ChicagoCoalition for the Homeless
ChicagoCoalition for the Homeless
Advocacyis a process that involves standing alongside an individual or agroup of people disadvantaged in one way or the other, then voicingone’s concerns by speaking out on their behalf in a manner that itrepresents the best interests of the person(s). The main aim ofadvocacy is to bring out beneficial results in a manner that itenables every client to remain with as much control over how theprocess is carried out as possible. As an advocate, the work entailsgiving advice and intention at the right time and position to assista person carry out an action to fix their problems. Advocacy is oftenurgent since it is an act that aims at representing issues thatrequire no delay. However, a little delay may have an impact on aperson or the society as a whole. In addition, its urgency helpsfacilitate negotiation for suitable and amicable resolutions, inwhich a dispute or complaint has arisen. The purpose of this papertherefore is to examine advocacy issues related to Chicago Coalitionfor the Homeless (CCH), which includes history and current state ofadvocacy on the issues, analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, andits audience.
In1980, CCH () was organized bysocial workers that realized that poor Chicagoans were growingincreasingly homeless. According to Hopper (2003), after the 1983murder of a youth on the streets, it resulted to the youth proteststoward the state to establish and fund six shelters to be used forthe homeless teens. Since then, CCH has grown to where it is now.CCH’s main issue is to organize and advocate since it believes thathousing is a right of every human being in a just society.
Accordingto Levinson (2004), CCH current issue involves advocacy for a housingcampaign, which is pushed for the state (Illinois) to fund theHomeless Prevention Grants for the families, and at the same timeprevent funding of the shelters and supportive/transitional housing.At the city level, CCH is also a lead Sweet Home Chicago partner, ahousing campaign that is backed up by eleven labor/community groups.CCH advocates that the city and the government create a moreaffordable housing that focuses on restoration of foreclosed rentedhousing. This could be made possible through supportive housing forlow-income household programs (,1985).
Previously,CCH advocacy group was among the 6 lead groups that entered intopartnership with Keeping Chicago Rentals led by Albany ParkNeighborhood Council towards the end of 2013 to early 2014. CCHadvocated for protection of tenants that keep up their own rents yetthey still face forceful eviction when the lenders foreclose on thelandlord/building owner. The coalition advocated for the tenants tobe paid 10,500 dollars by the lender to offset relocation costs(Hopper, 2003). CCH also pushed for maintenance of funding for thehomeless prevention grants, shelters, and homeless teens program forthat 2014’s budget.
Thestrength of CCH is that it advocates on the behalf of homelesspeople. Its advocacy plan created Sweet Home Chicago, managed by CCHas an affordable advocated housing campaign that was led by a laborunion and nine community organizations (Levinson, 2004). Again, itsstrength was realized when it proposed and drafted vital amendmentsto the Chicago’s Purchase Rehab Ordinance. Currently, the programcan now access availability of TIF (tax-increment financing) forredevelopment of apartment buildings for the lower-wage households,thus improving the rental housing stock in the city of Chicago.According to Hopper (2003), after 4 months of advocacy towards theend of 2014, the city managed to adopt a 4-year housing plan thatdedicated 7 million dollars annually towards rental housingredevelopment.
Weaknessescame from the misunderstanding and disagreements from the partnershipof CCH and Sweet Home Chicago while advocating for housing on behalfof homeless people. This came as a result of negotiating for the samepolicies, which resulted from fundamental differences in the kind ofpriorities that each one of the two sought to make towards advocatingfor homeless people (, 1985). CCHaims to achieve equality for all people in terms of housing. Theadvocacy for housing is aimed at reaching all the homeless peopleespecially the teens in Chicago by pushing for programs and emendsthat result in building affordable housing. However, what has beenoverlooked is the fact that these homeless teens are not able toafford this kind of housing since they are not for free. Again, theteens are not mobilized to move out of the streets.
Whatstill needs to be done is the coalition to have a well set and goodongoing funding stream dedicated to the homeless people. Since thecity has never done it, there was need to address the situation, andwhen done, it could help change the way people are thinking aboutpoverty and homelessness before the funding stream is embraced. Thiscould be more effective since poverty and homelessness conditionswill be the thing of the past.
Finally,as an advocate for this subject, my sphere of influence will revolvearound the use of human rights organizations in rallying for thepeople to ensure voices of plea are heard. Secondly, my aim will beto reach out to the young people, especially the teens. I will beginby sensitizing well-wishers to set up youth awareness campaign inorder to voice concerns on the increasing number of homeless peoplein Chicago. The kind of buy-in I intend to use is such coalitions asCCH to facilitate easy voicing of concerns. From my own thinking, thenext step from the current advocacy is to emphasis on the consistentand clear communication between the government and the coalition toensure day-to-day operations are realized.
ChicagoCoalition for the Homeless. (1985). Positionpaper: Youth homelessness in Chicago.Chicago: The Coalition.
Hopper,K. (2003). Reckoningwith homelessness.Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Levinson,D. (2004). Encyclopediaof homelessness.Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.