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Showing posts from November, 2011

Honouring Homeless Veterans!

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Due to family obligations, Cyrus and I wandered in late. There was controlled chaos everywhere. Community everywhere. People everywhere. 
The cafeteria was buzzing. It was packed. It was decorated. It was over-whelming. It was cold outside, but steaming inside.There must have been over 400 people crammed in, lined up and eager to get a plate of delicious food. There were boy scouts happily serving the dinner guests plates of chicken, ribs, potato salad, greens, buns and, quite frankly, the best bread pudding I'd ever tasted. Two bands provided some great live music and a couple of cute little sisters were given the microphone to proudly sing their ABCs. 
What made this night extra special was the attendance of two of the Tuskegee Airmen. These very respected African American heroes weathered cold temperatures to share a meal with hundreds of homeless people. They are both over 90 and told stories of their amazing flights. Even though they both had rank, an indisputable record and are m…

Bootstraps!

The main problem with telling homeless people "all you need to do is pull yourselves up by your bootstraps" is a lot of these men and women's bootstraps are missing, frayed or broken. Let's face reality; a lot of people don't even have boots! And that's where we need to be....

A Holistic Approach

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We're unique. Well, at least for Chicago, that is! Cornerstone Community Outreach does something most homeless shelters in Chicago do not do! We help our residents and many of the local homeless population get their birth certificates and State IDs. Many may not see this as a big deal, but for someone struggling with homelessness, this simple cheap task is enormous and essential.
This piece isn't to bash other agencies. I'm pretty sure some of the smaller shelters, with deeper pockets, have the ability to assist their people in this task. The massive size of our place and our willingness to accept nearly everyone, makes this accomplishment very unique.
Why do I emphasize this? Throughout recent years, certain people have wrongly accused us of just "warehousing" people. I personally feel that accusation is undignified, untrue, full of malicious gossip and stinks of propaganda. I feel we have a holistic approach. I believe we do what we do very well…

The Police, Prison and My Lil' Cy

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I was telling Beth about our friend Shawn. For a couple days, I had been trying to find out where he had been hospitalized and I had just discovered where he was; I tell her how bad Shawn's condition is; he needed a blood transfusion; he's floating in and out of consciousness and is currently hooked up to machines in the ICU. I tell her of my plans to visit him "tomorrow", and how, in visiting, we'll probably have to wear special protective garments and masks.
After grieving about how rapid his decline has been, Beth asks, "is someone going with you?"
"Abdul says he really wants to come, I'll take him along"
"I thought you said he was in jail?"
"yeah I did, but they released him after just a couple hours, the police picked him up for selling cigarettes. That's the risk he takes!"
A little inquisitive mind had listened to our conversation. Cyrus, with his 8 year old ideology, looks up from his educational compu…