Facing Forward

Who We Serve

We reach out to people who meet the highest standards of vulnerability. Our program serves people who are chronically homeless and who have a disability. The majority of households that we serve are women and families. Our clients are strong, resilient and committed.
Unfortunately, there is a long wait for permanent housing with supportive services. There is much more need in Chicago than we can currently serve. According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, 65,611 Chicagoans experienced homelessness in 2020, including over 18,500 children (Illinois State of Homelessness Report 2022). The more capacity we build today, the more people we can serve tomorrow.

Programs & Services

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

Our most longstanding program, Permanent Supportive Housing, provides long-term, stable housing with no barriers to entry and no predetermined end date.

PSH serves neighbors with a history of chronic homelessness and disabling conditions and pairs comprehensive case management services and stable housing with no pre-determined end date.

We work with clients and over 100 community partners to build a unique portfolio of supportive services that improve mental and physical health and create opportunities for education and employment.

In addition to ending cycles of homelessness, PSH is also a smart policy that saves taxpayers $10+ million per year by reducing frequent encounters with emergency rooms, jails, and shelters (1).

657 individuals served in FY22, 282 of which were children

1. Cost savings calculated using United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’ estimate of $36,000 total annual costs per person for someone who is experiencing chronic homelessness, compared w/estimated $12,000+ in savings for someone in our PSH program.

Innovative Programs for Families

First Foundations & Home Connections

Designed to extend beyond federally-funded program eligibility, our programs target families with children and pregnant people experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

First Foundations - This rapid re-housing pilot program serves families with expectant mothers and children under 3 who are experiencing housing instability. By providing two years of rental assistance and supportive services, we can prevent homelessness and improve health and life outcomes for the whole family.

Home Connection - Partnering with Chicago Public Schools, Facing Forward provides housing-focused case management to help students and their families who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

307 individuals served in FY22

System Navigation

Skilled Assessors, Housing Navigation, & Housing Location

Regardless of your housing status, obtaining official documents, making appointments, applying for affordable housing and public benefits, and planning a move can be daunting.

facing Forward provides outreach, assessment, and support to connect families and individuals experiencing homelessness and/or fleeing domestic violence & human trafficking to stable housing. We partner with local shelters, street outreach teams, and housing providers to help eliminate barriers to permanent housing opportunities. We provide guidance and support through the housing process while helping clients access resources for health and basic needs.

1,237 individuals served in FY22

COVID-19 Response

Housing Liaisons

As part of Chicago’s COVID-19 Expedited Housing Initiative, Facing Forward worked to rapidly move the highest risk households out of congregate shelter and into stable housing.

Offering one-stop moving events, our clients were able to virtually upload documentation, view apartments, and select gently used furniture.

845 individuals served in FY22

Our Approach

Facing Forward to End Homelessness is guided by five central models of care:

Housing First is an effective and long-term solution to chronic homelessness. It stems from the fact that individuals must have basic needs, such as food and shelter, met before they can address the root causes and intergenerational effects of chronic homelessness. When a home is paired with skilled and compassionate services, clients can face forward toward emerging dreams and possibilities.

Housing First:
  • Places individuals in permanent housing as quickly as possible without requiring “housing readiness,” allowing us to serve the city’s most vulnerable populations;
  • Offers completely voluntary wraparound services with a dedicated case manager: e.g. mental, behavioral, medical
  • Allows flexibility in meeting clients’ needs, and prioritizes client choice in both housing selection and supportive service participation, giving the client the opportunity to lead their journey to self-sufficiency.

Our case managers approach every client with the understanding that by providing housing, we are reducing harm. We seek to continue increasing our clients’ safety and reduce the harm of risky behavior by encouraging open, honest and non-judgmental communication.

We meet clients where they are. Rather than set up barriers to needed help, Harm Reduction pairs with Housing First to generate an environment set up for success. We help clients meet their individual goals, which are on a continuum. Change does not occur overnight. We celebrate and encourage every success, and reducing harm is our first and most essential goal.

Most individuals who have experienced homelessness have also experienced one or more types of trauma. Trauma affects how we see the world and how we interact with other people.

Our program creates a safe place for healing from trauma, where our clients are supported in making their own choices and regaining control of their lives at their own pace. We do not require that clients disclose what they have experienced until they are ready.

We do not ask, “what’s wrong with this person?”

Instead, we ask, “what has this person triumphantly survived?”

We build service plans in collaboration with our clients to enhance their natural strengths, resources and preferences. All of our programs are client directed—we believe our clients are experts in their own lives.

Addressing needs and creating opportunities for children and youth allows us to end generational cycles of homelessness and promote long-term stability for entire families in our program.

Case managers work hand in hand with our Health Services and Youth Services staff to ensure children are on a solid developmental path and that young adults have equal access to academic and employment opportunities available to their peers.

Through these supports, each person we serve has a stable foundation for personal growth, and each young person impacted by homelessness has the opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential in adulthood.

Annual Reports

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2021 Annual Report

PDF of our 2021 Annual Report
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2018 Annual Report

PDF of our 2018 Annual Report
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2020 Annual Report

PDF of our 2020 Annual Report
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2017 Annual Report

PDF of our 2017 Annual Report
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2019 Annual Report

PDF of our 2019 Annual Report
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