‘The cost of food has quadrupled’: Chicago shelters say inflation is pushing more people to use their services


CHICAGO (SCS) — Inflation impacts everyday Americans, but for those who live paycheck to paycheck, the effects are harsher.

The city’s latest data shows that more than 4,400 Chicagoans are already homeless. CBS 2’s Sabrina Franza reports from a shelter in Old Town where the need for community services has increased dramatically.

In the Chicago area, food prices rose 11.2%, according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. For homeless people, paying for that next meal is harder than ever.

For centers like these offering food and shelter, demand is skyrocketing.

“We’ll just announce our presence when we were near the tent.”

CBS 2 accompanied Lincoln Park Community Services as they delivered meals, every Monday and Thursday.

“I have some lunches here, if you want them?”

We meet Brian who says he’s “better” these days. He said he served in the Navy and overcame an addiction to painkillers.

that simple peanut butter sandwich – means even more now – with the rising cost of food.

“I’m consuming two-thirds of my check,” Brian said.

Lincoln Park Community Services has two shelters – one in Old Town and the other in Lincoln Park.

“We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“Everything that happens with the economy not only impacts you and me, but also people who have no resources. Whatever small amount they have now is not okay. that far,” said Cheryl Hamilton-Hill, CEO of Lincoln. Park community services.

They have seen their demand multiply in recent months.

“Our food costs have quadrupled over the past 12 months because we’ve been seeing more people. That means everything we do has increased dramatically,” she said. “You know, the number of people who come to take a shower, the price of water increases. The number of people who take transport to look for a job, these are numbers that are increasing.”

With inflation weighing heavily on everyone’s bottom line, they say they’ve seen five times as many people seeking help come to the organization for basic human needs. This year so far, the centers have served 2,163 guests.

Last year, the total number was 422.

That’s more than five times the amount. And that’s only August. The center houses guests for extended periods, but also offers delivery services for clean showers, laundry, internet and a hot meal.

Franklin Russ arrived 15 days ago.

“I have hope now.”

Services don’t just fill his stomach.

“Getting ID, birth certificate, social security card, the things I need to get a job, it’s about employment here. It’s about being a member productive part of society,” Russ said. “And the social workers here are doing their best to make that happen. And I see that working in every individual here.”

When asked what Lincoln Park Community Services needed to achieve their goals, they said they would always accept donations, including food, toiletries, or just volunteer time.

Click here for more information on Lincoln Park Community Services and how you can help.


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