Homelessness task force to start work

The mayor’s task force on homelessness is scheduled to start work Friday in Evanston, just as the federal government announced the renewal of nearly $1 million in funding for 11 programs for the homeless in the city.

The task force, appointed by Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, includes government business, civic, service, education and faith-based leaders in the community.

“In recent years, Evanston has seen a rise in the number of people who are homeless or precariously housed, including more families with children,” Tisdahl said in a statement. “The cost to individuals and our community is enormous. This task force, comprising a wide range of people, knowledge and skills, is taking on the challenge of formulating a plan to address it.”

The task force will study the dimensions of the problem and learn about other cities and their plans to tackle homelessness. It will then develop the elements of a plan that will outline strategies to address and prevent homelessness through a community wide effort.

After Fridays 7:30 a.m. meeting in Room 2404 of the Civic Center, the group is expected to meet monthly for about seven months to develop a plan for presentation to the City Council.

The mayor says task force members will then be invited to assist in the implementation of the plan through private and public channels.

In the grant announcement Wednesday, HUD said it will renew funding for Evanston programs including Claire/Ganey, Claridge, Entry Point, Family Housing Evanston, Family Housing Evanston YW, Hilda’s Place, HMIS, Pathways, Pathways Plus, PSH Evanston and PSH Expansion.

The grants are part of a $1.4 billion program aiding the homeless in over 7,000 communities nationwide. HUD officials said  the Continuum of Care grants are designed to reduce long-term or chronic homelessness.

HUD says it will will award additional funds to new projects later this year.  

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