CCH reaction to recommendations for Plan 2.0

The final report from the community charette for Chicago’s new Plan to End Homelessness was released Tuesday. Its recommendations will be the basis for a new “Plan 2.0” that will be unveiled by Mayor Emanuel this spring.

As a member of the Plan 2.0 Steering Committee, CCH was pleased with the high level of participation in the process and the open dialogue that took place.  The report captures a lot of good ideas that came out in the discussions.  Some high points for CCH include:

  • The inclusion of many of the recommendations from the Chicago Task Force on Homeless Youth, such as tripling the number of shelter beds for youth by 2016.
  • Several mentions of the barriers for people re-entering society after prison, including a recommendation to work with the Chicago Housing Authority on accepting more people with criminal backgrounds.
  • The recognition that more discussion should take place, through a short-term task force to meet in coming weeks, before finalizing recommendations on interim housing (120 days or less).

There are other areas in which we have concerns or which need more work.

For one, while we are glad the plan recognizes the need for resources for implementation, this thought does not appear until the last bullet on the last page of the report!  This idea should be front and center in the recommendations, as it will be front and center to the plan’s success.

Other concerns:

  • There should we more emphasis on job creation or directly connecting workforce programs with homeless service providers. An example of this is CleanSlate, a social enterprise that works directly with homeless clients and receives city contracts for street cleaning.
  • There needs to be more thinking around permanent housing models that will lead to stability for different types of households.  What kind of supports can we provide people moving into market rate housing?  How do we create more permanent affordable housing that is not supportive housing for households earning 30% or below of Area Median Income?
  • We have a concern that this plan, much like the last one, will be driven by federal priorities.  While it is important to comply with federal regulations and maximize federal funding for Chicago, we can’t ignore what we are seeing on the ground if it doesn’t match up with those federal priorities.

You can access the final report here.

– Julie Dworkin, Director of Policy