Friday, September 2, 2011

'Permanent supportive housing' -Lakefront SRO

 Mush of the credit for the "permanent supportive housing model"  that is now embraced by many homeless advocates can be given to Lakefront SRO and their development work right here in Uptown.  As expressed in the Tribune article 'Permanent supportive housing' model touted as alternative to single-room hotels

It was the mid-80's, and between 1980-1983 Chicago had lost 25% of its Single Room Occupancy housing (according to this study) and there was a growing shortage of housing for singles. 

Douglas Dobmeyer (Director of REST Shelter 1982-85, Executive Director of The Center for Street People 1983-85) noticed the number of  guests of the north side shelters that had been previously residents of SROs.  Douglas Dobmeyer with Jean Butzen, and others started Lakefront SRO to preserve SRO housing in Uptown, Edgewater, and Lakeview, where 36% of the city's remaining SROs where located. 

Lakefront SRO Corporation is a leading developer of single room occupancy (SRO) buildings in Chicago and a nationally recognized leader in providing affordable housing solutions and services for low-income persons, including the homeless, elderly, and handicapped - UIC City Design Center

Lakefront SRO after joining with Mercy Housing headquartered in Denver is now Mercy Housing Lakefront.

What makes the difference in the permanent supportive housing model is in addition to the stability provided by permanent housing there are case workers with each building  that help with budgeting, connecting with other social services and medical care.  Also Employment training is provided and residents are empowered to become active members of the community

excerpts from article

"We feel like these services address people holistically," Kuklinski said. "You're a whole person, you're not just a homeless person. You're a person who's a citizen of your community just like anyone else."

Reflecting how dire the demand for housing is, Mercy Housing Lakefront has waiting lists at all its buildings. When a new building opened in Englewood last year, Kuklinski said, more than 1,000 people applied for the 99 available units.

While the approach used by groups like Mercy Housing Lakefront is more helpful to homeless people in the long term, Kuklinski said the loss of single-room occupancy hotels — no matter their condition — will be felt by many struggling to stay off the streets.

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