Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center has received a $90,000 county grant to set up a drop-in center for the homeless in Skokie that will also serve Evanston and other nearby communities.

Turning Point officials say they will partner with Evanston-based Connections for the Homeless and the Northfield-based New Foundation Center to create the facility that will provide a wide range of social services to the homeless, veterans, and ex-offenders in the area.

The center will be located at Turning Point’s headquarters at 8324 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie.

“Many members of the homeless population have multiple challenges facing them, from mental illness to lack of training and education and physical health ailments,” Turning Point CEO Ann Fisher Raney said in a statement. “We hope this facility will make it easier for people to get connected with the services they need to gain a better footing.”

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin said he is pleased that Turning Point’s new facility will help the homeless population in the suburbs have a better quality of life.

“Turning Point and its partners are well-respected leaders whose program design will improve the quality of life for many in our communities,” Suffredin said.

The grant approved by the county comes from community development block grant funds distributed to communities by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund projects designed to help low- and middle-income communities, by doing things such as reducing blight, providing for affordable housing or providing economic development.

Renovation work for the project is scheduled to start in January, with the drop-in center scheduled to open by Fall 2015.

The 3,500 square-foot drop-in facility will include offices where health providers and others can meet one-on-one with clients; a lounge with comfortable couches, refrigerator, microwave; a small laundry room; shower; and computers where the homeless can access the Internet.

Staff members from Connections for the Homeless and New Foundation Center will be available to consult with drop-in visitors, and mental health professionals from Turning Point will be able to provide emergencycounseling.

“By making the facility inviting and non-threatening, we hope to create an environment where members of the homeless population feel comfortable comingin,” Raney says. “We believe this is going to make a huge impact on the lives of so many people in need.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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