Emanuel's New Task Force Looks to Reduce Homelessness

The program looks to combat homelessness in Chicago by unifying a group of city departments

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the launch of a citywide taskforce Wednesday aimed at combatting homelessness in Chicago. Since being elected in 2011, Emanuel has increased funding for homeless services by over 10 percent. 

“We as a City cannot thrive until each and every one of our residents can thrive, which is why we are committed to ending homelessness and ensuring that every Chicagoan has place to call home,” Emanuel said in a statement. “We have created this task force to ensure that all areas of the city are doing their part to ensure that all residents have a home, and that those who are struggling can get the support they need to get back on track.”

The mayor’s task force is comprised of 15 separate departments including the the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Park District and the Department of Public Health and the Chicago Police Department, among others. The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will serve as the task force’s lead agency.

“As the lead agency on homeless outreach and services, we are committed to working day in and day out to connect with our residents experiencing homelessness,” DFSS Commissioner and Chair to the Task Force Lisa Morrison Butler said in a statement. “While we are proud of the progress we have made in housing residents, our work is not yet done,”

According to a 2015 analysis by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, there were 125,848 homeless Chicagoans. As a result, DFSS houses over 3,000 people in shelters or other temporary housing every night.

The task force aims to streamline contracts and services from the city and its partners, investing those savings into improving the delivery of services for the homeless.

The group will also work to provide housing to “chronically homeless” residents and to develop a plan for combatting homelessness among families and children.

In addition to this, the task force will advocate for resources to compensate for cuts made by the state and federal government.

Since 2011, 400 households have received aid as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rapid Re-Housing program. Youth shelter space has also been expanded by nearly one-third.

“The Mayor’s new Task Force brings all of the key stakeholders together so we can give homeless residents the support they need to eventually secure a permanent home,” Morrison Butler added.

A full list of partners in the mayor's task force:

-Department of Family and Support Services

-Department of Aviation

-Chicago Department of Transportation 

-Chicago Department of Buildings

-Chicago Housing Authority

-Chicago Park District

-Chicago Police Department

-Chicago Public Schools

-Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

-Chicago Public Libraries

-Chicago Transit Authority

-Department of Planning and Development

-Department of Law

-Department of Streets and Sanitation

-Department of Public Health

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