Did You Know?

Eating in the Dining Room

Did you know that $1.17 per day will provide 3 nutritious meals for one person living at CCO? Cornerstone shelters homeless families with children and individuals. While staying at CCO each resident is offered case management services, a bed, meals, a variety of classes, and much more, in a respectful and understanding setting.
If you would like to donate towards the basic daily needs of homeless families or individuals living at CCO click on the black Donate Now button below. You won’t regret helping someone in need. Thank you for partnering with us in this crucial work!


Put Your Walking Shoes ON!

2012 Hunger Walk

Put your walking shoes on and join us for the 27th Annual Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk! This Saturday, June 23 thousands of concerned volunteers will be walking 3 miles along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront to help end hunger in our city. Registration starts at 7am at Soldier Field and the walk begins at 8:30am. Each walker walking on behalf of Cornerstone Community Outreach will mean 214 pounds of food from the Food Depot for CCO use. These food items will feed our homeless residents, our food pantry patrons and our dinner guests. Please join us! For more information e-mail Beth at bnicholls@ccolife.org. Thank you!

Happy Father’s Day from CCO!

Father's Day Image

Happy Father’s Day from CCO! Take a few minutes and read Lydell’s story,

“I Decided to Stay!” Thanks!

I Decided To Stay

11:05am, December 4, 2002, he was born. Lydell Doss, III, arrived breach with his brown eyes wide open. It was beautiful to see his first movements and to hear his new born cries.

One day later I would be crying in disbelief. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) removed him from the hospital and he became a ward of the state. This action was due to the past drug abuse of Little Lydell’s mother and I. It hurt deeply. It was painful not to take my child home. I see now that God was setting me up for something greater.

My court date was set for December 13th at Children and Family Court. It was my opportunity to explain my desire to take care of Little Lydell. At the time, I had a warrant out for my arrest and I knew it was a risk for me to walk into a courthouse full of police officers and security guards. But I was determined and I knew I had to go and represent my baby boy. When I got to the courthouse my lawyer informed me that the sheriff was coming and I was going to be arrested. They wanted to know if I was going to stay or run. I decided to stay.

That day DCFS placed Little Lydell in his auntie’s custody and I was arrested and locked in Cook County Jail.

Life moved on and after I was released from jail I found myself once again in a losing battle with my drug addiction. By the summer of 2003 I was back on the streets and back into drugs. That winter I was still addicted. It made me think back to when I was selling drugs and eventually got hooked. And how, now, long after that I became homeless and started living in a vacant apartment, getting high and wasting time. I started to rethink my life. I began to really think about Little Lydell and the future and how I was going to take care of him. The thought of him did something to me. It was then that I decided I needed to go into a drug treatment program.

I made a call to my DCFS caseworker from Salvation Army’s Harbor Lights program and let her know I was in rehab. She was surprised; she did not know that I had been addicted to drugs. I explained to her that I had been using for years. I knew I had to be truthful, with her and with myself. God put it on my heart to make changes in my life. I attended Parenting, Anger Management and many other classes and groups to help me understand why I do what I do. I began walking down the road of self knowledge and that helped me to let go of the old issues and the old problems.

I prayed a lot for Little Lydell while I was in the program. And it was during this time that he was put in foster care. He was temporarily place with a loving woman. I was so grateful to find that she had a strong belief in God! She became the answer to my prayer and today she is Little Lydell’s godmother.

The staff members of Salvation Army were really helpful. They would go to court dates with me and testify to the changes they had seen in me throughout my time in treatment. I visited Little Lydell faithfully during my months at the Harbor Lights program. At first I was allowed to see him every 2 weeks then DCFS moved it up to once a week. Overtime we were awarded unsupervised visits and then overnight visits. My time with Little Lydell meant everything to me and my goal was to have him returned home to me.

In June of 2004 I completed my program requirement at Salvation Army and moved in with my mother and father. It was scary at first became I hadn’t been out on the streets in so long but I started going to church and to AA and NA meetings.

September 15, 2005 I was awarded full custody of Little Lydell! I could hardly sleep the night before. I was happy, ecstatic! God put a child with me. It was more than being a parent. Knowing Little Lydell looked to me as a father made me work harder to stay clean and sober. It made me work harder to be the man I needed to be for Lydell, myself and my family.

Lydell and I moved into Cornerstone Community Outreach on August 15, 2006. We got offers to live with family members until we got on our feet but I felt that God wanted to take me out of my comfort zone. It was my first time in a homeless shelter. When I moved in I spent a lot of time reading and trying to grow spiritually. Staff members were really helpful and tried to answer any questions I h

One CCO Father’s Story…

Many fathers find it difficult to secure shelter when they need it most. We are grateful for the opportunity to know and serve dads who wish to stabilize their families and create a better future for their children.

The staff and residents of Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO) would like to wish you a happy Father’s Day! CCO continues to welcome homeless fathers with children into our family shelter program. Happy Father’s Day!

If you would like to partner with CCO in providing shelter and services to homeless fathers, mothers, children and single people. Click on the green Donate Now button below.

Take a few minutes to read one father’s story.

Nathan needed…

A Place to Begin

“I always wanted my boys. Nathan, Jr., and Isaiah needing me caused me to change my life.” Nathan spoke openly to me about his ordeal to gain custody of his two sons, his efforts to bring them to a safe place, and how that path led them to Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO).

Not so long ago Nathan was living in a small apartment with a roommate. He received a call from a family member telling him he needed to come and get his boys. They had been living with their mother and their situation with her had rapidly deteriorated. He was told if he didn’t come immediately and take them they would go into protective custody. He felt that this was an opportunity to be a full-time father to his children. He went to get them.

“When I got to the apartment my kids were wild, they looked wild. I knew if I was going to take care of them that my life would change. I was happy, nervous, and scared. I knew I wanted them.”

“They were as excited as I was. Hearing them call me Dad really made me step up to the plate. That was my title, “Dad.” Everyone wants a title, it makes you who you are. I wanted to be their dad and that’s who I am. It’s not glamorous. You have to make sacrifices with a title like that. You have to earn it.”

“I didn’t meet my own father until I was 16. I was star-struck but he wasn’t really a dad. He was someone I wanted to see but not someone I wanted to be.”

Nathan and his sons stayed with his roommate for a while and then they found themselves homeless. He needed a place to get on his feet, not only for himself but for his sons, as well. Fathers find it particularly difficult to get shelter for themselves and their children. Most shelters are designed for single adults or women with children. But there’s a growing need for dads to find a place to be the fathers they want to be.

“I had never been homeless before. I went to the Department of Human Services office and told them that I wanted to raise my boys and we needed shelter. They said, “Have you ever been to Cornerstone?” I was skeptical at first. My boys had lived in some rough places with their mother but they had never been in a shelter. I was surprised, it’s a nice environment. Of course it has its challenges, living so closely with other families. CCO is close to the lake and sometimes we go for a walk on the beach at Lake Michigan. We can be together and watch the dogs run and play. We can just enjoy being a family.”

Since moving into the shelter, Nathan has gotten full-time employment at Argo Tea, an upscale urban café. One of Nathan’s tasks at work is to unload large amounts of tea. He explained that if the packages aren’t shipped to them on a pallet the containers could shift and get damaged. While doing this job Nathan had a realization that just as the tea needs a pallet, “in life you have to have a base. You have to have a starting point, a place to begin.”

We are glad Nathan turned to Cornerstone as “a place to begin.” He continues to focus on being a father while working full-time as he searches for permanent housing. We look forward to seeing him further stabilize his family while continuing to pursue his goals.

Over the last few years we have seen an increase in fathers with children seeking shelter. We applaud the men who choose to raise their children even under the most difficult circumstances. CCO considers it a privilege to continue serving and welcoming this under served population.

-Nathan as told to Beth Nicholls

Doing the Right Thing as a Father…

Antwon and Daughter

“There’s so much negative imagery of black fatherhood.

I’ve got tons of friends that are doing the right thing by their kids, and doing the right thing as a father –

and how come that’s not as newsworthy?”

-Will Smith

Many fathers are sheltered at CCO and given the opportunity to stabilize their families. We count it a privilege to serve dads who want to care for their children and it’s been a joy to see so many housed and employed over the years. Our posts for the remainder of the week will be about our CCO dad’s. We hope you enjoy it!


Help Fight Hunger in Chicago!


Join us on Saturday, June 23 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk. More than 807,000 people in Cook County experience food insecurity. You can be part of the solution. Each walker walking for Cornerstone Community Outreach will provide CCO with a 214 pound food credit at the Food Depot. That food will feed our homeless shelter residents, dinner guests and food pantry patrons.

Registration is from 7-8:30 am and the walk will begin at Soldier Field. Come join us for a beautiful 3 mile walk along Chicago’s lakefront. E-mail Beth at bnicholls@ccolife.org for more information. Thanks!