One of the biggest factors facing our youth today is homelessness. As we all know, it’s hard to get a job—let alone any other service or benefit—if you don’t have a mailing address. Even when kids crash on their loved ones’ couches, having mail sent to that address can set the home or apartment owner up for legal liability and establish them as a de facto tenant or roommate. On the other hand, our youth need stable homes and jobs to succeed. What can we do?

The African American Christian Foundation is one of many organizations in Illinois that wants to help our kids and teens survive and thrive. Recently, we partnered with the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County to help further our mutual goals.

How much of a problem is youth homelessness?

Homelessness is often a silent problem—unless you see people literally living on the streets, you’re probably not confronted with that sad reality every day, unlike the children and young adults who suffer from it. However, it’s a silent and serious problem.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on any given night in 2019, over 35,000 kids, teens and young adults were considered homeless. About half of them are unsheltered, meaning that they don’t have so much as a car or tent to shield them from the elements and potential aggressors.

It’s a terrible problem, but with your help, we can end youth homelessness in Cook County—preferably in the next few years.

The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program

Recently, the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County was awarded over $6 million to use in its efforts to fight youth homelessness, including youth job placement in Illinois. The program is designed to help unaccompanied kids and adults under 25 years of age.

The goal is to help children and young adults in Cook County find stable, affordable housing so that they can blossom and grow—and we’d like to do so by the end of 2024, if possible. If that seems like a tall order, remember that you can help by donating to the African American Christian Foundation and the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County—the more you give, the easier it is to fund the programs that root out youth homelessness.

The goal of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program is not only to give kids a safe place to stay while they are homeless, but to connect them with food, clothing, youth job placement in Illinois and educational opportunities. The African American Christian Foundation and the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County are working together, along with numerous other organizations and with help from the $6 million grant, to achieve just that.

If you’d like to find out more specifics about the program, please download the resources on this page. We would also be grateful for any donations and advocacy you or your business may provide.

It’s important that our kids grow up in safe and stable homes. Reach out to us today to learn how you can help.


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