The Homestretch documentary opened Fri September 12th, at the Gene Siskel film center, and plays through September 18th. NRS is honored to serve…

downloadThe Homestretch documentary opened Fri September 12th, at the Gene Siskel film center, and plays through September 18th. NRS is honored to serve alongside longstanding partner and collaborator Chicago Coalition for the Homeless on The Homestretch advisory task force. Throughout the week, we will cover the screenings and the steadfast organizations working behind the scenes to keep Chicago’s at-risk youth safe and off the streets.

Since 1980, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) has followed a clear mission: “We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.” They are the only non-profit in Illinois dedicated to advocating for public policies that curb and can ultimately end homelessness. Their organization leads strategic campaigns, community outreach, and public policy initiatives that target the lack of affordable housing in metropolitan Chicago and across Illinois.

In addition, CCH presses for access to jobs, training, and public schools. Their community organizers, policy specialists, and public interest attorneys advocate with people hurt by homelessness, including mothers with children, unaccompanied youth, ex-offenders, prostitution survivors, and low-wage workers.

Tonight, CCH hosts a special screening for supporters were invited to view the 89-minute film at 6 p.m., followed by a brief panel discussion featuring Director/Producers Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly, CCH youth leader Tia Carter, Homeless Liaison Patricia Scott (Prosser Career Academy), and one of the youths featured in the film.

The film follows three homeless Chicago teenagers as they struggle to maintain consistent housing, stay in school, and plan for the future. Through these stories, the filmmakers challenge the commonly held stereotypes of homelessness.

Illinois public schools identified 59,112 students as homeless during the 2013-2014 school year, including 22,144 in Chicago Public Schools. The statewide number has increased by 7.7% since the previous school year, and more than doubled (121% increase) since the 2008-09 school year, when $3 million in homeless education funding was last included in the state budget.

You can honor the struggles of homeless youth in Illinois by asking your state legislators to restore funding to homeless education here.

You can also ask Mayor Rahm Emanuel to dedicate $1 million to support homeless students in the Chicago city budget here. The CPS office of Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) needs funding for resources such as transportation assistance, outreach, tutoring and social services.