What are we doing on the Far NW side for the long-time homeless … submitted by State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe
Editor’s note: The following is submitted from state Representative Lindsey LaPointe (D-19), who has worked as a social worker helping the homeless. She said that she compiled the information because many are asking what is being done to help the long-time unsheltered people on the Far NW Side, as the city struggles to find shelter space for the large influx of asylum seekers coming to Chicago.
Most believe that police stations are inappropriate places for both long-time homeless neighbors and also new arrivals to take shelter or wait for shelter. Further, the far NWS of Chicago has few human services with even less support for people who experience homelessness. Some leaders – both governmental and grassroots – have been advocating for more resources while simultaneously providing ongoing direct service support to our long-time homeless neighbors. A few examples:
- In the spring of 2023, state lawmakers are advocating for a long overdue increase to the Emergency Transitional Housing line in the state budget, with the goal to increase shelter access as there are an estimated 4500 people in Illinois who want shelter every night, but cannot access it.
- In the spring of 2023, state lawmakers from the far NWS are advocating for targeted state funds to the area for outreach and case management for our homeless neighbors.
- Upon news that $60M in federal funds is coming to Chicago to support the homeless in mid to late 2023, far NWS leaders are advocating for targeted resources for our area.
In terms of direct service support:
- NWS Chicago Homeless Outreach works to support people experiencing homelessness with resources for stability, system navigation, and advocacy for city-wide resources to target the far NWS.
- A strong social media-driven mutual aid network coordinates support and shares resources for our homeless neighbors.
- Local resources open to everyone serve our homeless neighbors too, offering socialization and resource connection, including the Irving Park YMCA, Portage Park Senior Center, Public Libraries, and the Parks District.
- Local state lawmaker district offices connect homeless neighbors to state resources such as SNAP, Medicaid, IDs, and RTA Ride Free Card applications.
On the far NWS and citywide, it is possible to support both our new arrivals and also our longtime homeless neighbors. On homelessness, never hesitate to contact your elected officials at any level of government to share your thoughts on supporting our long-time homeless.