Chicago, Illinois


Best Practice | August 11, 2006

Plan: Getting Housed, Staying Housed: A Collaborative Plan to End Homelessness


Goal/ Timeframe: To end all homelessness in the city by 2012

Development Process

The collaborative planning process was coordinated and facilitated by a governing board, which was designated by the Chicago Continuum of Care to oversee both the plan's development and execution. The Governing Board consists of members representing every type of organization that can help end homelessness in Chicago, including homeless service providers, consumers, and advocates; city, county, and state agencies; and business and foundation leaders. The development of the plan took place over a twenty-two-month period, ending in November 2002.


The governing board has adopted the plan, and city agencies and nonprofit service providers alike are implementing its strategies. Furthermore, Mayor Richard Daley has endorsed it, and all City departments have it as part of their charge to ensure its success.

Level of Detail

Includes major strategies, five-year initiatives, and initial action steps.


  • Implementing a homeless management information system to assess families in crisis, identify permanent housing resources, and track the use of services, as well as provide data by which to evaluate the success of the entire system.
  • Constructing a prevention and response system infrastructure that will facilitate access to prevention, housing and supportive service resources for both people at risk of losing their housing and people leaving institutional care.
  • Implementing a housing first approach that helps people back into permanent housing as quickly as possible, then links them with mainstream service to support them in maintaining their new housing and achieving self-sufficiency.
  • Transitioning the current homeless shelter system into an interim housing system that facilitates rapid access to permanent housing with appropriate supports.
  • Expanding permanent housing resources, with a mix of rent subsidies, scattered site housing and project-based permanent supportive housing units.
  • Strengthening community connectedness through linkages to employment and community resources.

Implementation Update

In January 2004, the Chicago Continuum of Care adopted an implementation blueprint along with program models, which together define the needs and goals across the system and set the pace and specific guidelines for individual providers to proceed.

At close to the same time, the Parnership to End Homelessness, a coalition of 80 agencies serving homeless people in Chicago, released the results of a citywide survey assessing the progress of individual providers in making program-level changes to comply with the plan.