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Nation’s first rapid-response emergency homeless shelter provides families specialized and holistic services
The Salvation Army, in partnership with The City of Chicago, opened the nation’s first rapid-response emergency homeless assessment and response center today, providing intake services and interim care for families in need. The City's first rapid response center, which was proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is the latest in a series of innovative initiatives to address homelessness.
“As a city, we are committed to providing these essential services to the residents of Chicago who are most in need.” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Through our partnership with The Salvation Army, the Shield of Hope will ensure that we are all doing our part to connect families with the care they need to return to housing and stability.”
Through an innovative service model, the Shield of Hope, located across from the Salvation Army’s Freedom Center campus in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood, will triage and assess families who find themselves homeless and place them into more stable living situations within 14 days.
“Our hope is that with this facility, the Department of Family and Support Services, along with The Salvation Army, will continue our work to support those in need and that any instances of homelessness are rare, brief and nonrecurring.” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “I’d like to thank The Salvation Army for helping make this a reality and for working with us on making this a success for our most vulnerable residents.”
The new facility will support a continuum of care that advances The Salvation Army’s promise of serving those in need, while ensuring they maintain their personal dignity. The facility will be able to provide shelter for as many as 75 family members until a more appropriate shelter option is available.
The Shield of Hope provides:
Families staying at the Shield of Hope will also have access to an array of services at the Freedom Center:
“The Salvation Army is committed to supplying essential services to residents of Chicago who are most at-risk and in need,” said Lt. Colonel Charles Smith, Divisional Commander. “Not only will The Salvation Army provide a safe and welcoming environment for families to live during emergencies, we will help them restart their lives by giving them the tools and resources to begin again with hope and joy."
The Center is the latest in a series of initiatives by Mayor Emanuel to address homelessness and delivers on a central component of the Mayor’s "Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone," a broad-ranging, seven-year action plan that reaffirms and builds on the core tenets outlined in Chicago’s original Plan to End Homelessness.
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 new programs targeting veterans, youth, families, and victims of domestic violence.
In addition, Mayor Emanuel, together with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the Center for Supportive Housing, announced the innovative 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. With a $1.8 million investment from the City of Chicago and CHA, the FHSP will establish a rental subsidy source that will allow partners 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.