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Tents set up in a homeless encampment along DesPlaines Street north of Roosevelt Road. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Organizations in Chicago have spent decades helping the city’s homeless find housing. But until recently, there was no overarching system in place to help track those efforts – or the people in need.

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(Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

“So many people experiencing homelessness won’t come to us,” said Chris Robinson, Heartland Alliance Health outreach manager. “We have to come to them.”

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How a simple storage system is proving to be so much more for homeless youth trying to unlock a brighter future.

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About 15,000 Chicago Public Schools students are homeless, and a proposal to close four Englewood high schools would disproportionately harm part of that population, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless says. 

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Jet and Stone (Lloyd DeGrane Photography)

Lloyd DeGrane spent three years photographing homeless encampments in Chicago. He shares images and stories from the streets.

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Designed with the homeless, for the homeless: How a durable, simple backpack is meeting a basic need.

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“The impact it had on people will likely last for far more than two years, and not just from the past two years but also going into the future,” said Mitch Lifson, one of the report’s co-authors.

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City Clerk Anna Valencia (Chicago Tonight)

City Clerk Anna Valencia joins us to discuss her position and Chicago’s municipal ID program.

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A Night Ministry volunteer serves lasagna to members of the Back of the Yards community.

Chicago Tonight rides along with the Rev. Faith Miller and the rest of the Night Ministry for a scheduled stop in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

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Laura Doss, 68, was homeless for 16 years. She recently graduated from a public speaking program. (Courtesy of Speak Up)

A program called Speak Up connects formerly homeless individuals with seasoned storytellers so they can learn how to speak more effectively about their life experiences. We meet a recent graduate of the program.

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Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler on April 20 announces the city’s $1 million commitment to housing 100 homeless families. (Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)

This fall, 100 homeless families with school-age children will gain permanent housing and support services, thanks to a partnership between the city and the nonprofit Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

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A number of tents line the Lawrence Avenue underpass on a winter night in 2016. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago’s homeless population was 82,212 in 2015, according to figures released Wednesday by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

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“Our model is that quality equals dignity. We want kids on the other end who are receiving these coats or shoes or pants to feel proud to wear them,” said Cradles to Crayons Executive Director Bernard Cherkasov. 

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Don't have a drivers’ license or other form of official documentation? Chicago may soon be issuing municipal IDs to provide documentation to undocumented immigrants, ex-offenders and the homeless. 

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Never Go Without Founder Jesseca Rhymes (Courtesy of Rebecca Healy)

For the third consecutive year, Jesseca Rhymes is asking for feminine hygiene products for her birthday. Not for herself but for women experiencing homelessness.

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Chicago has expanded the pilot program a Day for Change in an effort to offer increased support to those struggling with homelessness. (Nltram242 / Flickr)

The city is allocating $540,000 toward a program that offers temporary work to hundreds of Chicagoans who are struggling with housing and economic stability.