There are several programs focused on eviction prevention and rehousing in both the City of Chicago as well as the greater Suburban Cook County region. Financial aid for paying expenses such as rent, energy bills, and security deposits is combined with help in paying for moving costs, supportive housing, and vouchers. The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing service is one of the key programs in the region.
For residents living in the city, one key resource available to them is the Chicago’s Central Referral System. It may have information on both emergency assistance and permanent housing. Due to the demand on the system, there is a priority system in place, so unfortunately not everyone can be assisted.
There are different steps used to determine who is selected. Households that are in rent arrears, or homeless individuals, will be selected from the CRS list based on factors such as date of application, vulnerability index score, and their total length of homelessness. Anyone can apply for rehousing, ranging from veterans to the disabled or single moms with children.
For those that are qualified, and when funding is available, there may be a combination of emergency rent assistance combined with case management. The city will work with the client in locating permanent supportive housing units across the city of Chicago. It can be a mixture of shelters, transitional housing, or low income apartments.
Once a home has been found, there may be financial aid given to the client. This can help them pay for moving costs or the connection fees for their water or electrical service. Rental or security deposits can be covered, as well as a portion of application fees or moving costs. In some cases the C agencies that are part of the Central Referral System will issue a loan to the client, so the money will need to be repair. All of this support from the CRS is combined with short-term support.
Clients of this rapid rehousing service will also need agree to take many steps towards self-sufficiency. There will be steps taken to help them rebuild their credit or budget properly. Tenants will also need to both pay a portion of their income for their rent, and save an amount of it is as well. So the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing programs in Chicago just do not freely give out money, but rather they work to break the cycle of homeless and/or evictions.
Residents of Chicago should dial (312) 744-5000 to reach the Central Referral System. When put into contact with a call center specialist, they should ask for short term assistance and explain their housing situation at that time.
There is also a Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing program for residents that live outside the city limits, that are in the greater Cook County area. These tenants using this service also need to be either in imminent danger of being eviction or currently homeless.
There can be many reasons for an eviction. They range from an individual having heat turned off during the winter (which makes a home inhospitable) to have a rent arrears or maybe the home or apartment needs repairs that the landlord won't make. Other reasons for an eviction being served to a tenant can include having too many people living in the home, or maybe it is in an unsafe neighborhood. In any case, the Homeless Prevention Service may help.
A call center has been set up that tenants can access. This will provide information on many different programs that either may help them stop an eviction or be rehoused (as soon as possible) into some form of short term lodging or shelter. Note the demand is high, resources are limited, and much of the aid is the result of referrals to other agencies in Cook County.
Other support may also be offered. In some cases the Cook County system and the agencies will partner with CRS in en effort to find a permanent home in the region. As sometimes a new property may be in the city or county. Or some charities are based in multiple areas and they too can offer financial aid for housing or rent expenses.
The Homelessness Prevention Call Center in Cook County Illinois is mostly a referral service. A specialist will listen to the challenges being faced by the individual and try to direct them to some agency or charity that can help. While not everyone can be assisted, there are definitely instances in which a Cook County family has either had their eviction prevention or they were quickly placed into a new home. The main phone number is (877) 426-6515.
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