Who We Serve

Facing Forward is a Chicago-based nonprofit that partners with families and individuals currently experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. We specialize in providing long-term housing, essential resources, and personalized, family-wide support services that build stability, enhance mental and physical health, and increase access to empowering education and employment opportunities.
According to the latest report by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless published in 2023, 68,440 Chicagoans experienced homelessness in 2021, including over 18,339 children. Homelessness continues to disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx Chicagoans with Black Chicagoans making up 53% of the total population experiencing homelessness and Latinx Chicagoans comprising 30%.

Last year, Facing Forward served nearly 3,000 children and adults in 3 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 contributes to significant cost savings community-wide by reducing reliance on crisis services like shelters, hospitals, and jails.

638 individuals served in FY23, 271 of which were children.


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 expectant parents or children ages three and under who are facing or at risk of homelessness. Our program quickly secures stable,
affordable housing for families and provides two years of rental assistance and comprehensive case management following the Two-Generation model.

Through tailored services such as employment assistance, age-specific support for children, parenting supports, and connections to childcare and family healthcare, we help families build stability and develop the skills necessary to move on from the program and into permanent housing.

19 families/61 individuals served in FY23.


Home Connection - Partnering with Chicago Public Schools and University of Chicago Urban Labs, Facing Forward provides housing-focused case management, short-term financial assistance, and recently added rental assistance for families with students experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Facing Forward’s Family Empowerment Team offers additional, age-specific services to promote healthy development and academic success for children and youth in each household.

139 families/389 individuals served in FY23.


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 1,609 individuals in both English and Spanish in FY23.


Housing Location - In partnership with local agencies committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, Facing Forward quickly identifies and connects survivors to safe, stable housing. This proactive approach not only helps prevent and resolve experiences of homelessness but also fosters a safe and supportive foundation for healing.

30 individuals served in FY23.


Covid-19 Response - Last year, Facing Forward continued to play an integral role in Chicago’s COVID-19 Expedited Housing Initiative. In partnership with All Chicago and other homelessness services agencies from Chicago’s Continuum of Care, we supported Accelerated Moving Events to quickly relocate high-risk households from congregate shelters into stable housing.

During one-stop moving events, clients virtually uploaded documentation for housing applications, viewed apartments, and selected gently used furniture for their new homes.

45 individuals served in FY23.


Our Approach

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

<p>Housing First is an effective and research-backed solution for ending 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. By prioritizing housing as the first step in our client journey, we establish a solid foundation for individuals to overcome challenges and take full advantage of the wraparound supports we offer.</p> <h5>Housing First:</h5> <ul><li>Places individuals in stable, long-term housing as quickly as possible without requiring “housing readiness,” allowing us to serve the city’s most vulnerable populations;</li> <li>Prioritizes client autonomy by actively involving clients in the housing selection process and creating an environment in which clients can set goals and engage in services that align with their needs at their own pace.</li></ul>
<p>Harm Reduction is a compassionate approach to minimizing the negative impact of high-risk behaviors such as substance use. We “meet clients where they are” by building trust and creating an environment free from judgment or preconditions for support.</p> <p>We know that change takes time, so we celebrate and encourage every success, big and small. Reducing harm is our first and most essential goal.</p>
<p>Traumatic experiences are frequently both a cause and consequence of homelessness. These experiences can profoundly influence our perception of the world and our interactions with others. Facing Forward provides a safe environment for healing from trauma, where clients can feel supported in making their own choices and regaining control of their lives.</p>
<p>Facing Forward helps clients identify their inner strengths, external resources, and personal goals. Together, we explore practical ways for clients to leverage assets such as existing skills, supportive relationships, and community ties. This assists them in building stability and making informed choices that align with their preferences and goals.</p>
<p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p>

Annual Reports

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2023 Annual Report

PDF of our FY23 Annual Report
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2019 Annual Report

PDF of our FY19 Annual Report
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2022 Annual Report

PDF of our FY22 Annual Report
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2018 Annual Report

PDF of our FY18 Annual Report
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2021 Annual Report

PDF of our FY21 Annual Report
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2017 Annual Report

PDF of our FY17 Annual Report
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2020 Annual Report

PDF of our FY20 Annual Report
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