Help Chicago's Homeless Youth: join us in making a difference in the lives of these young people.

We asked local CPS schools and shelters, "If you were to ask for one item that people could give your youth to immediately help them, what would it be?

Their answers inspired this pledge drive. Backpacks, hygiene kits, transportation cards, and cell phone cards can mean the difference between the success and failure of students who are homeless because of physical and sexual abuse in the home, rejection for their sexuality, teen pregnancy, and poverty.

Right now, 1.6 million young people in America are homeless, living in shelters, unsupervised on the streets, in abandoned buildings, crashing with friends or with strangers and without access to the basic items that can make a huge difference. In Chicago alone, the number of kids experiencing homelessness hit a crisis level of over 22,000 within Chicago Public Schools.

The Homestretch
documents the lives of three homeless teens in Chicago as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Through the stories of each of these smart, ambitious teenagers - Roque, Kasey and Anthony - we hope to surprise, inspire and challenge you to rethink stereotypes of homelessness. Join us and pledge to make a difference.

The students in The Homestretch, represent a fraction of the homeless youth nationwide. In Chicago, organizations like The Night Ministry, Teen Living Programs, and the Homeless Liaisons in Chicago Public Schools work with thousands of homeless youth daily. Their programs are severely underfunded and the young people they serve are in desperate need of these basic resources.

The items on this pledge page will make a concrete difference to a young person in a moment of crisis (cell phone cards, food kits, winter clothes) and help them navigate some of the many challenges they face staying in school, looking for a job, being safe (backpacks, hygiene kits, transit cards). These items became our donation tiers for this website. Your contributions to this campaign will be used to directly provide these items to Homeless Liaisons in twelve targeted schools, and to two service organizations working on the ground who can get them into the hands of the young people who need them most.

Thank you for joining us in making a difference in the lives of homeless youth.

Fact: Chicago has only 396 shelter beds for 12,186 unaccompanied youth (ages 14-21) who are on their own and homeless.

Fact: The longer youth remain homeless, the risks of physical assault, rape, human trafficking and serious mental health problems are greatly amplified.

Fact: Youth age 12 to 17 are more at risk of homelessness than adults.

Fact: Up to 40% of homeless youth identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer (GLBTQ).

Fact: 46% of runaway and homeless youth reported being physically abused, 38% reported being emotionally abused, and 17% reported being forced into unwanted sexual activity by a family or household member.

Fact: On any given night, there are only 4,737 emergency and transitional living beds available in the United States.

For more information about the The Homestretch campaign visit


Meet some of the fundraisers that are part of this campaign

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