Connections for the Homeless housing programs.

A number of housing programs are run by Connections for the Homeless. This is a Cook County non-profit that can both help prevent homelessness by offering financial help, and they also try to rehouse people using the Permanent Supportive Housing solution and more. There is assistance for single parents, seniors and the working poor, and much of it is also provided with resources from the Education Services Department.

The Eviction and Homelessness Prevention Program assists low income Cook County households. The applicant needs to have a pay or quite notice, and be facing imminent eviction due to arrearages in rent or utility payments.

There are several parts to this. They help people become self-sufficient by providing guidance as they work to stabilize their current situation. Staff also offer education and advice in regard to managing their finances as they move forward.

Initial assistance is typically in the form of temporary financial support for rental expenses. Case managers then help them become stabilized via intensive, client-centered support that combines workshops with one-on-one counseling. The Connections for the Homeless Case managers and their clients work together to create detailed outcome plans that include specific steps to solve the problems that have brought clients to the point of crisis.

The Homeless’ Re-Housing Service will help people find, and move into, affordable housing on the North Shore area of Cook County. Connections for the Homeless’ provides assistance for homeless individuals who are searching for appropriate, stable housing. It is a key goal to accomplish this task as rapidly as possible.

Based on available funding, the non-profit may be able to provide financial support for security deposits or first months rent. They will try to help participants find subsidies or enter long-term housing that is subsidized, or find some type of other solutions to their needs.

Hilda’s Place is for single men and women who are in the process of finding suitable permanent housing. The location is a short term, transitional shelter. Hilda’s Place can accommodate dozens of people before they move into long-term housing.




The Permanent Supportive Housing Program offers ongoing case management and other advice to clients who have been chronically homeless in the past. This resource will help people with serious physical disabilities or mental illnesses. The purpose of this program is to provide them with stability and support to help them manage these issues. In addition, child advocacy services are also available for families headed by an adult with a disability.

While finding some type of job with a high enough income to pay the bills is a challenge for nearly anyone, it’s much more of a challenge for those who are considered difficult to employ, such as the less educated. It is also a struggle for people recently been released from prison, substance abusers, or individuals who are dealing with mental illness. To help in this capacity, the Employment Program is set up to help clients maximize their skills, training, talents, and knowledge, in order to find gainful employment.

Job Readiness Training is for the unemployed and underemployed in the area. This workshop will focus on individuals who are preparing to enter the job market and go to work, and it is also a supplement to those provided through the local WorkNet.

Staff will meet with clients to ensure they have discovered and learned to use their core strengths to their advantage as they navigate the difficult job-search environment in Illinois. The workshop covers the process of looking for work, resume development, presents an overview of the employment process, interviewing, interpersonal skills, and gives people the opportunity to participate in role-playing and mock interviews.

Case Management is a form of individualized support as clients look for work and prepare to be successful at their new job. The process begins with an assessment of the client’s barriers to employment, and then determines the most effective ways to overcome them. Specific services from Connections for the Homeless include assistance with transportation to interviews, childcare, and clothing for interviews and work.

Job Clubs and Developments is ongoing support for job seekers or the newly employed. Clients have the opportunity to meet each week to support each other, share frustrations and successes, and strategize on issues they all face. They also develop relationships with local employers to help clients find full-time employment.





The Education Services Department of Connections for the Homeless provides an opportunity to learn skills within a career pathway. The goal is to prepare clients for being successful as wage-earners as well as enhance employability.

A Career Assessment will take place. As part of this, staff assesses each individual’s educational level as part of pre-enrollment. If necessary, the staff will provide refresher instruction. Training and Education will help clients in developing career goals and determining an appropriate course of study, based in part on the results of the client’s career exploration activities.

Connections for the Homeless provides financial assistance and supportive services, such as gasoline vouchers for an interview or clothing. This is done in exchange for client commitment to working toward achieving program milestones related to employment, education and housing. This then leads to eventual direct assistance with finding a part-time job for those who are currently unemployed, to help cover expenses and build a resume. Staff members from the agency provide ongoing job-search assistance.

Medical needs are met by the Health Services Department from Connections. The agency keeps a part-time nurse and support staff. There is also a team of volunteer doctors on staff to provide examinations, routine screenings and basic medical care. If necessary, Health Services also provides referrals to other medical professionals. Some of the care from the clinic includes Medication Management, Free TB Testing or Flu Shots, Screening, Referral and Counseling: Psychiatric, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, and information to Financial Assistance in Paying for Medications.




All of the programs above are supplemented with continuous case management services, beginning with a client’s initial phone call. All requests will first go through the EntryPoint Drop-In Program. Case management ends after the person has have reached the fullest level of independence possible. In addition, Health Services also serve as a supplement to their programs, since illness or injury can easily derail any progress made toward self-sufficiency. In fact, excessive medical bills are often at the root of homelessness.

The EntryPoint Drop-In Program is located in the Chicago Avenue facility. Clients of Connections for the Homeless have access to the following, at no cost. There is Toiletries, free Clothing, Clinical and Recreational Workshops, use of phones and computers, and other support.

Connections for the Homeless has a few offices in Cook County. They include 2121 Dewey Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201, (call 847-475-7070) as well as 1458 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois 60201, and dial 847-424-0945.


By Jon McNamara

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