Center for Urban Research and Learning|Loyola University Chicago

Center for Urban Research and Learning


CURL e-Newsletter Summer 2011

Summer 2011

   Appraising Chicago’s Homeless Policy



A set of first year reports on an evaluation of Chicago’s homeless system has just been completed and released.  For the past two years, in partnership with the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, CURL has been conducting an evaluation of Chicago’s Plan to End Homelessness.  Chicago’s Plan, initiated in January of 2003, radically transformed Chicago’s homeless system from one that manages homelessness to one that ends homelessness by quickly moving people into permanent housing.  The research has been conducted by a CURL research team led by Assistant Research Professor Christine George, Loyola School of Social Work Professor Susan Grossman, and University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Professor Michael Sosin.


The research has four central components: a qualitative study of the needs, resources, and experiences of homeless clients; a comprehensive survey of homeless service agencies; a   longitudinal study following 580 homeless individuals and families navigate the service system; and in-depth open-ended interviews with 30 homeless youth. 


Although a final report is still being completed, there are a number of initial findings:


From the qualitative study:


There a serious problems using the City’s 311 system to access the homeless system. 


The City Department of Family Supportive Services (DFSS) Service Centers are under-resourced and under-utilized in providing services to the homeless.

Homeless individuals have pointed to the need for assistance in negotiating various systems and are frustrated by the fragmented nature of the service system.  These respondents have also reported positive experiences with the agencies from which they were receiving services.


From the first wave of interviews:


Traits of Individuals:  Individuals and family heads in the sample range from almost 40 to 50 years of age, on average.  The majority are African American.

Past Experience with Homelessness:  Typically, people in shelters and permanent housing programs report five years of homeless experience.  Interim housing program clients report slightly shorter homeless experiences.

Residence Prior to Program Entry:   Only a small proportion of individuals were on the street prior to program entry.  This suggests that access to programs is occurring through routes other than direct street outreach.  More than one-third of those in shelters or interim housing reported that they were in someone else’s dwelling prior to coming to the program.  Sixteen percent of those in permanent housing reported similar prior arrangements.

Precipitating Events Leading to Homelessness:  There are three clusters of events leading to homelessness: employment problems; unusually high expenses; and loss of options to stay with friends and relatives.

 “Appraising Chicago’s Homeless Policy: Interviews with Chicago’s Homeless Population,” a powerpoint presentation Dr. George made to the Loyola University community on March 30, 2011 is available on CURL’s web site.

   Heart, Women, and Girls


Projects at CURL come to life in a variety of ways – past partnerships, funding opportunities and, of course, new partners who have heard of our collaborative work from others. HEART Women and Girls(Health Education Advocacy Research and Training), led by co-founders, Nadiah Mohajir and Ayesah Akhtar, followed this last path to our door.

This new and growing group works with women and girls in faith-based communities – especially in Muslim communities – to build “leadership and self-esteem through health and wellness programming.” They are collaborating with CURL to design research on the attitudes, opinions, and knowledge of young Muslim college students as it relates to a variety of health issues. The goal is to use these data to better understand areas where communities need more training, education, and advocacy. HEART will, in turn, be better equipped to target their resources and those of others in the broader field.

Yasmeen Shaban, Caitlin Botsios, and Rachel Kohl, students from Loyola’sUrban Studies Program, partnered with HEART this semester to do background research and begin constructing the research instruments. The students receive valuable hands-on research experience and HEART gains no-cost assistance to move their critical work forward. These same students have enjoyed the project so much that all three have agreed to stay on for part of the summer as volunteers. The plan is to begin gathering data in the fall.


   Kale Williams Award Recipients

CURL Undergraduate Fellows Jenna Hartung and Viviann Anguiano are the recipients of CURL’s 2011 Kale Williams Award for Exceptional Work in Promoting Human Rights and Social Justice.

Jenna is a Psychology major and also completed the Human Services Program. In addition to her work interviewing, data analysis, and other research on the Housing First project at CURL, Jenna has been an active intern at Deborah’s Place and Children’s Home and Aid.   She is headed to Loyola’s MSW program next year.   In their nominations CURL staff, observed that Jenna’s “passion for social justice is evident in every aspect of her life” 

Viviann, a sociology major, has been working on a CURL project documenting the experiences of undocumented students at Jesuit universities and colleges.   She has been active in struggles for immigrant rights, especially around passage of the DREAM Act.   Viviann has be active in organizing Loyola students to participate in demonstrations and other activities to gain passage of the federal legislation that would open the door for citizenship among youth who have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives.




From L to R: Jenna Hartung, Kale Williams, and Viviann Anguiano


Each year the Kale Williams Award for Exceptional Work in Promoting Human Rights and Social Justice is given to two CURL undergraduate or graduate fellows who exemplify the work and ideals of Kale Williams.


For ten years, Kale Williams served as the Senior Scholar in Residence at CURL.  Through his volunteer work at CURL, as well as through his lifetime of human rights advocacy, Kale has served as model for everyone around him. Following service in the Navy in World War II he became a pacifist and worked with the American Friends Service Committee organizing projects to address injustice including interventions in Chicago's low-income communities, assistance to Native Americans in the Southwest, famine relief in the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, and opposition to the Vietnam War.


In Chicago he worked with Dr. Martin Luther to bring about fair housing opportunities for all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or income.  After the 1966 open housing marches, Kale helped to found the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, an organization for which he served as executive director for over 20 years.   After service there, he was invited to Loyola University Chicago as Visiting Professor of Applied Ethics.    It was after this visiting professorship that he became the Senior Scholar in Residence at CURL.  


Kale's steadfast work in promoting human rights and social justice certainly motivated students, staff, and faculty who had the privilege of working with him at CURL.  This award is a reminder that this spirit and commitment continues at CURL.

   Pathways to Stable Housing Photography Exhibit

The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA)

August 20 – January 15, 2012




Image: Noah Addis, Carmen Velazquez, 2010


In a partnership with the Alliance to End Homelessness, CURL and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Noah Addis have organized an exhibition of portraits of individuals and families who have moved from homelessness to stable housing.   Dominant stereotypes of homeless individuals are challenged by 25 portraits of and interviews with individuals who have made, or are in the process of making, the move to secure long-term housing.

   New Visiting Scholar


 The Provost has approved the appointment of Dr. Anthony Orum as a Visiting Scholar at CURL.   Tony has a distinguished career as an urban sociologist.    In May he retired from the University of Illinois Chicago, where he had served as Department Head and Professor.   He has taught at Emory University, the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana, and the University of Texas at Austin.   He has authored or edited 12 books and monographs, including Power, Money & the People: The Making of Modern Austin (2002);Political Sociology: Power and Participation in the Modern World (2008); andIntroduction to Cities: Place and Space in Human Experience (2011).


In 2009 the American Sociological Association Section on Community and Urban Sociology awarded him the Robert and Helen Lynd Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service, one the of top awards in our field.  Tony is the founding editor of City & Community and has served as an editor or co-editor for a dozen other journals.


As Tony puts it, in this “next career,” he is particularly interested in working with CURL research teams in their community-engaged work in the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond.   He has been impressed with the work of CURL in using research to promote greater equity in the communities around us.   He will be a major asset to CURL and the broader university.  Tony will join us at the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester.

   Additions to CURL’s Staff

Chez Rumpf has been working with CURL over the past few months  as project manager of the Evaluation of Chicago Housing Authority's Victim Assistance Program.  She is also helping in the analysis of data and writing the final report for the Evaluation of the City of Chicago Plan to End Homelessness. Chez is a PhD student in the Sociology Department.

Michael Rivers, a CURL Graduate Research Fellow who has been actively working on the Evaluation of the Plan to End Homelessness project team over the past two years, has been hired by the AIDS Foundation as their Research and Evaluation Coordinator.

Dennis Watson, a CURL Pre-doctoral Fellow, has received an offer for a tenure-track position in health policy and management at the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Public Health beginning in Fall 2011.  In cooperation with CURL, Dennis had received a $100,000 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.   This was used to support CURL research and his dissertation research on the “housing first” model, which finds individuals stable housing and then works with them to address drug and substance abuse.

   Thank You to Fellows and Volunteers

over the past academic year


The key to CURL’s success has been the hard work of graduate and undergraduate students who have worked on the center’s research teams.   We want to thank all of those students who have worked on the more than 15 active CURL research projects over the past year.


Graduate Fellows:

Eddie Brown, Social Work

Bill Byrnes, Sociology

Jeremy Chalmer, Computer Science

Henry Cheung, Nursing

Matthew Cuddaback, Social Work

Cliff Earnshaw, Business

Tess Given, Social Work

Diana Guelespe, Sociology

Kimberlee Guenther, Sociology

Reiko Kakuyama, Education: Research Methodology

Mary Kleinman, Sociology

Dara Lewis, Sociology

Rachel Martinez, Applied Social Psychology

Michael Rivers, Sociology

Chez Rumpf, Sociology

Sophia Rodriguez, Education: Cultural and Educational Policy Studies

Thejashree Sengodan, Computer Science

Christina Shipman, Sociology

Ira Stevanovic, Social Work
Mary Talbot, Psychology

Allison Tan, Social Work

Bhoomi Thakore, Sociology

Rene Velazco, Business - Finance

Dana Wagner, Applied Social Psychology

Sean Young, Sociology


Undergraduate Fellows:

Vivian Anguiano, Sociology

Melissa Corzo, Sociology

Erin Hardin, Economics

Jenna Hartung, Psychology

Olubukola Olukanni, International Studies

Sarah Sarkar, English



Soulit Chacko, Sociology

Stephanie Duncan, Social Work

Tajma, Hodjiic, Psychology

James Lagan, Psychology

Angela Muccino, MUAPP

Teresa Neumann, Sociology

Elle Nurmi, Slavic Languages & Literature

Tim Sacco, Sociology

Lucas Sharma, Sociology

Madeline Shea, MUAPP



In This Issue

Appraising Chicago’s Homeless Policy


Heart, Women, and Girls


Kale Williams Award Recipients


Pathways to Stable Housing Photography Exhibit


New Visiting Scholar


Additions to CURL’s Staff


Thank You



Staff Directory


Will Bolton
Community Collaborative Research Apprentice


Christine George
Assistant Research Professor


Maria D. Guzman 
Senior Researcher 
Julie Hilvers
University: Community Research Coordinator 


 Gina Lopez
Administrative Manager


Phil Nyden


 Koonal Patel
Community Collaborative Research Apprentice


Chez Rumpf
University: Community Research Coordinator 


David Van Zytveld
Associate Director  
Dennis Watson 
University: Community Research Coordinator


CURL web


Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Newsletters you can trust

Edit this page