Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The increasing need for services for homeless men

Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun Times reported today that the New Ritz Hotel at 1007 S. State will be closing soon, displacing the 110 men who have been paying $15/night or $210/month to live there. These men will not have many options for housing. The city is in the process of reducing the number of emergency shelter beds, opting to focus on developing permanent affordable housing instead. My concern is that the shelters and flop houses are closing before there are enough affordable units to take their place and that there are not enough supportive service dollars being allocated to ensure the ongoing success of the formerly homeless residents who are housed.

This makes our work at Breakthrough with men especially important right now. We are rehabbing a facility which will provide interim housing for thirty men while they are getting the counseling and employment training they need to get back on their feet.

We can sit and howl at the darkness or we can get up and do something about it. We still need to raise a million dollars for the building. It's an opportunity to step up to the challenge.

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