Community activist, radio station donate winter gear to people experiencing homelessness in Chicago

Mark Rivera Image
Saturday, December 30, 2023
Chicago activist, radio station donate winter gear to the homeless
Chicago community activist Andrew Holmes teamed up with FM Omni-Channel radio station to donate winter gear to people experiencing homelessness.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On a wet and windy December Friday, just days before the new year, people who are often overlooked got supplies they need to weather the winter.

There was a combined effort from a local activist and a wide-reaching radio station to help people experiencing homelessness in Chicago.

"They need help," Andrew Holmes said. "They need coats. They need food. Their children need somewhere to be safe."

Let's take care of home
Andrew Holmes, community activist

Holmes teamed up with FM Omni-Channel radio stations to give out coats, hats and other cold-weather supplies, along with a hot meal, to warm hearts and bodies.

"We've had mild temperatures for several months. The bottom is getting ready to fall out," FM-Omni Channel Radio Personality Ramonski Luv said. "It's getting ready to get real real cold. There are people who are a paycheck away from being out here."

The call from Holmes to elected officials to remember and remedy the chronically unhoused in the city comes as hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to house and help newly-arrived asylum seekers.

"Let's take care of home," Holmes said. "You're doing it already when the busses come in here. It's time for action and the action is here now."

According to the point-in-time count of the unhoused in Chicago nearly a year ago, there were almost 4,000 non-asylum seekers experiencing homelessness. Of that number, nearly 1,000 of them were living on the streets, but that is likely a large undercount.

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There has been a large influx of new migrant arrivals also in need of secure housing. There are almost 31,000 migrants living in the city as of Thursday morning.

The gratitude was palpable at the giveaway, with a line that stretched down the block. No one was turned away, including migrants from Ecuador who've been in the city for just 15 days.

Sandra Diaz said she crossed jungles in Ecuador with her two kids.

"It was very difficult," Diaz said in Spanish. "It's very dangerous in Ecuador.

She said it was a harrowing and emotional journey to get to the safety of Chicago, with no job and no money.

"Thank you for welcoming us," Diaz said.

The giveaway effort is clearly needed as the city grapples with the growing migrant crisis, establishing the first-ever Chief Homelessness Officer.

"We do have a lot of people that's homeless and don't have no where to go," said Timothy, who received supplies. "But I think they should do more better give them some kind of way to stay so they won't be living in the streets during the winter time."