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About | FIRSTHAND: Homeless


Homelessness is a widespread and complex issue in Chicago and other American cities, with no quick answers or simple solutions. While the public, media, and even policymakers often look away from the problem, WTTW spends a year focused on the challenging experiences and unique perspectives of unhoused people across the Chicago’s neighborhoods in Firsthand: Homeless.

Support for Firsthand: Homeless is provided by:

Ann and Rich Carr 
The Knight Family Foundation
Edwardson Family Foundation
Joel M. Friedman, President, Alvin H. Baum Family Fund Denny and Sandy Cummings
Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation
Alexandra C. Nichols
Peter and Alicia Pond

Community Engagement Partners

All Chicago
Mission: to unite the community and resources to provide solutions that ensure and sustain the stability of home.

Chicago Public Library
Mission: to welcome and support all people in their enjoyment of reading and pursuit of lifelong learning; and to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other resources.

The Night Ministry
Mission: to provide human connection, housing support, and health care to those who are unhoused or experiencing poverty.

Project Credits

Digital and Marketing

Website Design 
Justin Henderson

Website Development & Production 
Glenn Blicharz 
Kevin Crowley 
Justin Henderson 
Jenny Macchione 
Mike Scipioni

Still Photography 
Lloyd DeGrane 
Ken Carl

Social Media & Promotion 
Meredith Francis 
Daniel Hautzinger 
Megan Lemersal
Julia Maish

EVP, Marketing & Digital 
Anne Gleason

Community Engagement

Vice President of Community Engagement 
Tim Russell

Senior Manager, Community Engagement 
Emily Dehm

Community Engagement Specialist 
Maya Horton


Mario Tharpe

Teresa Crawford
Ines Sommer
Mario Tharpe
Edgar Vargas
Teresa White

Directors of Photography 
Margaret ByrneJoshua Jackson
Sam Rong
Ines Sommer

Additional Camera 
Joe Martinez
Jason Rhee
Joshua Jackson

Field Audio
Tyler Felson

Wayne Kumingo
Alanna Schmelter
Katerina Simic

Original Score 
Allie n Steve Mullen

Re-Recording Mixer 
Dufftone Sound

Postproduction Supervisor 
Wayne Kumingo

Matt Taylor

Art Director 
Linda Fox

Executive Producers
Dan Protess
Anne Gleason


Judith McCray

Marc Shaykin

Technical Director 
Scott Zeugner

Al Williams

Michael Sweeney

Tape Operator 
Mark Anderson

Tim Jackson 
Felix Mendez 
Damon Ranger

Electronic Graphics 
Mike Bania

Floor Director 
Bruce Rehberger

Lighting Director 
Tom Godar

Garrett Fletcher

Art Director 
Linda Fox

Production EIC 
Dave Moyer

Text and Visual Journalism

Jeb Backe
Heather Cherone, WTTW News
Matt Masterton, WTTW News
Jared Rutecki, WTTW News

Discussion Guide

Fran Sterling