New city plan to end homelessness: Comments accepted until 5 p.m. Wednesday

The public has until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 to submit written commentary on the initial recommendations that will make up a new Chicago Plan to End Homelessness.

The initial recommendations for the “Chicago Plan 2.0” can be reviewed here:

Following a review of the feedback, a longer, detailed final plan will be unveiled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel this spring.

The Plan 2.0 planning process is led by the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, the city of Chicago, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Feedback on the early recommendations are to be emailed to Nicole Amling:

New recommendations will not be considered in this phase. Instead, comments should discuss which initial recommendations are supported or opposed, and/or what is missing from what was recommended during a two-day charrette last week at which the public, advocates, providers and homeless people made recommendations.

CCH sent 15 homeless youth and adults and five staff members to offer suggestions and commentary during the public charrette Jan. 24-25 at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington. Among them was Sonovia Petty, who said that as an ex-offender raising two sons she has found it difficult to find a job.

“We don’t give second chances,” said Sonovia, who now works part-time for CCH.

At a Friday, Jan. 27 session to hear feedback on the recommendations, people were able to speak up about the early recommendations.

Among them, CCH Policy Director Julie Dworkin said that the initial report asks even more of shelter providers without committing financial resources to do them. The early report also omitted suggestions to offer more rental subsidies as a way to provide more affordable housing, said Julie, a member of the Plan 2.0 Steering Committee.

Jim LoBianco, a CCH board member and executive director of StreetWise, also challenged a recommendation to “close (shelter) sites with substandard living conditions and repurpose funding for rapid rehousing or other rental assistance.”

A former city director of homeless services, Jim said that if a shelter were to be closed, it should be immediately replaced with another. He noted that with the city requiring special use permits to open a shelter, no new shelters have opened since Pacific Garden Mission and the former Chicago Christian Industrial League opened their new facilities at least four years ago.

The New York Times wrote on Sunday about the city’s homeless planning process:

– Anne Bowhay, Media