Nearly 77,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Chicago. As our city--and the world--continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, this especially vulnerable population continues to feel the effects of reduced services, with many agencies either closed or operating with fewer hours.

Since March, the Chicago Lights Social Service Center has remained committed to providing curbside food, clothing, hygiene items, and virtual case management to our guests experiencing poverty.

Your generosity will help keep these services going through the end of the year.

Please keep reading to hear directly from our Social Service Center team about what it has been like supporting our guests during a pandemic.
Jackie Lorens Harris curbside
"The Social Service Center has always regarded adaptability as one of its core values, so it’s no surprise that after a few dozen contingency plans early on in the pandemic, we have found our stride to still meet guests’ immediate and long-term needs, even if the delivery looks a bit different. Our guests still need food to eat, clean clothes to change into, and hygiene products to maintain comfort and health.

But above all, I’ve noticed our guests are looking for community and connection.

We’ve had so many folks come to the Gratz Center doors and share they’re glad to see us and ask how our staff is doing, and they’re bringing new guests along with them who are also in need of support. So, while some of the guests who’ve received services over the past several years are still actively engaging, they are looking out for their fellow community members who are new to the area and/or situations of hardship.

The pandemic has caused complex challenges that none of us expected, and I can tell that the Social Service Center--and all Chicago Lights programming--is needed now more than ever to provide some relief, some connection, and some hope."

- Jackie Lorens Harris, Director of the Social Service Center (pictured on site assisting with curbside services)
RaShonn Roberts Stable Housing Case Manager
"The Social Service team has adopted the curbside service model, which recognizes the importance of safety for our guests and staff. Our guests have been quite respectful of the new model and grateful that we are there for them during these challenging times.

I think there has been a greater need for food. The snack bags go pretty quickly as they provide sustenance and nutrition for our guests experiencing homelessness.

Individuals have thanked the Social Service Center for being there throughout the pandemic."

- RaShonn Roberts, Stable Housing Case Manager
Jill Keiser working from home
"Many agencies have closed, along with guests' ability to get clean clothing, toiletries, snacks, and water that are essential to people experiencing homelessness on the streets of Chicago. We distribute to all in need, including those who walk up to our door, as we pre-package bags of food in order to quickly help everyone.

I've been doing case management by phone, and a guest recently told me that we saved his life. He was living under a bridge when he came to us seven years ago for food, water, and clothing. Today he has his own apartment in Hyde Park. He reached out to Chicago Lights, and we were able to help him make changes in his life. He saved his own life."

- Jill Keiser, Community Partner Manager (pictured working from home)
Be a part of providing relief, connection, and hope for adults experiencing the challenges of homelessness and poverty during this especially difficult time.

Thank you for supporting your community and being a part of the Chicago Lights family.
Stacy Jackson headshot
Stacy Jackson
Stacy Jackson
Executive Director
Black lives matter to Chicago Lights. We are working to ensure that Chicago Lights is not only not racist, but that we are decidedly anti-racist.

Chicago Lights builds brighter futures for Chicago's youth and adults through supportive relationships and life-changing programs.