Doug Kenshol

Executive Director of South Suburban PADS and

Co-founder of Illinois Shelter Alliance

*Please note that images have been removed from original presentation to improve accessibility.

Emergency and Transitional Housing

  • South Suburban PADS is working to prevent and end homelessness in south suburban Cook County.
  • Over the past 31 years, the organization has provided shelter and 1.7 million meals to enable 19,000 people to overcome homelessness.
  • Like many agencies throughout the state, prior to the pandemic, South Suburban PADS provided shelter on a rotating basis at places of worship.

An Inadequate Emergency Housing System

The rotating church model is inadequate:

  • Lack of privacy
  • Not dignified
  • Racial inequality: African Americans are 7x as likely to experience homelessness. At SSPADS, 85% of our clients are African American.
  • Stress caused by moving nightly
  • No safe and productive daytime space
  • Inadequate play and study spaces for children
  • Dramatically increased risk for contracting an infectious disease such as Covid-19
  • No longer possible: 76% of former church sites are unwilling to reopen

Pandemic Response

  • Temporary COVID recovery funding is being utilized to pay for approximately 1,600 hotel beds.
  • Hotel-based shelter has improved client outcomes and provided an efficient platform for rehousing.
  • 1,600 hotel shelter beds are at risk and will be lost in 2024 as ARPA funding winds down.
  • This crisis is further exacerbated by severe shortage. Shelters are full everywhere and over 10,000 people are turned away annually. UHDA estimates the unmet need is 4,640 additional emergency shelter beds statewide.

The shortage of Beds Will Result in Needless Death

Homeless deaths have increased 70% over five years in 20 metro regions across the country.

The Shortage of Beds Contributes to Other Costs

  • Unnecessary illness
  • Unnecessary medical costs (often paid by taxpayers because of a lack of private insurance). It costs $20,000 per patient to treat flu and pneumonia in a hospital. It costs $236,000 to amputate fingers or toes as a result of frostbite.
  • Increased emergency services picking up at-risk individuals and transporting them to warming centers.
  • Increased congestion in police station and emergency room waiting room used in place of shelter.
  • Growing outdoor encampments creating garbage, hygiene, and public health risks.
  • Poor academic performance by school children and low college graduation rates dues to instability.

Illinois Shelter Alliance

  • The Illinois Shelter Alliance (ISA) is a coalition of 50+ emergency shelter and transitional housing agencies advocating for a more dignified, supportive and effective crisis housing system in Illinois. The members are made up entirely of emergency shelter and crisis housing agencies except for the Supportive Housing Providers Association, and Suburban Alliance to End Homelessness. The group exists to provide peer sharing/training, promote best practices, and to coordinate shared advocacy. ISA in not incorporated, has no budget, and no staff.
  • A recent ISA survey documents that 1,600 existing shelter beds could be lost in 2024 as federal ARPA funding ends. ISA member report that 76% of churches that previously offered donated basement and gym spaces are no longer willing to host shelter due to closures, declining membership and COVID-19 concerns.
  • The severe shortage of emergency beds for people in crisis is also being exacerbated by current economic conditions. Agencies are struggling to pay competitive wages to retain and recruit qualified staff in the current labor market, as well as dealing with higher operating costs due to inflation.

FY24 Emergency and Transitional Housing Budget Increase

  • $51 million increase for Illinois Department of Human Services' Emergency and Transitional Housing (ETH) Program (increase from 10.38 million to $61.38 million)
  • The ETH Program has long been underfunded - taking inflation into account, state funding for the ETH Program is only half what it was 20 years ago. The program currently contributes only 5 - 7% of the funding needed to sustain the statewide crisis housing system.
  • There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a more humane and effective crisis housing system using federal resources available from the American Rescue Plan Act and CARES Act to help acquire and develop non-congregate shelters in former hotels and other sites. Increased ETH funding from the state is crucial to provide the operating and service funding necessary to make use of the federal funds.
  • ISA estimated that the requested increased ETH funding in the FY24 state budget would save 1,600 at-risk beds and create up to 3,00 new shelter beds in a variety of settings, such as hotels, congregate shelters and non-congregate shelters.

Statewide Response to Ending Homelessness

Eviction Prevention & Homelessness Diversion

(Emergency Shelter & Crisis Housing)

Safe & Stable Housing Placement

Prevent homelessness whenever possible, provide crisis housing whenever needed, and prioritize permanent housing

FY24 State Budget Increases to End and Prevent Homelessness

  • Emergency and Transitional Housing Program: $61M
  • Supportive Housing Program: $60M
  • Homeless Prevention Program: $16M
  • Homeless Youth Program: $13.4M

Current support

  • Over 100 organizations from around the state have signed a letter encouraging Governor Pritzker to include $61M (a $51M increase) in Emergency and transitional Housing Program in his FY24 Budget Proposal
  • Support letter:
  • Supporters include the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Cook County, Housing Authority of Cook County, All Chicago, Suburban Alliance to End Homelessness, Housing Action Illinois, Supportive Housing Providers Association, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Illinois Shelter Alliance, and many others.