Pathways to Stable Housing Photo Exhibit
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In a partnership with the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness and other service and advocacy organizations, the Loyola University Chicago Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) and photographer Noah Addis have organized this exhibition to present positive images of individuals moving from homelessness to housing. The exhibition was displayed at LUMA (Loyola University Museum of Art) for six months during 2011 and 2012. The photos are currently on display at CURL's office in Cuneo Hall on the Lake Shore Campus. The photos confront the dominant stereotypes that homeless individuals are helpless street beggars or that organizations serving them are just providing handouts without addressing long-term solutions.
In summer 2010, Loyola sociologist Philip Nyden worked with partner organizations to identify individuals who have made the move, or who are in the process of making the move, from homelessness to stable housing. Addis photographed portraits and Nyden completed interviews with 25 men and women and their families. Through photographs and words, they strive to give voice to those who understand homelessness firsthand and are forging paths toward stable housing.
In some cases, the visual and written documentation presents pictures of individual strengths in overcoming multiple challenges, such as childhood homelessness, the loss of family income due to physical and mental health issues, the lack of easy access to quality education, and the shortage of affordable housing. In other cases, the stories underscore the effective work of organizations in providing counseling and housing services to individuals who are attempting to move out from under an avalanche of problems related to financial instability, health, substance abuse, and job loss.
As suggested in the interviews, success today means overcoming personal and broader society-wide obstacles. The challenges range from a poor economy to limited opportunities for single parents, recovering substance abusers, or former prisoners trying to re-enter their community. In some cases, spirituality, recaptured self-esteem, and positive thinking help to motivate individuals. The women and men in these photographs, along with their children, work as hard as any other group of Americans to realize their hopes and dreams.
Confronting homelessness is not merely done merely on an individual basis. Many of the people Nyden and Addis talked with emphasize the importance of organized efforts to re-house homeless individuals. This takes the form of social service agencies and affordable housing developers providing services or building affordable housing. It also takes the form of direct advocacy, whereby groups of people participate in demonstrations or lobby elected officials.
The project grew out of Addis’s ongoing photography project on how individuals and families around the world work hard to create stable housing and supportive communities even under the most challenging circumstances. It also grows out of CURL’s ongoing research, which both documents successful efforts to reduce homelessness and uncovers continuing needs for more effective and affordable housing policies.
As with other CURL projects, this exhibition is the product of a partnership with a range of community organizations and advocacy organizations, including the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Housing Opportunities for Women, St. Leonard’s Ministries, Deborah’s Place, Hilda’s Place/Connections for the Homeless, West Suburban PADS, and the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County.
As part of the participatory spirit of the exhibition organizers, the photographs will travel around the city and suburbs and be hosted by some of the project partners. The exhibition and accompanying community forums will highlight both the successes in meeting affordable housing needs as well as continuing substantial policy challenges in addressing the needs of the 2.5 million to 3.5 million men, women, and children who find themselves homeless in the United States at some point during the year. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimates that over 88,000 individuals were homeless at one point during the 12 month period ending mid-2010, including over 28,000 children.
Photographer Noah Addis
Noah Addis has been working as an artist, photojournalist, and documentary photographer for more than fifteen years. His work has appeared in major publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, People, US News & World Report, Life’s Year in Pictures, and many others.
Addis graduated magna cum laude from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a degree in photography. He also studied at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
Shortly after graduation, he was hired as a staff photographer at the Newark (New Jersey) Star-Ledger. While at the newspaper, he completed many major projects, including a story about the growth of Christianity in Africa, coverage of 9/11, and documenting the immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad.
Addis was part of a team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2005 for coverage of the resignation of New Jersey’s governor. He was awarded the New Jersey Photographer of the Year award three times and was the runner-up in the portfolio category of the National Press Photographer’s Association Best of Photojournalism contest. Addis has won several awards in the Pictures of the Year International contest.
He is now freelancing and is represented by the Corbis photo agency in New York. In 2010, he had a solo exhibition at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and was awarded a career development fellowship by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia.
Addis’s current work focuses on people living in squatter communities and informal settlements in the world’s major cities. More information is available at noahaddis.com.
Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness
The Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness works to create, support, and sustain effective strategies to end homelessness in Chicago. The Alliance brings best practices, system coordination, and evaluation to Chicago’s Plan to End Homelessness. Annually it manages more than $50 million in state and federal grants for homeless services. The Alliance removes barriers to ending homelessness through policy work, and it increases public awareness and support for ending homelessness. Among other activities, it organizes and staffs the Consumers Commission, a key advisory body of the Alliance consisting of individuals who are currently homeless, people who were formerly homeless, and people at risk of becoming homeless.
Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County
The Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County is a non-profit organization responsible for planning and coordinating homeless services and housing options for all of Cook County outside of Chicago and Evanston. The Alliance organizes its work for homeless assistance at the local, grassroots level. Three Community-Based Service Areas (CBSAs) serving the northern, western, and southern areas of suburban Cook County form a collaborative system, sharing information, referral, shelter, and service delivery within their local communities.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Since its creation in 1980, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has had a clear mission: “We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.” The Coalition leads strategic campaigns, community outreach, and public policy initiatives that target the lack of affordable housing in metropolitan Chicago and Illinois. It also presses for access to jobs, training, and public schools. Its policy specialists, public interest attorneys, and community organizers work with people hurt by homelessness—families with children, unaccompanied youth, ex-offenders, prostitution survivors, and low-wage workers.
Connections and Hilda’s Place
Based in Evanston and working on homelessness prevention in 31 communities, Connections saves hundreds of households every year from losing their housing due to eviction or foreclosure. For those who are currently homeless, the organization provides housing, jobs, and services to move individuals and families out of the shadow of homelessness into permanent housing and stable lives. Connections manages Hilda’s Place, an emergency shelter also located in Evanston.
Housing Opportunities for Women
Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW) is at the forefront of a national movement to end homelessness through a holistic approach. HOW is working to significantly expand affordable, supportive housing to help the growing number of homeless families— now 35 percent of the homeless population in Chicago. HOW provides families with the support services needed to empower them toward lifelong self-sufficiency. The organization is explicit in stating that housing is a right, not a privilege.
West Suburban PADS
West Suburban PADS is the only agency whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in Cook County’s 20 near-west suburban communities. It offers a continuum of services in five program areas: shelter, supportive services, supportive housing, employment readiness, and homeless prevention. More than 800 men, women, and children use one or more of PADS’s services every year.
Sharing the belief that housing is a human right and that all people deserve a safe, clean place to sleep, a small group of women founded Deborah’s Place in 1985 as Chicago’s first year-round overnight emergency shelter for women. Today, as Chicago’s largest provider of supportive housing for women, Deborah’s Place offers a range of interim and permanent housing options, all linked to vital supportive services at three locations throughout the city. Since 1985, Deborah’s Place has helped over 3,500 women achieve goals of stable housing, sustainable income, and greater self-determination.
St. Leonard’s Ministries
Founded in 1954 and located on Chicago’s Near Westside, St. Leonard’s Ministries provides comprehensive residential, case management, and employment services for individuals released from prison without resources needed to rebuild their lives. Recidivism rates for former residents are impressive at only 20 percent, while the state average exceeds 50 percent.
Believing that individuals want to lead productive and whole lives, St. Leonard’s Ministries provides a setting in which men and women recently released from prison can achieve such a life. Residents are provided with an array of program services designed to assist them as they make the transition to successful, independent living. During their stay at St. Leonard’s House, Grace House and St. Andrew’s Court, residents are helped to reassess value systems, to reorder priorities, and to develop socially and legally acceptable patterns of behavior.