Chronically Homeless to Housed…



Years of sleeping under viaducts, in trains, abandoned buildings, homeless shelters, loading docks, in dumpsters, on couches of some compassionate friends and under the hazy starless Chicago sky are finally coming to an end!

Years of being surrounded by masses are also coming to an end; with the crowded drop-in centers and the never-ending lines for food, toilets and that thin mattress on the floor. The peaceful freedom of being alone and being able to choose what television station they wish to watch will now saturate their realities!

….and now that dream is turning into reality…..

Clarence, Reggie and Kenny have battled for self-sufficiency and independence for years; these men aren’t lazy bums, but a few fellas struggling and hustling to overcome the obstacles that are plopped right in front of them. These are men who don’t have the support network surrounding them, enabling them to rise above the things that have held them down. These 3 men are all in their fifties and have seen the “land of opportunity” become a mystifying mist. Because of bad credit, arrests, addictions and health woes, they have been pushed further and further into the miry clay that has trapped them.

Yet, on this blessed week, we are honored to watch their fortunes turn drastically, and for that, we are eternally thankful….

What makes me smile is that I’ve had the privilege of playing a small role in each of their stories of successful movement! I’ve seen the painful journeys each of these men have reluctantly traveled. I’ve witnessed all the blood, sweat and tears shed along the way.

In other words, we made it imperative and vitally important that Clarence, Reggie and Kenny weren’t ignored and forgotten for another 41 years! These 3 chronically homeless men remained focused in our radar…

I’m writing this today, because it’s cause to celebrate; when a chronically homeless man or woman finds a home to live in permanently, a miracle happens! Even though I believe that housing should be every person’s right, a dark reality remains; when someone struggles with homelessness for years, the task of finding permanent housing becomes almost insurmountable and they need the help and guidance of people who love and care for them! But today, these 3 men prove miracles are alive and well in Uptown! What these chronically homeless men received was, a bunch of love, support and guidance, and they found it right here at Cornerstone Community Outreach!

….and now they’re moving into their own apartments, where they’ll be able to relax in their own beds, watch their own TVs, bathe in their own tubs and choose their own food to eat!

To read the full post go to, Setting Prisoners Free.

…A Place At CCO


Mothers with children, fathers with children, couples with children, inter-generational families, single women, single men, persons with physical challenges, all have a place at CCO.

“A July 2012 analysis by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless shows 105,338 Chicagoans were homeless in the course of the 2011-12 school year. This is 12% more than the 93,780 who were homeless a year earlier. The total is based, in part, on the rising enrollment of homeless students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).” – Chicago Coalition for the Homelessness

At Cornerstone we hope to bridge the gap between homelessness and housing for our residents. By providing safe shelter, nutritious meals, case management services, referrals, physical- and mental-health services and a free store. We try to meet the needs of our residents by meeting them where they’re at and assisting them in finding permanent housing. And it’s always a joy to witness residents achieving their goals and moving toward self-sufficiency.

Educated, Employed & Homeless…

“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.


Registered to Run!!!

Andrew Winter, Team CCO Captain

Andrew Winter, Team CCO Captain.

Registration has officially opened for the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (BACM). Andrew Winter, pictured above in 2012 Team CCO gear, is excited to be leading the team for another year! Fifty dedicated runners have joined Team CCO and will be running the BACM on behalf of the homeless families and individuals we serve.

We will keep you updated on the training, volunteer events and fundraising that Team CCO will be planning and participating in over the next 8 months. Thanks, Team CCO! We’re looking forward to another great year!

24 Hours til Registration!!!

Team CCO 2012

Pictured above is Tom & Rebecca Crozier. The father-daughter team ran the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on behalf of CCO.

In exactly 24 hours registration will open for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! Have you joined Team CCO? Follow the link to find out how you can achieve your fitness goals while helping to alleviate homelessness in Chicago!

Click on the Team CCO tab above to find out more. Thank you!

Belated Valentines Day from CCO!

cutie pie

Everyone at Cornerstone Community Outreach would like to wish you Happy Belated Valentines Day!

Our website was down yesterday so we are sending our greeting out a little late.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

-Mother Teresa

Give a gift in honor of Valentines Day! Your donation can and does having a lasting impact on our shelter residents. To donate click on the “Donate Now” button below. Thank you!


Why join Team CCO?

Why did Hannah run for Team CCO in 2012? Click on the video below to find out.

To learn more about Team CCO and how running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon can help alleviate homelessness in Chicago click on the Team CCO tab above.


homeandcco20112012 008 from Cornerstone Community Outreach on Vimeo.

Team CCO

Team CCO

There is less than one week til registration begins for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Event officials are predicting that race slots will fill within one day. Is this your year to join? Our team is growing and we are looking for even more committed volunteers. For more information about Team CCO click on the Team CCO tab above.

Last year, Team CCO raised homeless awareness and over $15,000 for Cornerstone Community Outreach. The teams fundraising efforts helped provide nutritious meals, safe shelter and essential case management services for our homeless guests.  Join our team!