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March 22, 2018

Nation's First Rapid-Response Center for Homeless Opens in Chicago

Shield of Hope Center offers an innovative triage response system.

The Salvation Army partnered with the City of Chicago to create the nation's first emergency homeless assessment and rapid-response center (EHARC) to provide families facing homelessness personalized service and support. The new facility, The Shield of Hope is an integral part of Mayor Emanuel’s “Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone” a broad-ranging, seven-year action plan that builds on Chicago’s original Plan to End Homelessness. In March, The Salvation Army hosted the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting event and began serving some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

“Thanks to our partnership with The Salvation Army, we connect our families with the care they need to return to housing and stability.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

“The City of Chicago stands firm on our commitment to providing shelter and services to those in need, so that no family is forced to sleep on the streets," said Mayor Emanuel. “Thanks to our partnership with The Salvation Army, we will create an innovative triage response system that prevents homelessness whenever possible by connecting our families with the care they need to return to housing and stability.”

The Shield of Hope, which is located across from The Salvation Army’s Freedom Center Campus in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood, provides families in crisis assessment, compassionate support and referral to the program that best meets their immediate needs, including living with family or friends, shelter or other temporary arrangement. The Shield of Hope has 75 beds available for vulnerable families on a nightly basis, and can accommodate up to 125 beds in emergency shelter situations.

The Shield of Hope provides:

  • 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms and personal storage; several rooms connect to accommodate larger families and allow them to remain together
  • Laundry Room
  • Cafeteria
  • Counseling, Support Services, and Life Skills Training
  • Assistance Obtaining Permanent Housing

Families staying at the Shield of Hope will also have access to an array of services at the Freedom Center.

  • Social Service Programs
  • Job Training
  • Recreational and Educational Programs for the Entire Family
  • Nutritious Meals and Snacks
  • Treatment for Substance Abuse

The Shield of Hope is the newest service under The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club® programs, which are designed to meet the needs of individuals and families facing hunger and shelter instability. Members of the Bed & Bread Club also fight poverty by helping those who are most vulnerable access emergency shelter, groceries, nutritious meals, and utility and rent payments in order to stay in their home.

The funding for the construction of The Shield of Hope was provided by an anonymous gift, but funding is needed to support the ongoing support services critical to helping families achieve and maintain stability.

For more information on The Shield of Hope and how you can help, please come back to this page for updates, support these life-changing programs with a gift, and/or call 773-205-3532 or 773-205-3502 to volunteer.

—From report by Jackie Rachev, communications manager, The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division


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