President Preckwinkle Announces $100,000 Grant to Support Housing Forward

Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Commissioner Brandon Johnson, IL Senate President Don Harmon Representative Camille Lilly and Oak Park President Vicki Scaman and Housing Forward Executive Director Lynda Schueler to announce a $100,000 grant through Cook County’s Justice Advisory Council (JAC) to support non-profit Housing Forward’s work on Cook County’s west side. The grant is a part of a $1.5 million investment to community-based organizations through the JAC aimed at creating stable and thriving communities throughout Cook County.

“We must invest in people and our communities if we hope to see positive change in our neighborhoods. This approach has the power to transform Cook County communities affected by an array of destabilizing factors, including housing instability, unemployment, mental health and crime,” said President Preckwinkle. “Housing is a critical piece of the puzzle in this regard – we believe housing is a human right and today, we are taking another step in ensuring that everyone has a safe, stable place to lay their head at night.”

With offices in Oak Park and Maywood, Housing Forward is a recognized leader in suburban Cook County offering a coordinated response that allows people experiencing a housing crisis to rapidly reach resolutions.

“Our mission at Housing Forward is to transition people from housing crisis to housing stability. This means meeting our clients where they are in that moment of crisis and tailoring solutions to their specific needs,” said Executive Director Lynda Schueler. “The supplemental funding provided by the JAC supports that critical mission and provides us with the space, capacity and flexibility to reach those goals.”

The JAC grant will provide supplemental funding to support Housing Forward's array of programs including comprehensive, wrap-around support for individuals facing housing instability, from the onset of a financial or housing crisis to its resolution, preventing homelessness whenever possible, and providing permanent, stable housing for residents. Each year, Housing Forward assists nearly 2,000 individuals and families, including keeping 450 formerly homeless individuals and families stably housed and mitigating a housing crisis for over 800 of the most vulnerable members of the Cook County community.

"Affordable, stable housing is the lynchpin to thriving communities, especially in my district where so many of our Black and Brown families also struggle with unemployment, food insecurity and health care disparities," Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson said. "I'm pleased the Justice Advisory Council has chosen to invest in Housing Forward's work and to target this investment to the communities most in need. I look forward to working together as we address the problems of homelessness and housing instability in the 1st district and across the county. "

Since 2015, the JAC has made 325 grants to community organizations totaling $45 million in programming. These programs, which include on-the-street violence-interruption, job training, and mental health counseling, among other services, aim to ensure that those at the highest risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system are prevented from doing so.

“This grant is a tremendous starting point for rebuilding lives and communities. The simple truth is that if you want solutions, you have to invest resources and provide opportunities to solve the problems. That is finally starting to happen,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon.

The $1.5 million investment is a precursor to Cook County’s overarching strategy aimed at reimagining public safety and criminal justice. Combined with other equity-focused initiatives, the County will invest roughly $120 million in FY21 and FY22 with the advice of the Equity Fund Taskforce, a 50-member group including representatives from other Cook County agencies, advocates, community-based organizations, and philanthropic, civic, and academic institutions.

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