By Chinta Strausberg
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., State Rep. Juliana Stratton and Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx are among the notables who will be honored by Matthew House Chicago during its annual fundraiser to benefit the nearly 1,000 homeless individuals who are assisted every year by the Southside organization.
The 26th Anniversary celebration for Matthew House is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15, from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 E Upper Wacker Drive in Chicago.
The star-studded event is themed “Unmasking the Faces of Homelessness,” a reference to the individuals who often go unnoticed, or prefer to stay anonymous while traversing their complex and difficult journeys. The masquerade gala is the fourth annual fundraiser for Mathew House, the only daytime supportive services facility located on the Southside of Chicago.
The board of directors of Matthew House is presenting its first-ever Legacy Award to Jackson, and the coveted “Rise-Up” Award to Foxx. Dr. Byron Brazier of Apostolic Church of God; Julian Green, vice president of the Chicago Cubs; Luster Products, Inc.; and Stratton will also receive honors for their generosity and deference to the homeless.
Matthew House provides food, daytime and overnight shelter, clothing and showers; in addition to case management services, supportive job training and placement, as well as veterans assistance.
The organization is funded primarily through contributions and operates on a yearly budget of $1.1 million. Officials hope to raise $150,000 to benefit its life-saving programs, as well as administrative costs. Approximately 85 percent of Matthew House’s budget goes directly to funding services for the homeless, including 73 units of supportive housing. Matthew House also employs many of the 980 individuals, including nearly 250 women, that it serves annually. Almost 40 percent of staff members with tenures of at least 10 years were previously homeless.
Founder and Executive Director Dr. Sanja Rickette Stinson says one mission of Matthew House is to underscore the fact that while homelessness is a transition that many suffer, it never has to be a final journey.
“Homelessness is an experience that people go through, not a label that defines who they are,” says Stinson. “Help is available at Matthew House for those of us in peril with the courage to dream of a better life and a productive future.”
The upcoming celebration and fundraiser will feature the popular comedian BLT as the master of ceremonies, and a special performance by the soulful jazz song- stress Teresa Griffin.
Tickets are $125 and are available by visiting www.matthewhousechicago.org, or by calling (773) 536-6628. Matthew House is a non-profit, community-based 501(c)(3) organization. The continued vision for the facility is to continue to fight the fight that ends homelessness until it is no longer an issue for anyone. Matthew House is located at 3722 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL 60653 in Chi- cago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood.