Sunday, January 19, 2014

Setting Prisoners Free

I’d like to give a shout out to a fellow blogger and a GREAT humanitarian Jeremy Nicholls
Jeremy Nicholls of Cornerstone Community Outreach in Uptown received the Chicago Alliance’s Fund Manager of the Year Award (Chicago Alliance Photo).
Jeremy blogs at Setting Prisoners Free where he usually writes about the work he and others are doing at Cornerstone Community Outreach—the shelter where I wolunteer—and the difficulties and prejudices the residents face in getting housing.

This goes along with some recent reading. I’m about a chapter into The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and as a lawyer/writer/attorney/author she has a compelling argument of systematic injustice against African-Americans. Stacking the tables against men especially. I’ve seen it for myself. Young men who should be sophomores or just finishing up college—already have racked up a felony. And, you hate to say it—it’s too late.

Man, what a waste.

They can’t get housing. They can’t get jobs. And, in some states they have lost their right to vote. Anyway resources most people have to pull themselves out of a mess have been blocked for these guys—and they aren’t even in jail anymore! But their lives are already locked up.
Anyway, here is a link and a snippet of Jeremy’s blog to get you going—become a follower!

I often get asked, "what's your secret? how is Cornerstone housing so many people?" And to add that; many of Chicago's chronically homeless population approach me, saying, "You helped Big Joe, you helped Heather, you helped BamBam get off these streets, help me too!"

Unfortunately, I'm working in a landscape, where the norm screams of hopelessness and despair. Getting out of the deep ditch of homelessness and successfully moving into their own cribs should be simple, but their realities are just the opposite. The task of finding affordable and safe housing should be attainable and everyone's right, yet it remains an extremely complicated and confusing process, often wrapped tightly with too much "red tape"! Within this landscape, these chronically homeless men and women desperately seek a flicker of hope, knowing doors hardly ever open for them! They also know how these same doors can quickly close! Yet despite all this negativity: the good news is, doors are opening, miracles are happening and hope is being found, right here in good ol' Uptown!
Read the rest HERE.

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