Safe, secure housing provides a powerful incentive to those who have suffered homelessness. People are motivated to focus on the services that will help them retain their new home, stability and independence.
Under the Plan To End Homelessness, Chicago will gradually replace its current system of temporary shelters with a model of Interim and Permanent Housing.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has introduced several Interim Housing programs. The department continues to manage Shelter Plus Care, permanent housing with support services for people with disabilities. In addition, DFSS administers two housing programs for homeless adults and families; ARCH and Families First.
Individuals and families who find themselves homeless are placed in Interim Housing for a period up to four months. During this time they work closely with a case manager who helps them connect with services they need to gain stability, locate permanent housing and ensure they have the means to retain that housing. As part of Chicago's Plan To End Homelessness, FSS has funded 37 Interim Housing Programs across the city.
Shelter Plus Care
Shelter Plus Care is a federally funded program that provides housing and supportive services for homeless people (and family members) who have serious disabilities including mental illness, chronic drug or alcohol abuse or AIDS. Clients are required to participate in support services. Shelter Plus Care clients can live in a supportive housing facility that provides services on site, or live independently and arrange for support services on a regular basis. Clients can access Shelter Plus Care through DFSS and other service agencies in Chicago.
Chicago is one of 11 cities nationwide to receive federal grants for programs that address chronic homelessness. The ARCH program provides housing and supportive services for this hard-to-serve population. People who have been homeless for at least one year, or have experienced episodes of homelessness four times in three years AND suffer mental illness or currently abuse alcohol or drugs are eligible for the program. ARCH provides 59 single adults on the city's south side with permanent housing and on-going case management.
Families First operates through The Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. The program provides permanent housing and support services to homeless families residing in shelters. The Department of Family and Support Services selects families with high potential to achieve self-sufficiency. DFSS provides on-going case management to ensure they receive the support they need to maintain their housing and become fully independent.