CHA and Operation Warm distribute 7,500 coats to residents at COVID-safe event

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Coats were handed out to pre-registered public housing residents and HCV participants over four days 

CHICAGO – RealEstateRama – The 2020 event looked a little different due to COVID-19, but the Chicago Housing Authority and Operation Warm nevertheless partnered for the 13th consecutive year, distributing 7,500 new winter coats over four days last week to the children of pre-registered families living in public housing and who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program at Credit Union 1 Arena.

Instead of the typical one-day, four-hour event, coats were distributed this year over four, nine-hour days, thanks largely to the help of sponsors and Team CHA. The distribution to pre-registered public housing residents and HCV participants ended Saturday.

CHA CEO Tracey Scott helped hand out coats.

“These are challenging times, but we were determined to continue the tradition of providing new winter coats to children who will desperately need them this winter,” CEO Scott said. “Thank you to Operation Warm and to all our partners who have made this great event possible for the past 13 years. CHA is here to invest not just in bricks and mortar, but to invest in people. That is our mission. And this is an example of that mission reaching fruition.” 

More than 3,000 CHA residents and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participants registered in advance to receive brand new winter coats for their children. Each resident selected a date and a one-hour timeframe to pick up their coats.

Sponsors included Wells Fargo, Pepsico, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Comcast, ComEd, Pangea Real Estate and Nan McKay & Associates.

“Operation Warm is proud to partner with the CHA and UIC on this important event, especially in this year of increased need,” said Rich Lalley, Partnership Director with Operation Warm. “7,500 Chicago children living in public housing and with a Housing Choice Voucher received the warmth, confidence and hope of a new Operation Warm coat. As we like to say, it’s ‘more than a coat.'”

HCV participant Hydeech Dennard picked up a coat for her four-year-old daughter. This is the first time she has participated in Operation Warm. She said she is thankful for the coat, which she said was high quality.

“She loves pink anyway, and so the first thing she said was, ‘Thank you!,” Dennard said of her daughter. “And it was quick. In-and-out.”

The partnership between CHA and Operation Warm began in 2008. Operation Warm was looking for a partner that could handle a large-scale coat distribution, and the first event kicked off with a few boxes at the Fosco Park Field House. Over the years it has grown to provide thousands of public housing children with new winter coats (and – most years – access to services such as flu shots).


Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646; (312) 523-7067;

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