Chicago partners with Biden administration to address homelessness

Chicago Construction News staff writer

Chicago is one of six cities included in a new partnership with the White House and the U.S. Interagency Council, a first-of-its-kind initiative to address unsheltered homelessness.

As part of ALL INside, cities will work with federal agencies for up to two years to strengthen and accelerate local efforts to move unsheltered people off the streets and into homes where they can rebuild their lives.

“We must work with our federal and community partners to assist people experiencing homelessness and build pathways that ensure every Chicagoan has a roof over their head, as well as support services to help them thrive,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “ALL INside is an exciting initiative that helps leverage federal programs and resources to help the City and community address homelessness

The Biden-Harris Administration will offer innovative and tailored support to participating communities for up to two years, including:

  • embedding a dedicated federal official in each community to accelerate locally driven strategies and enact system-level changes to reduce unsheltered homelessness
  • deploying dedicated teams across the federal government to identify opportunities for regulatory relief and flexibilities, navigate federal funding streams, and facilitate a peer learning network across the communities
  • convening philanthropy, the private sector, and other communities to identify opportunities for follow-on support and collaboration

“This initiative will provide essential access to Federal alliances as we coordinate and build upon the efforts of our many partners. We know that centralized, coordinated initiatives are more effective in our efforts to find our neighbors experiencing homelessness a safe place to call home,” said Carolyn Ross, president and CEO of All Chicago Making Homelessness History. “We need all the help we can get to help our unsheltered neighbors, for whom the situation is dire.

“ALL INside creates the opportunity to seek guidance in our work to find innovative solutions to roadblocks and ways to better coordinate our efforts. This is an essential step forward in our efforts to end homelessness.”

Key areas for the initiative:

  • A dedicated focus and priority on pathways to housing for residents returning from jails and prisons and residents with arrest or conviction records, including a systematic review of eligibility and exclusions.
  • An address of the needs of unsheltered people on public transit, as well as safety concerns near highways and under viaducts and bridges — and divert unsheltered persons from transportation systems to safer places for shelter.
  • Dedicated support to help participants in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) make community choices to create a data system that will support collaborative change in Chicago.
  • Efficient processes for preparing and accessing documentation/IDs to support access to housing and benefits.
  • An improvement of the involvement of persons with lived experience in actual decision-making processes beyond the “input” stage and extending into the “implementation” stage.

“Many unsheltered people seek refuge on trains and other forms of transportation, which is why we need to ensure the City, as well as our community partners, can reach them and respond to their different needs. Improving our response on transit systems is an essential step toward supporting unsheltered residents,” said DFSS Commissioner Brandie Knazze. “With this agreement, we have a direct line to our federal partners to advocate for our unsheltered neighbors.”


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