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Edgewater’s Homeless ‘Foster Kids’ Begin To Be Relocated Under New City Program

Photo: Mark Brown/Sun-Times

They have shelter, of sorts.

The group of men and women who call themselves the “Foster Kids” live in thin tents on sidewalks under the Foster Avenue viaduct below North Lake Shore Drive.

With two other small homeless communities also under the viaducts at Lawrence and Wilson avenues, the City of Chicago has begun to try to relocate and find homes for these men and women who are exposed to the elements.

In the last two weeks, according to 5NBC Chicago, four homeless people living in these areas under the viaducts have been matched with real homes. More placements are expected.

Edgewater has seen an increase in the number of people living in encampments on Foster Avenue, and the increase has also been seen under other city viaducts and in other areas of the public way, as well.

The city’s new pilot program will identify rental subsidies and aid opportunities for residents across the city who have experienced chronic homelessness, according to an April press release from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

Those who are homeless continuously for at least 12 months or on at least four separate occasions in the last three years are considered chronically homeless and are eligible to participate in the program.

Rental subsidies will be provided by the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, and some existing Permanent Support Housing providers to assist the chronically homeless, specifically those who regularly sleep outside. The Department of Family and Support Services’ delegate agencies will lead the placement of eligible residents.

“The City’s commitment to engaging stakeholders, including residents of the encampments, in planning and decision-making makes us hopeful for this pilot,” Doug Schenkelberg, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said in the press release. “This process is in line with federal guidance on ending homelessness for those living in encampments and is a good first step to an adequately resourced systemic solution.”


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