Stepping Stones to Success!

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Here are a few of the ways CCO residents got help in January….
We assisted 27 people in getting their birth certificates from a range of different States. Birth certificates and important ID are the stepping stones to the services that are available to homeless families and individuals. It’s nearly impossible to get anything done without identification.


We helped 3 families with rental assistance, so they could either stay housed or successfully move into housing. We also helped another 2 guys get some household items. If they hadn’t gotten this assistance they would have moved into completely empty apartments. Now they can settle into their new place and make it a home.


We also assisted 8 people with transit cards, because they got employed and couldn’t get to their new jobs (we helped them until they get paid and can afford their own). Another 2 people needed work boots and one lady needed help getting a uniform.

All of the assistance mentioned above has been part of the stepping stones that allow our shelter guests to find and sustain stability and permanent housing. We are grateful to be a small part of their success. You can continue to be a part of the good things that are happening at CCO. Considering volunteering your time or making a financial donation.

Thank you!

Driving Through the Blowing Snow

Epworth Men's Run

CCO men heading to the Epworth Church where they sleep each night.

Blowing snow and frigid temperatures this week means that CCO staff embarked on many evening runs in a large maxi van. Since last Sunday, staff have been driving our men’s shelter guests from CCO to Epworth Church where they sleep every night. In the daytime, the men meet with their case workers and have meals in the main CCO buildings.

Consider donating to CCO and being a part of the good things that are happening (no matter the weather) here! Thank you!

Epworth Men's Run

The maxi van take the men to Epworth Church where they sleep each night.

Epworth Men's Run

Sandy Ramsey, CCO Executive Director, drives the men sheltered at CCO to Epworth Church.

CCO Men Celebrated at Holiday Dinner!

Men's Shelter Christmas Party blogger-image--1639520058
On Friday we had our annual Christmas party for the men who stay with us at Cornerstone. It was also attended by those who were once homeless and are now housed, and also by some of the homeless men who sleep outside in the neighborhood.
We had a great meal of bbq chicken, pork chops, mac’n’cheese, spaghetti, rolls, salad and cake. It was delicious and they all loved it.
Each man received a bag with a variety of gifts. We were able to give away presents like hoodies, hats, gloves, scarves, high quality dress-shirts and pants, peanuts, chocolates, flashlights, hygiene kits, gift cards and many other things.
Everyone who attended was incredibly grateful and had a wonderful time. They kept saying “thank you” over and over again!
Men who are experiencing homelessness, are often ignored and forgotten during the Christmas season. Many of these men do not expect anything. They, unfortunately, are expecting to be ignored and forgotten again.
So, it is always a joy to be part of this and to surprise them. It is always a joy to see the unexpected delight and happiness form on their faces, knowing they have been remembered and loved!
….and isn’t this what Christmas is all about?

….isn’t this why the Christ Child came into the world, bringing a new Kingdom of Love? A Kingdom that elevates, saves and surprises those who are sick, marginalized and abandoned?
Surprising people in our dark world, with unexpected rays of love and light!
Surprising people, who think all is lost, with new gifts and new hope!
Surprising people, who’ve been cast aside by this world, by remembering them and making sure they know they are loved and not forgotten!

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 one year!

CCO Residents Art Event!

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!

Homeless to Housed!

Robert Success

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!

Great News!

Successfully Housed

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!

Thank you!

Sheila Simon visits CCO

Sheila Simon

“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!

Homeless to Housed

Success

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!

Consider donating today! Donors and volunteers are a vital part of the good that goes on at CCO. Thank you!