Mayor Richard Daley

Coordinated Strategy to Prevent Homelessness

Description of Program

The Chicago Department of Human Services currently supports the Young Men. s Christian Association (YMCA) of Metropolitan Chicago program titled, "Life Development Center". The Life Development Center provides a coordinated model of case management to a highly vulnerable population: homeless, formerly homeless and those at-risk of being homeless. The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago improves the quality of life for individuals and communities. This is accomplished through the provision of housing in conjunction with the utilization of a coordinated model of case management. The selected model of case management complements the agency. s "progressive independence" service delivery system. The Life Development Center has six operating domains of services: Case management, medical treatment, vocational development, psychiatric services, substance abuse counseling and socialization activities.

The program is housed out of five different facilities and provides affordable housing to 1,533 men and women. The facilities have been transformed from traditional hotel models into more permanent supportive housing facilities. Services provided can be accessed by any client regardless of which facility they are housed in. However, each facility addresses the needs of special populations within their respective communities. For example, the Lawson House facility houses a Northwestern Memorial Hospital -Stone Institute of psychiatry service center. The on-site program staff provide certified addictions counseling and psychiatric counseling to assist clients in confronting conditions which impede recovery and independent living. Consequently, clients exhibiting the greatest need for such services would be referred to this facility.

Additionally, the Lawson facility houses the "Career Keys" program which assists clients in the search for employment, as well as, educational services. Due to the expansion of this program, employment counselor are dispatched throughout the five facilities for job readiness workshops. Clients who need to sharpen their interview skills and polish up their resumes will have an opportunity to do so through the Career Keys Outreach team.

When and Why Created

Built in 1931, through a bequest from the prominent civic leader Victor F. Lawson, the 25 floor building was the creation of skilled craftsmen and artisans who were unemployed. While the Lawson House-YMCA has adapted over the years to meet the needs of a changing society, its primary mission of providing safe, affordable housing has remained. In order to accomplish this mission, the organization realized that they must also provide social services to help rebuild the lives of its residents. This has been facilitated through a wide array of social services. More specifically, the "Life Development Center/Program" evolved in the early 1990's as an extension of the existing array of social services.

Measurements for Effectiveness

The program. s effectiveness is measured by the number of clients that gain independence and are stabilized. This is monitored by the program director and licensed clinical social workers. The indicated staff members systematically evaluate the following items to determine program/client accomplishments: Individual client files, referral/response forms, staff reports on client progress and referral source information regarding client status.

Financing of Program

The Program is supported through resources derived from the following sources: City of Chicago funds, Department of Housing and Urban Development funds, and private funds generated through the agency. s annual fundraising campaign.

Linkages to City Government

The YMCA has established a dual relationship with the City of Chicago. First, the agency joined service provision efforts with the Chicago Department of Housing. The resulting action was the support of 186 housing units, in four facilities, to house the homeless. Second, the agency secured support from the Chicago Department of Human Services to provide social services through the "Life Development Center", to the homeless clients housed in the aforementioned facilities. The collaborative effort established between the two City Departments and the YMCA has served to create a self-contained seamless system of care.

Contact Persons: Tino Mantella, Executive Director YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago 755 West North Avenue Chicago , Illinois 60610 Telephone: (312) 280-3400 John Heumann, Project Director: Life Development Center  30 West Chicago Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60610 Telephone: (312) 944-6211 

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.