“When I saw a homeless person I saw a ‘bum.’ Now, when I see a homeless person I see myself.”
Educated, employed, hardworking and homeless… This video gives a brief look into the trials of persons with unexpected health issues and how these issues make getting housed more difficult. It briefly explores the heartache of seeing your own children homeless and the despair that ensues. The footage also touches on the unexpected trial awaiting families that have older male children. Many family shelters will not admit males over age 8 or 10.
The recession has unleashed a new wave of homeless families. Our hope is that shelters and housing geared towards those most effected by the economic downturn can continue to doing their important work. At CCO, we believe that families should be supported and guided through homelessness to secure housing regardless of health problems, families size, age, gender or beliefs.
“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 were 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 frost bite. 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 bus 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.”
These are the words of our good friend, Archie. He spoke candidly with us about how to survive on the streets in the winter. I’m happy to report that Archie is permanently housed. Also, the CCO dining room is an emergency location for people on the streets in cold weather. Help us continue to bring Chicago’s most vulnerable citizens in from outside. We can’t do it without you. Thanks!
In 2012, over 177 people moved into permanent housing from one of CCO’s shelter programs or our street outreach. We love to hear the exciting sound of apartment keys jingling in the hands of former residents.
Help us continue to serve the homeless population of Chicago by donating to the work of CCO. Your partnership makes a difference in the lives of families and individuals.
Did you know? On average, 35% of CCO’s childhood shelter population is under 5 years old. Our longest-running shelter program, Hannah House, has worked with hundreds of families with small children to move from homelessness to stable housing.
Join us in congratulating Ramere and his little girl, Lunique! They have found permanent housing and have moved out of CCO. Ramere has been one of a growing number of men with children who have stayed at CCO. We are seeing more and more fathers in search of shelter for themselves and their children. And we are glad to serve this special population.
Join us in congratulating Lisette! She and her little boy will be moving into permanent housing today. We are especially grateful to Lisette for allowing us to include her picture in our Mother’s Day letter. Enjoy your new place, Lisette!
In 1998 Naomi House began providing overnight shelter for 65 single women. In 2004 this program changed locations and became a 24-hour shelter. Today, Naomi House continues to serve women of all ages with dignity and respect.
Melinda, pictured here, has been successfully housed for nearly a year. Congratulations, Melinda!