Showing posts from July, 2011

Helping the Homeless in Uptown Chicago: Cornerstone Community Outreach!

Here are 3 different videos showing the good work CCO does in Uptown Chicago -
Check out Manifest Media: they made and produced these videos and their website has a few more....
Also check out CCO's website
working with homeless peopleadvocating for homeless peoplesupporting homeless peopleloving and showing compassion for homeless peopleThis first video is an overview of the work CCO does...
"Cornerstone Community Outreach has served Chicago's homeless population for over 20 years. This short documentary reflects the work of CCO through the experiences of shelter staff and residents."

cco - cornerstone community outreach from manifestmedia on Vimeo.

This video shows our playground, and the need for help to make it more usable and suitable for the children

Kaboom CCO Playground from manifestmedia on Vimeo.

Patrick “Paddy” Mc Cormack is running 240 miles in 8 days. Why? There are over 80,000 homeless in Chicago. Half of those are families, and over 28,0…

From Homelessness to Home: One Man’s Complicated Journey to Get Himself an Apartment!

I’ll call him Craig; it’s not his real name, but the story is real….
I write this to demystify the myths that getting an apartment is as simple as focusing on the dream and showing a little bit of determination. It’s not as simple as choosing and buying a slice of cake; Craig had the dream and was very determined.
Craig ended up homeless because he needed knee surgery. The injury had caused him to lose his job, he didn’t have any health insurance and he couldn’t afford his rent. Eventually, he came to us balancing himself on his two crutches. He stayed at Epworth Shelter for a very short stint, before we moved him into our program for men over 50. Craig was only 48 at the time, but his immobility and continual pain-factor was a serious issue.
Craig was faithfully attending his AA meetings, doing his mandated exercises, seeing doctors, meeting with Public Aid, he had also applied for SSDI and had lawyers that were helping him. He wanted to work again, but his body wasn’t having the same t…

Troy. Rest In Peace....

deATh; you did it again.....

A couple of days ago, I discovered that my friend Troy passed away on the 4th of July.....

Troy had been a regular fixture in Uptown for many years. When we spoke of him, we never needed to say his last name, because Troy was Troy! Unmistakably unique, the only one! Everyone in Uptown's long-term chronically homeless community knew him; his strengths and his weaknesses. They deeply loved their elderly buddy; this rugged survivor and veteran of Chicago's harsh streets and bitterly cold winters!

My earliest memories of Troy was when he used to hang out with his very close friend Ronald. These 2 were inseparable! About 9 years ago, they stayed in our overnight men's shelter located on the cafeteria floor. During the day, they would try to make a few bucks by collecting thousands of empty beer cans just outside Wrigley Field. These 2 older men, of about the same height and age, would wander in together to get their thin raggedy blue mats and gray i…

Festival Week's Eclectic Chaotic Peaceful Mayhem

While most of the members of Jesus People USA disappeared into rural Bushnell, to tirelessly work in the hot humid sun; while they're running Cornerstone Festival, with hundreds of bands and thousands of young people full of eclectic styles and energy, a few of us need to stay in the concrete jungle, keeping all of JPUSA’s Chicago operations running!

My responsibility is to keep our homeless shelter above water. We now have more people living at CCO than JPUSA; well over 400! I've done this for a number of years, and every year has many different variables, challenges and expectations! The number of staff, programs and clients has increased every year, so 2011 naturally saw the greatest number of all three!

To try and describe all the complete eclectic chaotic mayhem that happens in these 11 or 12 days is virtually impossible; it would literally take thousands of words. Honestly, such a mammoth task would bore the living snot out of me, let alone the few people who read my blo…