Facing Forward

Who We Serve

Facing Forward to End Homelessness partners with families and individuals in Chicago who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. We provide long-term, stable housing and connections to critical services and resources aimed at improving: Housing stability and life skills, mental and physical health, and education and employment opportunities.
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.

Last year, Facing Forward served over 3,000 children and adults in 4 key program areas:

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

Facing Forward’s longest-running program is an evidence-based model for ending homelessness.


Based on Housing First principles, we connect families and individuals with a history of chronic homelessness and disabling conditions with long-term, stable housing with no predetermined end date.

We partner with our clients to help build stability, establish goals, and grow in self-sufficiency and agency.

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

Designed to address gaps in federally funded housing supports, our innovative Two-Generation programs target the housing, health, and well-being needs of families with children and expecting parents.


First Foundations - This rapid re-housing pilot program serves families with an expectant parent or a child three years old or younger who are experiencing, or are at imminent risk of, homelessness. Families in the First Foundations program receive housing location services, rental subsidy for two years, and comprehensive case management for children and adults, following the Two-Generation model. Facing Forward provides targeted supportive services such as employment assistance, parenting supports, and connections to healthcare and doula services, with the goal of helping families to move on from the program to permanent housing.

17 families served in FY22.


Home Connection - Partnering with Chicago Public Schools and University of Chicago Urban Labs, Facing Forward provides housing-focused case management to help students and their families who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Our Family Empowerment Team provides additional targeted services to promote healthy development and academic success for children and youth in each household.

253 individuals served in FY22.


System Navigation

Facing Forward provides guidance and support at all stages of the housing process while helping clients access resources for immediate health concerns and basic needs.


Skilled Assessment - In partnership with local shelters, Facing Forward conducts one-time assessments focused on housing needs and vulnerability. We help clients enter Chicago’s housing services wait list and connect them to critical resources through referrals to service providers in the community.

Our Skilled Assessors completed housing assessments for 1,036 individuals in both English and Spanish in FY22.


Housing Location - In partnership with local domestic violence agencies, Facing Forward quickly identifies and connects survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking with safe, stable housing to prevent or end experiences of homelessness and provide a foundation for healing.

77 individuals served in FY22.


Housing Navigation - Facing Forward provides short-term case management services to help unstably housed families and individuals access appropriate long-term housing opportunities. We provide guidance and support through the entire housing process, including obtaining documents, attending appointments, reviewing lease agreements, and physically moving

124 individuals served in FY22.


COVID-19 Response

Facing Forward plays key role in Chicago’s COVID-19 Expedited Housing Initiative.

Facing Forward has partnered with All Chicago and other homeless services agencies from Chicago’s Continuum of Care to rapidly move high-risk households out of congregate shelters and into stable housing through the Expedited Housing Initiative.

Facing Forward supported the initiative’s Accelerated Moving Events to quickly help clients move through all steps to identify and connect with stable housing. During these one-stop moving events, clients uploaded documentation for housing applications, viewed apartments, and selected gently used furniture for their new homes.

845 individuals housed 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 build stability in other areas of their lives and address the inter-generational 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 others – it can be a cause and result of homelessness.

Facing Forward creates a safe and supportive place for healing from trauma, where clients are supported in making their own choices and regaining control of their lives at their own pace.

We all possess unique traits that help us grow and move along our journeys.

Facing Forward works with clients to identify their assets and build service plans that enhance their natural strengths, resources, and preferences while addressing vulnerabilities or weaknesses.

All of our programs are client directed as 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 Family Empowerment Team 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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2022 Annual Report

PDF of our 2022 Annual Report
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2019 Annual Report

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2021 Annual Report

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2018 Annual Report

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2020 Annual Report

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2017 Annual Report

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