Advocacy Spotlight: Ernie Calderon
Community Case Manager at Connections for the Homeless, Ernie Calderon, is one of the 23 people who went to Springfield with the advocacy team to lobby for Senate Bill 1476 and more funding for housing services in Illinois. He works at the drop-in centers at Dewey and Hilda’s Place, serving as the first point of contact with Connections’ clients to help them with finding medical insurance, getting driver’s licenses, attending court and doctor’s appointments, etc.
Joining Forces' 2023 Advocacy Day
On Tuesday, April 18, Joining Forces took a team of 22 people to Springfield to advocate for two days. It was a remarkable and impactful trip. Here’s a gallery of photos from the trip and an overview!
Advocacy Spotlight: Melissa Appelt
Melissa Appelt is originally from Ames, Iowa, but has lived in east Glenview since 1994. Melissa worked for more than 30 years as a grant writer for the Chicago Botanic Garden and Mid-America Arts Alliance, a regional arts organization in Kansas City. She became involved with Interfaith Action of Evanston through its Advocacy Committee and is now the president of the board of directors. With a mission to serve homeless and hungry people, promote interfaith dialogue, and advocate for the people it serves, Interfaith Action is a member of Joining Forces and works closely with Connections for the Homeless.
By Max Seeley
Walking into the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield for the first time, it is easy to feel a sense of awe. Knowing that these are the same halls that a young Barack Obama walked at the start of his political career and the same chambers where Abraham Lincoln served leads to a sense of inspiration and hope. This building that’s dedicated to democracy and progress for the Prairie State is filled with citizens from all walks of life, advocating for policies that they believe will make our state a better place to call home. This is what brought me to Springfield on February 22.
(Sign up below if you want to participate in Joining Forces' next Lobby Day)
This advocacy spotlight is focused on Kimberly Holmes-Ross, the Community Engagement Director/ Interim Executive Director at Evanston Cradle to Career. She is a third-generation Evanstonian who was born and raised in the 5th ward. Then, after traveling around the country, she came back and settled in the 2nd ward to raise her family. Like many people who live in Evanston, she has a strong connection to the community and recognizes all that the city has to offer its citizens.
Joining Forces’ 2023 Goals
Here are the goals that Joining Forces for Affordable Housing will be focusing on in 2023:
Advocacy Spotlight: Rodney Dawkins
We'd like to introduce you to Rodney Dawkins. As the youngest of five, Rodney was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, in Bronzeville. He lived in the Uptown area for several years, then moved up to Skokie in 2021 and has lived there ever since.
by Nathaniel Hagemaster
For a variety of reasons, I am not a car owner. This has put a variety of obstacles in my way, particularly when I lived in rural Texas and in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When I moved to Chicago and got a job at Connections for the Homeless and started learning about zoning, I came to realize how many of these obstacles weren’t created by my car-lessness but, instead, by a societal expectation that everyone drives and by the zoning that reinforces that expectation.
Advocacy Spotlight: Keith Banks
For this month, we're featuring the executive director of the Reba Place Development Corporation (RPDC) and Joining Forces member, Keith Banks. Keith is originally from the south side of Chicago, moving around with his single divorced mom and his brother from rental apartments to townhouse co-ops and more. He relocated to Evanston with his wife 28 years ago and continues to reside in this town.
Why Equitable Zoning?