Homeless Youth and the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative: This Project Needs Your Support

Sleep Out Chicago, Nov. 20, 2015. Credit: Kat Ferguson.

Sleep Out Chicago, Nov. 20, 2015. Credit: Kat Ferguson.

Homelessness may seem remote to you today as you lounge around a comfortable home celebrating Christmas, with presents and ease. Even if you are not celebrating Christmas, this week and next, many of you are likely to spend time in someone’s home, taking for granted that you have a chance to relax comfortably. But the economy, housing, and jobs have not been kind to many. Today, I ask you to give back to homeless organizations, specifically highlighting the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative, which is raising money so that homeless youth can safely store their belongings in lockers.

Several thousand dollars has been raised for the project, but your donation will help move this program forward.

Your donations accepted thru Dec. 31:  fighting youth homelessness. Pick one of the agencies working on this and donate at link here. http://events.aidschicago.org/site/TR?fr_id=1260&pg=teamlist

Over the next 18 months, the Youth Storage Initiative is putting 250 lockers into drop-in centers and shelters across Chicago. Each locker will be large enough to hold three suitcases.
  Why the Youth Storage Initiative?

“For young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, access to safe and secure storage options for personal belongings – such as clothing, school books, keepsakes, and legal documents – is a daily, often hourly, stressor,” says Lara Brooks, Director of the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative. As for the magnitude of the problem, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimated that in the 2014-2015 school year, 13,054 families were homeless, with fewer than 125 families finding permanent affordable housing annually, with about 22,000 homeless students. Imagine where you can keep important documents and valuables, job-interview clothes, or textbooks if you don’t have your own home or safe place to leave them.

 The Youth Storage Initiative grew out of an LGBT Homeless Summit, organized by Windy City Times and its publisher and Executive Editor Tracy Baim. Although LGBT youth have special problems, the Youth Storage Initiative is available to all youth, regardless of gender identity.

Storage Initiative Backers

Fundraising for the project was buoyed by Sleep Out Chicago, held Nov. 20 this year, in Chicago. The program would not be possible without the generous support of Marianne Philbin of the Pierce Family Foundation, Debbie Reznick of the Polk Brothers Foundation, Tracy Baim, Publisher, Windy City Times, Lara Brown, the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative, and a much-needed grassroots campaign in Chicago.

Vaness Davis, Credit: Hal Baim photography.

Vaness Davis, Credit: Hal Baim photography.

Wishing all a happy and healthy 2016 – and a permanent, affordable housing for all in 2016!