Communities United is a grassroots organization in Chicago building collective power to achieve racial justice and transformative social change. They organize around health equity, affordable housing, education justice, youth investment, immigrant rights, police accountability, and restorative justice. CU supports the holistic development of young people and adult allies with diverse identities to build a shared root cause analysis of problems impacting their communities, to advance innovative power-‐building strategies that address present-‐day and historical trauma in communities of color, and to achieve collective healing through the process of creating social change.
In 2019, CUyouthleaders successfully secured $10M over five years for affordable housing through the city of Chicago’s Preservation of Existing Affordable Rentals (PEAR) program as well as a $200M dedicated to supporting affordable housing initiatives within the state’s capital budget. CU leaders also helped to pass protections against housing discrimination in Cook County for people with criminal records through the Just Housing ordinance. CU is also transforming the mental and behavioral health care system in partnership with LurieChildren’s Hospital’sStrengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY) initiative as well as the head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Dr. John T. Walkup. A renewal grant for Communities United would support their youth-‐led organizing for affordable housing, education justice, and their Healing Justice goal to center the voices and leadership of survivors to design transformative justice practices that can be employed by mental health practitioners and other city institutions beyond the traditional clinical approaches to depression, anxiety, and trauma.