Since 2020, Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH) has brought together 30+ local funders to combat homelessness in Chicago. A key achievement was the 2022 launch of the Housing Justice Fund, which has already awarded over $2 million in multi-year grants to support initiatives addressing homelessness, including advocacy, narrative change, and community organizing efforts.
What sets the Housing Justice Fund apart is its unwavering commitment to prioritizing Black-led and lived expertise-led initiatives. By empowering those who are directly affected by homelessness and housing instability, CFTEH recognizes the power in giving voice and agency to the communities most affected.
In its initial grant cycle, CFTEH awarded $1.2 million to 11 Chicago organizations. This past August, they continued their efforts by distributing an additional $800,000 to eight partners, offering two-year funding to boost their advocacy, organizing, and narrative change initiatives. In addition, CFTEH provided $10,000 each to organizations that submitted applications but were not selected, illustrating their dedication to supporting the community.
The Chicago 400 Alliance is one of eight community partners awarded funding in the most recent round of the Housing Justice Fund:
“Led by the Chicago 400, our work challenges housing banishment laws and public conviction registries. These laws push housed people, very disproportionately Black men, into homelessness. They make reentry from prison into a lifelong crisis.” — Laurie Jo Reynolds, Coordinator, Chicago 400 Alliance and Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago.
The full list of organizations that have received a grant from the Housing Justice Fund are: Bring Chicago Home Coalition, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Housing Action Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Not Me We, Palenque LSNA, Red Line Service, South Shore Works, Tenant Education Network, Chicago 400 Alliance, Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative, Chicago Housing Justice League, HIV Housing Advisory Council, Lift the Ban, Latino Policy Forum, Safer Foundation, and Southwest Organizing Project/United Power for Action and Justice.
Several members of CFTEH pooled resources to launch the Housing Justice Fund including: Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, The Chicago Community Trust, Crown Family Philanthropies, Cuore e Mani Foundation, Michael Reese Health Trust, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, The Owens Foundation, Pierce Family Foundation, RRF Foundation for Aging, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
“The Housing Justice Fund is dedicated to investing in the voices and stories of communities, empowering advocates to improve housing policy, and supporting efforts to ensure every individual has access to a safe, stable, dignified, and affordable home.” – Kathy Niedorowski, Program Manager, Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness.