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Four walls with a door that locks. Sufficient heat and food. A place to be safe, to rest, and to live. Most of us take these essentials for granted but, on any given day, it is estimated that as many as 65,000 men, women, and children are currently experiencing homelessness on Chicago’s streets, in shelters, or while “couch surfing.” Many are suffering from mental health issues or addiction, and as a result, they may be estranged from family and friends. Without a fixed address, any rental or credit history, forms of identification, and other basic resources, jobs and stability can be unattainable. Read more...

“Housing is the foundation for stability and security for people,” says Nicole Bahena, Vice President of Community Partnerships at All Chicago, an organization dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness. “Without it, it’s difficult to keep up with anything else in life – taking care of yourself, finding and keeping a job, getting medical care, caring for your family.” Read more...

Portrait of Kimberly  Portrait of Nicole 


In partnership with WTTW News


A documentary series following five Chicagoans experiencing and addressing homelessness


Four expert talks by thought leaders offering insights, historical context, and possible solutions

Homelessness in the News

Lead support for FIRSTHAND: Homeless is provided by Ann and Rich Carr.

Major support is provided by The Knight Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Edwardson Family Foundation; Joel M. Friedman, President, Alvin H. Baum Family Fund; Denny and Sandy Cummings; the Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation; Alexandra C. Nichols; and Peter and Alicia Pond (as of January 29, 2024).