Mayor Emanuel Announces Innovative Program To Provide Rapid Support For Residents Who Are Homeless

December 24, 2017

Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool Will Quickly Connect Chronically Homeless to Housing and Wraparound Support Services

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool (FHSP), a one-of-a-kind supportive housing rental subsidy model that combines both housing/rental subsidy expertise and intensive case management to effectively house residents who are experiencing homelessness.

“This innovative program will give the City of Chicago and our partners the tools needed to quickly provide support for Chicagoans who need it most,” Mayor Emanuel said. “We as a city cannot thrive until each and every one of our residents can thrive, which is why we are committed to addressing homelessness in a holistic, comprehensive and compassionate manner.”

The FHSP establishes a rental subsidy source that allows the City of Chicago to quickly house and provide supportive services to some of Chicago’s most challenging and costly homeless populations, including individuals who are high utilizers of emergency rooms and the criminal justice system.

“Our hope with this initiative is to secure quality, safe and affordable housing for extremely vulnerable Chicagoans, through a more streamlined process,” Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner of the Department of Family and Support Services said. “We are thrilled to partner with the Corporation for Supportive Housing and so many City agencies to connect those experiencing homelessness with housing and the supportive services they need to thrive.

The program brings together an unprecedented partnership that includes the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

Currently, no one governmental entity in Chicago provides a combined housing and supportive service model nor manages a third party that provides both housing/rental subsidy expertise and intensive case management. The FHSP will provide the City and its partners with the ability to quickly house and provide supportive services to challenging homeless populations, by:

  • Streamlining approvals and retention by eliminating administrative processes and requirements that have limited value;
  • Consistently adding units citywide to the homeless housing inventory to create an inventory of available, affordable housing to more quickly match persons experiencing homelessness to housing;
  • Managing the entire housing process from beginning to end – to include intensive case management, housing navigation, and permanent supportive housing;
  • Providing streamlined processes for both landlords and tenants to keep number of days to housing as low as possible; and
  • Building upon HMIS data to identify individuals seeking services for the homeless.

In December, the Mayor introduced an ordinance to dedicate $500,000 for FHSP from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund (AHOF) and $500,000 in 2018 corporate funds. The CHA will contribute $800,000 in HUD funds that was approved by the CHA board in November 2017.

The FHSP was also made possible thanks to the generous support of the Chicago Community Trust Housing Plus grants, as well as Polk Bros. Foundation and Michael Reese Health Trust. These foundation partners have supported the FHP partners to advance the intersection of housing and health for people who are homeless or have high housing instability.

The City and its partners will continue working to secure funding for FHSP from foundations, and other public and private organizations.

“CHA is proud to participate in a program that not only helps Chicago’s most vulnerable obtain housing in a streamlined fashion, but one that provides supportive services to assist on their road to self-sufficiency. We are excited to work with our partners as we continue to address homelessness in the city of Chicago,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr.

FHSP has been modeled from successful initiatives in Los Angeles, CA and Houston, TX. Research has shown that housing with supportive and health services is proven to help this population stay housed, which reduces multiple system engagement and links individuals with services.

Since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, the City of Chicago has increased funding for homeless initiatives by more than 10 percent and invested in innovative new programs for veterans, youth, families, and victims of domestic violence. Earlier this year, Mayor Emanuel announced a new Families in Transition (FIT) program, which is working with Chicago Public Schools with the highest number of homeless students to house 100 homeless families. The 2017 Point in Time Count reported homelessness decreased 4% from the previous year, marking the lowest observed count of homeless individuals citywide in over a decade.