The Salvation Army has partnered with the City of Chicago to create the area’s first rapid-response emergency homeless assessment and response center to provide families facing homelessness personalized service and support. The new facility – The Shield of Hope – is an integral part of Mayor Emanuel’s “Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone,” which is a broad-ranging plan to end homelessness in Chicago.
“EHARC (The Shield of Hope facility) is perhaps the most important thing that has happened to propel the City of Chicago’s plan to end homelessness forward,” said Alisa Rodriguez, Deputy Commissioner of Homeless Programs for the DFSS. “It will transform how we serve homeless families in Chicago.”
The Shield of Hope, which will be located across from the Army’s Freedom Center campus in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood, will provide families in crisis an assessment, compassionate support, and a referral to the shelter program that best meets their immediate needs, including living with family or friends, in a shelter or other temporary arrangement. The Shield of Hope facility will be able to provide shelter for as many as 75 family members for those unable to find shelter elsewhere.
The Shield of Hope provides:
- 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms
- Laundry room
- Life skills training
- Support services
- Assistance obtaining permanent housing
Families staying at the Shield of Hope will also have access to an array of services at the Freedom Center:
- Social service programs
- Recreational and educational classes for children
- Nutritious meals and snacks
- Job training
- Treatment for substance abuse
- and much more
“We are committed to providing these essential services to residents of Chicago who are most at-risk and in need. The Salvation Army has been committed to serving Chicago for more than 125 years, and with each passing year, this commitment grows stronger” says Lt. Colonel Charles Smith, Salvation Army Metropolitan Divisional Commander. “The City of Chicago and specifically DFSS have been key partners with us for many years. We are ready and prepared to continuing serving those in need while ensuring they also have the dignity and receive more holistic services.”
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The Salvation Army and City of Chicago expect to break ground on the new facility in the late spring or early summer of 2017.
The Shield of Hope is the newest service under the Army’s Bed and Bread programs , which are designed to meet the needs of individuals and families facing hunger and shelter instability. The Bed and Bread programs help those who are most vulnerable access emergency shelter, groceries, nutritious meals, and utility and rent payments in order to stay in their homes.
The funding for the construction of Shield of Hope has been provided by an anonymous gift, but funding is needed to support the ongoing support services critical to helping families achieve and maintain stability.
For more information on The Shield of Hope and how you can help, visit our Bed and Bread website or call 773.205.3505.