CHICAGO — One-thousand people who have experienced homelessness and other personal challenges in Chicago and suburban Cook County now have permanent and supportive housing.  

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and health and housing leaders celebrated the success of the flexible housing pool program Wednesday.

Of the program’s participants:

  • 60% of the adult are identified as having a serious mental illness.
  • 70% of adults and 21% of youth have experienced substance abuse disorders.
  • 38% of adults and 23% of youth had run-ins with the law.

“Today we celebrate the placement of 1000 residents into permanent supportive housing,” Preckwinkle said.

Proponents of the program say it is working as intended.

“Several years ago, the National Coalition for the Homeless pointed out that homelessness in healthcare are interwoven,” Preckwinkle said. “Poor health is the cause and the result of homelessness.”

The funding comes from the city and Cook County through some public funds but also a large amount of the private sector through various foundations.  The housing units are spread throughout the area.
The objective is to decrease people using emergency services and hospitalizations and instead connect people to stable housing and services specializing in mental health and substance abuse.

 In the city, 70% of people experiencing homelessness are disproportionately Black while comprising 30% of the population.

Dr. Keiki Hinami is with the County health department and says that often homelessness and mental illness are connected. Mental illness often leads to people self-medicating themselves through drugs.

“Stable housing is showing to be more equitable way through the crisis resources that we have,” Hinami said.

The Flexible Housing Pool also works directly landlords to guaranteed on-time rental payments.