The Center will incorporate best practices in homeless services to provide families awaiting long-term shelter with resources and support
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 7, 2017. Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined representatives from The Salvation Army today to break ground on the Chicago’s first emergency intake center. The ‘Shield of Hope’ Center will incorporate best practices in homeless services to provide homeless families awaiting long-term shelter with the resources and support they need to transition to permanent housing.
“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. “Every family should have a roof over their head, and every child deserves a safe space to call home. 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.”
When completed, the Shield of Hope Center will specialize in triage services for families experiencing homelessness and incorporate the most up-to-date practices for both service procedures and physical design. The Center will provide families with meals, showers, and play space for children. Staff will also be working with families to address and resolve the issues that led to their need to seek shelter.
“There is a reason this new building is called the Shield of Hope. Along with the City of Chicago, we are meeting families when they are most vulnerable and filled with fear,” said Lt. Col Charles Smith. “Not only will we provide a safe and welcoming environment for families to live during emergencies, we will help them restart their lives.”
The new Shield of Hope center, located at 910 N. Christiana Avenue in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood, will sit directly across from The Salvation Army’s Freedom Center providing greater access to resources.
“The City of Chicago and The Salvation Army have had a close partnership for years to support our most vulnerable residents to ensure instances of homelessness are rare, brief and nonrecurring,” said Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “The Shield of Hope center will help provide much needed shelter and services to those in need throughout the City.”
Construction on the new center is expected to be completed next year and provide families with features that include:
- 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms
- Ability to shelter up to 75 family members
- Able to accommodate 55 emergency overflow beds
- Laundry Room & Cafeteria
- Counseling & Support Services
The Center is the latest in a series of initiatives by Mayor Emanuel to address homelessness and delivers on a central component of the Mayor’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.
Since taking office, Mayor Emanuel has increased funding for homeless services by more than 10 percent, and the 2016 Point in Time (PIT) count marked the lowest observed count of homeless individuals citywide in over a decade. Additionally, the Emanuel Administration has launched several innovative programs with a focus on reducing homelessness, including: an unprecedented surcharge on the house sharing industry, making Chicago among the first municipalities to leverage a dedicated funding source for homelessness; creation of a new day labor program to employ and offer services to more than 500 panhandlers; providing permanent housing for 100 homeless families in high crime communities; participation in a nationwide effort to end homelessness among Veterans that has housed more than 3,000 homeless Veterans to date; and an expansion of dedicated youth shelter space and establishment of three regional drop-in centers to serve 1,400 youth annually.