Some 60,000 Chicagoans lack secure housing. Among the homeless, more than 20,000 are our students. When Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) endure insecure housing, this trauma impacts their emotional health, their behavior, their ability to concentrate in class and the confidence they need to succeed. These insecurities produce ripple effects for their fellow students, their families and their communities. While the CTU has proudly bargained to win supports for these students, broader efforts are broader efforts are necessary to meet their needs. That’s why we joined the coalition behind the Bring Chicago Home campaign.

Count On Me

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, City Council members voted Yes to the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, so a referendum will appear on the March ballot asking Chicagoans if we want a dedicated revenue stream to serve Chicago’s houseless population. For CPS educators, the answer should be obvious.

The Bring Chicago Home plan will restructure the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), a one-time tax paid when a property is sold. A property sold for less than $1 million would see a decrease. Only million dollar-plus property sales would see an increase. Nearly 95% of properties would see a decrease in the transfer tax. The new revenue from that restructuring will provide flexibility to expand our housing inventory, fill gaps in services, and help Chicago work towards eradicating homelessness and housing insecurity. For more information about Bring Chicago Home visit bringchicagohome.org.

For years, our union has brought attention to the number of students in our schools who are houseless. In our 2019 contract we won full-time STLS advocate positions for schools with 75 homeless students and some schools received 2 positions because they had over 150 STLS. That year CPS hired 18 STLS Advocates. Fast forward to 2023 and CPS has hired 42 STLS Advocates. This growing number of housing insecure students impacts learning and teaching at all levels. Of course, we know an STLS Advocate position is not enough. So, we will continue to “bargain for the common good” in our upcoming contract campaign and beyond.

Now, after more than five years as part of the Bring Chicago Home coalition, it’s time for CTU to do what it does best: Organize!  We must talk to our neighbors, colleagues, and friends about how voting YES will help house the 20,000 homeless CPS students, and the 60,000 homeless people in Chicago and make sure they understand that the plan will lower the RETT tax for working Chicagoans.

This campaign is a must win for Chicago, and for our union. We have the opportunity to change the lives of our most vulnerable in Chicago, especially our homeless students. We must win BCH in March, so we can win housing, housing supports and services in our 2024 contract for our students.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Be counted! Let us know that we can count on your Yes vote for the BCH referendum question in March.
  2. Sign up to canvass with our coalition partners (Join the BCH campaign).
  3. Consider donating, or increasing your donation to our Political Action Committee www.ctulocal1.org/PAC.