3/23/20 - Message to Illinois Continuums of Care (CoCs) - COVID-19 Emergency Lodging Response for Persons Experiencing Homelessness

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

As you know, Governor JB Pritzker issued a Stay at Home Executive Order that went into effect on March 21 at 5:00 p.m. To ensure that all Illinoisans have a safe place to shelter during the COVID-19 emergency, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is making $6 million available throughout the state for emergency lodging (also referred to as isolation housing) for people experiencing homelessness. These flexible funds will be made available through local Continuums of Care (CoCs).

IDHS is working to quickly implement this emergency lodging program (sometimes referred to as isolation housing). IDHS has enlisted All Chicago: Making Homelessness History to expedite the flow of funds by serving as a fiscal agent for this funding stream. CoCs will access funding through All Chicago and work with local service providers to pay for solutions tailored to the unique needs of Illinois communities. Options may include hotels, motels, and other safe and appropriate accommodations.

To ensure continuity of services for persons experiencing homelessness, IDHS is increasing funding to existing Emergency and Transitional Housing, Supportive Housing, and Homeless Prevention providers by 5% to increase capacity during this crisis. This 5% increase is in addition to the $6M committed for emergency lodging.

IDHS will release these funds as quickly as possible, and CoCs are encouraged to begin planning. Issues for consideration include:

  1. A single point of contact within each CoC to communicate with All Chicago;
  2. How to align your emergency lodging plan with other local measures being taken to prepare for and respond to COVID-19;
  3. How you may wish to utilize emergency lodging funds (i.e., hotel vouchers, equipping vacant facilities with necessary furnishings, etc.);
  4. If hotels and motels are part of your lodging plan, how many rooms might be required, and where;
  5. What additional support your CoC might need in order to ensure that all homeless persons are safely lodged during this emergency.

Additional communication to CoCs is forthcoming from All Chicago.