Helping Chicago's Veterans
Chicago Loop Alliance’s Street Team Ambassadors have been working with the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to support the Ending Veteran’s Homelessness Initiative. Set by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in September 2014, the initiative aims to end veteran homelessness by December 31, 2015.
According to the City’s 2015 Point-in-time Count and Survey, veterans represent 15% of Chicago's homeless population. CLA’s Street Team Ambassadors, along with two dozen other non-profits and public funders, have implemented a system for finding and accessing veterans that will ultimately lead to providing permanent housing.
Outreach Teams, including the CLA Street Team, are assigned to specific spots that have been identified as locations where homeless individuals have been residing. Equipped with Vulnerability Index (VI) packets and resource cards, the team seeks out homeless veterans and inquires about the individual’s interest in applying for housing.
CLA’s Street Team Ambassadors have been assigned the Loop’s Harold Washington Library as a spot for recognizing and supporting homeless veterans.The Street Team canvassed all the floors and individually spoke with all patrons of the library to see if they served in the United States military and are experiencing homelessness. Over the course of the three dates the Street Team assessed six homeless veterans and submitted the assessments to the Department of Family and Supportive Services (DFSS) who forwards the documents to the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) who processes the assessments to determine qualifying benefits.
“The patrons of the Harold Washington Library were very supportive of our efforts to assist in the Veteran’s Homelessness Initiative. Many individuals thanked us for our work and efforts to end Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015.” - Paul Guthrie, Chicago Loop Alliance Street Team Program Manager.