Thanks to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Housing Action Illinois subgranted $10,000 to Housing Forward. These funds support the agency’s work providing direct financial and utility assistance during the pandemic.
Because 42 percent of Housing Forward’s clients live with physical disabilities, chronic health conditions, or behavioral health disorders, the agency knew the people it serves were at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Its clients often lack access to primary health care and rely on emergency room services for care.
Typically, Housing Forward’s rotating emergency shelters serve 70 overnight guests per night. CDC guidelines during the pandemic meant changing this approach. To protect individuals experiencing homelessness in the near-western Cook County suburbs, Housing Forward made the decision to pivot away from congregate shelter settings. On March 23, the Maywood-based agency shifted its clients into individual accommodations, providing emergency services at privately-owned apartments and motels in the area. One hundred and eighteen people were moved into these temporary accommodations. In addition, the agency is providing its shelter guests with emergency food assistance.
“Homelessness is something I’ve been dealing with since I was a kid—and mostly on my own since age 15. I’m almost 30 now and I’ve moved around to so many places I’ve lost track,” said one client, according to a Housing First Facebook post. “Sleeping in a real bed and having a safe place during this crazy coronavirus has been good. I like sweeping out my motel room and keeping it neat. Some of us here pitch in wherever we can to show that we appreciate the help.”
Thanks to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Housing Action Illinois has subgranted $10,000 to Housing Forward to support its work providing direct financial and utility assistance during the pandemic. Financial assistance to clients provided for food, medication, transportation passes, rent arrears, moving and furniture costs, and quarters for laundry for those clients currently staying in temporary emergency motel accommodations. With the funds, Housing forward provided utility assistance to five households and direct financial assistance to 115 households.
Since its founding in 1992, Housing First has become the largest provider of scattered-site supportive housing in west suburban Cook County. In the 28 years since, its mission has expanded to address the root causes of homelessness through supportive services and housing.