Street and Shelter Homelessness 

For those experiencing street and shelter homelessness, CCH obtained data from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), managed by All Chicago Making Homelessness History. HMIS is the information system federally mandated by the HUD and locally administered to record and analyze client, service, and housing data for individuals and families who experience homelessness.  

For the analysis, we requested an unduplicated count of people served in the homeless service system throughout the calendar year. This excludes those who were housed with temporary or permanent housing subsidies for the entirety of the year. Given that rapid-rehousing programs are only temporary, in previous years, this analysis included those living in rapid re-housing. However, the local HMIS administrator asked to exclude this population because rapid re-housing programs are considered permanent housing by HUD and the CoC. Therefore, those enrolled in rapid re-housing for the entire 12 months of 2018 and 2019 are not included in this estimate. This is a slight modification from the methodology of prior years. 

Temporarily Staying with Others 

For those temporarily staying with others, CCH utilized data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a yearly assessment administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, gathering in-depth household information of roughly 3.5 million households across the United States.8  

These data help describe changes in communities through demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristic information. The ACS does not directly ask whether individuals staying in a particular household are experiencing homelessness, but it gathers enough characteristic data that can be used to identify those experiencing homelessness.  

Data Deduplication and Limitations 

Total figures of this analysis remove duplicative data. HMIS data included 5,239 people who utilized the shelter system and temporarily stayed with others at some point in the year. When reporting total figures for this analysis, all those who utilized the shelter system that also reported temporarily staying with others were categorically removed from the street and shelter data. 

This estimate does not include data on those living on the street or other places not meant for habitation who had no contact with service providers. This also does not include people experiencing homelessness who do not want to be found because of the potential negative impact to their safety and wellbeing, such as those involved in sex work. People detailed in jail the entirely of the year who were experiencing homelessness prior to their incarceration are not included, nor does this estimate include those staying in healthcare institutions for the entirety of the year. 

Methodological changes 

The project team made several methodological changes to create more comprehensive parameters experiencing homelessness by temporarily staying with others. The changes are as follows: 

  1. Adjusted poverty measure. This analysis adjusted what was considered the poverty threshold, accounting for the cost of housing in different geographic areas. This analysis geographically adjusts poverty following the method of the Supplemental Poverty Measure.9 This adjustment compares area median rents for a standard two-bedroom unit and adjusts the portion of a household’s poverty threshold allocated towards housing. The poverty threshold considers that a standard two-bedroom unit was $1,089/month in Chicago, IL in 2019. This methodology was adjusted in the historic estimates in this report, as well. 
  2. Minor siblings of the household head. Excluding minor siblings of the household head when the minor’s parent is not present (so that the household head may assume responsibility for minor siblings). 
  3. Relatives of the household head over age 65. Including relatives of the household head who are over age 65 and in an overcrowded situation. 
  4. Children age 1824. Including single 18–24-year-old children if they are overcrowded. 

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