In his 2015 city budget plan unveiled today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed a $1.25 million increase for shelter beds and homeless services.
Of that, $750,000 will fund 75 new shelter beds to meet the growing demand for emergency shelter for families.
The other $500,000 will fund comprehensive supportive services to help homeless people address issues that led to their homelessness, and help them find and keep permanent housing.
CCH applauds the mayor’s office for this new funding. A coalition of service providers and advocates, working with CCH, pushed the city to include new funding for services after a $3.3 million cutback in federal funding announced this summer. Twelve out of fifteen programs that provided crucial support services to homeless people lost all of their U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. This meant that 3,400 homeless people no longer had access to services for mental health, employment, substance abuse, and support to find and keep housing.
Although $500,000 will not replace all the services lost, it is a significant step for the city in a tight budget year. City funding for homeless services has not been increased from $8 million since 2005. This additional funding is a good step, as Chicago must do more if it wants to meet its goals in Plan 2.0, the mayor’s seven-year plan to address homelessness in Chicago.
Agencies that worked with CCH to advocate for homeless services funding were Beacon Therapeutic Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Center for Changing Lives, Center for Housing and Health, Inner Voice, Goldie’s Place, North Side Housing and Supportive Services, and Thresholds.
– Julie Dworkin, Director of Policy