The city of Chicago is receiving millions of dollars in new federal funds from the CARES Act that must be spent to support people experiencing homelessness through COVID-19. The city released how it plans to spend that money yesterday, and they have opened a comment period, ending this Monday, June 15, for the public to provide feedback about their proposal.
This is a crucial opportunity for the city to leverage federal dollars to provide immediate housing for people experiencing homelessness who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. While the city’s proposal does provide funding for housing in its plan, we are advocating that they dedicate more for this purpose, and we hope you will join us in this ask.
A sample comment is below. Please note that the deadline for submitting a comment is Monday, June 15.
- Edit the template letter below with you/your organization’s information. Feel free to add or change anything you see fit.
- Email the letter to email@example.com
- After submitting your letter, fill out this google form, so that we can keep track of how many comments were submitted with this messaging.
Sample letter to the city:
Dear City of Chicago Office of Budget and Management,
My name is [your name] and I am a Chicago resident. I am writing [if applicable – on behalf of X organization] to provide comment on the Substantial Amendment, which allocates CARES Act funding in response to COVID-19. I urge the city to fully fund the Expedited Housing Initiative (EHI), proposed by the Continuum of Care, which would immediately house 1,750 Chicagoans who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. I commend the city for allocating funding to create 1,250 more units, and ask decision-makers to go further and make sure that it is fully funded.
The Chicago Continuum of Care has identified that there are 1,750 units of permanent housing that will become available over the next year, so fully funding the EHI means allowing 1,750 of the most at-risk people in our city to be immediately housed while they wait for a permanent subsidy to become available. We should not leave the opportunity to house 500 additional households on the table.
Another reason I am advocating for this is that it is vitally important that we get as many vulnerable people as possible out of congregate settings, and as quickly as possible. The city’s work to do this up to this point has prevented many deaths, and must build on that success.
Furthermore, while the Expedited Housing Initiative is an important step in the right direction, it does not solve the problem our city faces by any means. It does not house everyone experiencing homelessness who is most vulnerable to COVID, let alone everyone in Chicago experiencing homelessness overall — nearly 77,000 people. I hope we can work together to address this problem, which is, unfortunately, sure to worsen with the economic downturn unless we as a city develop proactive solutions.