Monthly Archives: January 2018

29 Jan 2018

Tiny Houses or Big Lofts?

By |2018-01-29T09:27:16-06:00January 29th, 2018|General|0 Comments

What can we afford?

Just a couple of days ago I attended the a brand new organization’s fundraiser. It’s called Chicago Tiny House Inc.—a new non-profit, whose mission “is to create tiny house communities throughout Chicago that will provide homeless Chicagoans with safe and cost-effective housing and integrated support services.” It was a beautiful, fun-filled, information packed event that brought about 100 folks together around this “homeless” problem that we, in the inner cities across America, face each and every day. We learned that these folks will be learning from the models for “tiny houses” for the homeless in cities such as New York City, Detroit, and Denver. And we learned from guest speaker, Alan Mills, a long-time homeless advocate from Uptown, that there are about 100,000 folks in Chicago that have no place call their own. Who are these folks? They are the persons that are sleeping in the shelters, in the tents, under the bridges, or they are sleeping on various couches or floors of friends and family (for as long they as can…most are constantly on the move).

Uptown, like so many neighborhoods across the country, have lost so much “affordable” and even extremely low-income rooms that could at least put a roof over someone’s head. So many low-income buildings have been sold to private developers who have turned so many structures into high-priced condos, or lofts, or high-rent apartments. Mills pointed out that we must not “lay-down” and let this happen. He said we must continue to advocate for the homeless and that getting behind this “Tiny House” movement is definitely a welcome addition to fight and the right to be “housed.”

Not surprisingly, I would agree wholeheartedly.

The next day I was walking to the store when I passed the old Stewart School building—a former elementary school building in Uptown. It had been closed down for a few years with “some” debate over what should the building should be use for. During last summer, the school’s “front yard” was filled with tents of “real people”… until they were evicted from the property. And now, we see the reason. The former Stewart school is being transformed into “Stewart School” lofts. And they might even available later this year.

I guess it’s not too hard to see where our priorities are.

Where are all these folks who’ve called “Uptown” home for so long going to go? Somehow, I don’t think they’ll be checking out the lofts at Stewart school.

Pray for more “housing” —any kind of housing. Pray for this Tiny House Movement. Pray for the souls left out on the street. Pray for our hearts to be moved —and continue to be moved—to do all that we can to help these folks. Why? Because like the billboard says, “Being homeless, it’s worse than you think.”

Thanks, Chris.

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22 Jan 2018

Northwestern Students Come to Volunteer

By |2018-01-22T21:24:53-06:00January 22nd, 2018|General|0 Comments

“I’m sure that’s you on the cover!”

A small group of Northwestern students came to volunteer at CCO this past Saturday, Jan. 20. They were a lively and friendly group, and they really had a good time. Derrick, one of our new cooks, was having a good time directing and conversing with them when the topic of my book came up.

“Now, here’s Chris, he wrote a book, you know,” said Derrick. “And he said it was really hard for him to be homeless for a couple of days. But can you imagine what it’s like to be homeless for a year or more?”

“Yeah, that is true, ” I chimed in. “I really couldn’t handle much.” Then I retreated to my office to get a few of my flyers that have the cover of the book on the front and info of what it’s about on the back.

Then I went back into the kitchen and passed my flyers out to the students. “Now this a lot more like what I’d expect from folks who call themselves Christians,” said one student. “You know, not like all those Christians that we hear about in today’s news.”

“Oh well, thanks, ” I replied. “I hope so.”

Then the students comments turned to the picture on the cover. “And that’s you, right?” one student casually remarked.

“No, that’s not me, ” I calmly replied. “That’s a stock photo.”

“No, really, that’s you,” the student continued. “You’re playing a trick on us.”

Now this is not the first that I’ve heard that particular comment before. In fact, there’s been more than a few folks who have made the same comment. So I wasn’t overly surprised.

And of course, I do have to admit there’s a striking “possible” resemblance between my picture —if I had long hair and a beard–and this gentleman in this “stock photo.” And to be sure this man truly does exemplify the typical homeless, white man. It’s possible that this photo could be mistaken for me —with long hair and a beard.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, why should I care if someone really thought that was me on the cover? I mean, this man really does symbolize “the least,” the very folks that I’ve written about these years. And I don’t mind being associated with them at all. In fact, I find it an honor… in a strange sort of way. For this man, whoever he is, I’m sure has a lot to teach me…if I’d only be open to listen.

Thanks, Chris.

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22 Jan 2018

Senad doing much better!

By |2018-01-22T10:57:32-06:00January 22nd, 2018|General|0 Comments

Your prayers are working!

I went to visit my new friend —Senad Filan–yesterday, Jan. 18. I went to visit him at Weiss hospital, but when I went to his room, he was gone. I inquired at the nursing station and discovered that he had been discharged. I inquired as to where he might be, but the nurse said she wasn’t supposed to give out that info , unless I was related. I told her that I worked for Cornerstone, our shelter here in Uptown, and that I just wanted to see him to see how he was doing now.

The nurse smiled, and softened her “official” stance. “Well, I guess I can give you his info—where he is, ” she said. “You know , I’m from Bosnia, also. And you seem like a nice guy.”

I was told that Senad had been sent Clark Manor–a nursing home and rehab center. So I went up to visit him, and I discovered that he was doing much better. He said he was two weeks sober and feeling much better. He told me that his goals now were to complete his ‘”medical detox” and rehab. Then he hoped to work with Heartland and our own Jeremy Nicholls in hopes of obtaining some housing.

But there was one more discouraging “thing” that happened to Senad when he was staying at Weiss hospital. All of his “ID,s” link card, etc. had been stolen. And now it will take a long while to replace his important documents. He might have to request his “kin” in Bosnia to send over his birth certificate.

Anyways, our friend (he’s your friend, now) is doing much better. I told him that people were praying for him, and that meant a lot to him.

He said he would welcome any visitors–should you feel so inclined. He’s at Clark Manor , 7433 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626.

Thanks, Chris.

Be sure to Join the Jesus In The Least Facebook Group!

Order ‘Discovering Jesus in the Least’ at WestBow

Order ‘Discovering Jesus in the Least’ at Amazon