to CCO where he could find a sense of community, support, and help for the future.
“I came to CCO with only a plastic bag that held my Bible, documents, passport and coat. That is all I had but I was happy to find shelter. I met Franke, Andre and Jeremy and they made me feel welcome. I was able to have meals, clothes, showers, and a bed. I am no longer alone and outside. Coming to the shelter was extraordinary!”
Almost immediately, Ildevert told staff that he would like to volunteer in the kitchen. “Cornerstone helped me, I want to help Cornerstone.” His culinary skills have been put to good use and he does a magnificent job and among CCO’s shelter guests Ildevert has found friends. One friend helps him practice the english language and is a great source of encouragement.
Today, Ildevert’s time is filled and he does more than volunteer for CCO. He is taking a course at Truman College for English as a second-language. He has begun training to get a certificate in Food Service at Inspiration Corporation. He is an active volunteer at the Kolver Center for survivors of politically-sanctioned torture. We rejoiced with Ildevert when he received his political asylum certificate from the United States government. And we look forward to seeing great things from this humble, grateful and generous man. “I prayed and God remembered me and brought me up from my low place.”
- Ildevert Mboungou, as told to Beth Nicholls and translated by Francke Moukiama
Glenn James, a homeless Boston man, found a backpack that contained $42,000 in cash and travelers checks. He immediately turned it in to police. Mr. James said, “even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny. I am extremely religious — God has always very well looked after me.”
Mr. James became homeless due to loss of employment. He suffers from an ear disorder that causes bouts of vertigo. His story has caught a lot of attention and concerned persons have started a fundraising page at GoFundMe.
Click here to read the full article.
Thank you, Mr. James, for showing character, integrity and breaking down false stereotypes about homeless people. You are a great example to us all!
Today is Memorial Day and everyday at CCO we are honored to shelter and serve a small army of homeless veterans. We’ve rejoiced with the men and women who have worked tirelessly to secure housing. And our hope is that one day all the men and women who gave so much would be able to have a home to call their own. To read more about being a homeless vet in America click on the image below…