August 23, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Expands Homeless Services in Chicago at No Additional Cost to Taxpayers

Provide an Additional 220 Homeless Individuals with Job Preparation and Placement Services to Prevent and End Homelessness

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Chicago – Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today “Plan 2.0,” a 21st century strategy for battling homelessness, and a $2.5 million investment to launch that strategy by increasing access to support services across the city for homeless youth and increasing job preparation and placement opportunities for adults.  The City will build upon this investment by allocating financing towards developing new supportive housing and maintaining affordability for those most in need. 

“In every part of City government, we are focused on delivering better services at the most competitive price for taxpayers. We are partnering with Catholic Charities to bring improved and expanded mobile outreach services to homeless families in need at half the cost, and using the savings to dramatically increase the number of homeless youth we serve at no extra cost,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We also are rebooting our approach so that we invest where the return is strongest – in job preparation and placement for adults.

“Using Catholic Charities will cost less than half of what we are presently paying and allow us to use the savings to improve and expand services,” said Evelyn Diaz, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS). “They have been one of the largest and most respected providers of social services in the region since 1917 and utilize a highly qualified workforce with strong program management experience.”

The mayor was joined by representatives from the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, the Chicago Planning Council on Homelessness, and other civic leaders as he made the announcement at a new supportive housing facility for young homeless families being developed with support from the City of Chicago by the nonprofit organization New Moms at 5317 W. Chicago Avenue.

The $2.5 million annual investment in Plan 2.0 through DFSS will be at no additional cost to taxpayers and will be supported with existing city funds.  This investment includes $2 million to address youth homelessness; $1 million to serve 1,000 homeless youth annually through new or expanded support centers on Chicago’s north, south, and west sides; $1 million to serve an estimated 400 homeless youth annually with 100 year-round shelter beds, representing a 38% increase in the city’s youth shelter and transitional housing beds; and $500,000 to provide an additional 220 homeless individuals with job preparation & placement services, a more than 50% increase in service delivery. 

“This new investment will better align the homeless services we provide with their needs by focusing on improved services and increased job opportunities,” said Debbie Reznick of the Polk Bros. Foundation.

Plan 2.0 is a broad-ranging, seven-year action plan that will help improve access to housing opportunities for those most in need. It is divided into seven strategic priorities that represent among the most cutting-edge thinking on preventing and ending homelessness from around the country Over 500 local stakeholders participated in the planning process, including 150 people who have experienced homelessness themselves.  

Key objectives of Plan 2.0 include:

  • Increase job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Create additional housing and services for homeless youth, so they don’t become the next generation of homeless adults;
  • Create a clear, consistent, and targeted crisis response system for households in crisis;
  • Create 1,972 new units of permanent supportive housing (a 29% increase) for homeless households with disabilities; and increase the number of homeless households receiving financial assistance and services to facilitate rapid rehousing from 737 to 2,768 (a 275% increase).

In 2013, the City of Chicago will make new investments to support Plan 2.0 through the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHED):

  • $31.2 million to finance the development of 247 units of permanent supportive housing, and $14.2 million to preserve 153 units of Single Room Occupancy housing; and
  • $8.1 million to support 1,304 supportive housing units through the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund.

These new investments will supplement $47.8 million in local, state and federal funding for an array of homeless services including street outreach and engagement, prevention, shelter and interim housing, permanent supportive housing, and other supportive services.

Coordination of Plan 2.0 implementation will be spearheaded by the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness and DFSS.

“We are thrilled that we are building on our approach by providing the homeless with the tools for independence like job preparation and placement, and giving homeless youth the leg up they need to reunite with their families, enroll in school, find housing, and other critical supports that will give them what they need to lead dignified lives.  This is a major step forward for the City of Chicago,” said Nonie Brennan, CEO of the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness.  

“The Mayor’s focus on earlier intervention by responding to the complex needs of homeless teens and young families will help more people break the cycle of homelessness,” said Susan Reyna, CEO of Beacon Therapeutic Center.

“I was a teenage mother of three, homeless, and jobless. My future seemed very dim. The new Plan focuses on giving young people like me a chance just like the extra push I needed to get up, dust off, and fight for my future and the future of my children... If it had not been for these kinds of services, I cannot imagine where my family and I would be today, said Keana, a former client of Beacon.

Chicago’s first plan to end homelessness was developed in 2002 and identified three core strategies to address the problem:  preventing homelessness whenever possible, rapidly rehousing those who become homeless, and providing wrap-around services that promote stable housing and self-sufficiency. 

Over the past decade, Chicago’s homeless services system nearly doubled its stock of permanent supportive housing from 3,304 to 6,472 units, delivered nearly $50 million in homeless prevention resources, and provided state-of-the-art services to vulnerable groups including young families and chronically homeless adults with physical and mental health challenges.  

# # #