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For Immediate Release
The Chicago City Council today authorized the new Chicago Emergency Homeless Assessment and Response Center (EHARC), a brand new full-service emergency center to be built on the city’s West Side. The City's first rapid response center is a partnership with the Salvation Army, and will specialize in triage services for families experiencing homelessness.
This is the latest in a series of initiatives to address homelessness by the Emanuel Administration. It grants the Salvation Army a multi-year agreement to operate the City’s first rapid response center and construct a new facility for services and interim shelter. The new facility’s future home at 910 N. Christiana Avenue is expected to be complete next year.
"The City of Chicago stands firm on our commitment to providing shelter and services to those in need, so that no family is forced to sleep on the streets," said Mayor Emanuel. "Thanks to our partnership with the Salvation Army, we will create an innovative triage response system that prevents homelessness whenever possible by connecting our families with the care they need to return to housing and stability."
Beginning next spring, the EHARC will provide homeless families awaiting shelter placement with 24-hour centralized intake, assessment, triage and temporary shelter services. Through this innovative service model, EHARC will triage, divert, or place homeless households in more stable shelter programs as quickly as possible. EHARC will absorb the city’s centralized emergency shelter and services functions currently delivered by Salvation Army at the City’s 10 S. Kedzie location, and will also improve delivery at its new state-of-the-art center.
"The City of Chicago is working to build a system of support that ensures instances of homelessness are rare, brief, and nonrecurring," said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. "In partnership with the Salvation Army, the addition of triage services will enhance the City’s ability to provide services to the most vulnerable residents in need."
The Salvation Army will build the new $10 million state-of-the-art facility, making capacity of 75 beds available to vulnerable families on a nightly basis. The new facility will represent the most up-
to-date best practices in homeless services for both service procedures and physical design, providing families awaiting placement in a longer-term shelter with meals, showers, and play space for children, and staff will assist them in beginning to address and resolve the issues that led to their need to seek shelter.
"We are committed to providing these essential services to the residents of Chicago who are most in need," said Colonel Charles Smith of the Salvation Army. "As the largest direct provider of social services in the Greater Chicago area for more than 125 years and key partner to DFSS for many years, we are ready and prepared to serve those in need through this partnership with the City."
"This new center will be a great asset for this community and for families citywide in need of shelter and services," said Alderman Walter Burnett. "I want to thank Salvation Army for being a strong partner of ours and for supporting Mayor Emanuel’s and our city’s commitment to reducing homelessness and ensuring everyone has a place to call home."
The future EHARC delivers on a central component of Mayor Emanuel’s "Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone," a broad-ranging, seven-year action plan that reaffirms and builds on the core tenets outlined in Chicago’s original Plan to End Homelessness. There will be no service interruption at 10 S. Kedzie, the site currently performing emergency intake for homeless individuals, during construction of the new EHARC facility, which is scheduled to begin this summer. The Salvation Army currently provides services to families at 10 S. Kedzie, and is one of dozens of delegate agencies working with DFSS to deliver homeless services citywide.
The announcement of EHARC is in line with other innovative city investments led by Mayor Emanuel to reduce homelessness, including: an unprecedented surcharge on the house sharing industry, making Chicago among the first municipalities to leverage a dedicated funding source for homelessness; participation in the national EVHI campaign allowing us to house more than 3,000 homeless Veterans to date; and the creation of the Citywide Task Force to Reduce Homelessness, which has, among many other issues, been charged with both addressing chronic homelessness citywide.
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