Lucy has been chronically homeless in the Irving Park area for at least the past 7-8 years,
The last few years she has had a homeless partner, Bob R. They both, along with several others, slept most times under the viaducts at the Blue Line and Metra stations.
In May of 2017 Hands to Help began to look at methods to be more effective with the chronically homeless in the Irving Park/Six Corners community. The Program Committee decided to take the following steps:
- To develop individual support plans for the most difficult to serve individuals
- To make every effort to have these individuals come to St. Johns and discuss their situation with us. This step is very difficult since the most chronically homeless do not want to socialize a great, are fearful or have multiple disabling conditions.
HTH developed a list of homeless people who were the highest priority for assist. Lucy was at the top of the list in that group. The HTH Outreach Worker began to talk to her on the street more frequently, offering support and encouraging her to take a new direction. Somewhere during this process, and it may not be related, Lucy began to separate from her homeless partner.
In mid-July on a Friday Lucy appeared at her HTH case review saying she was ready to move off the street and had a friend in Pilsen she could move in with. H2H committed to support half her rent and utilities for the first month. After phone contacts with Lucy’s prospective roommate and landlord a check for half of the first month rent was mailed to the landlord.
While waiting for the check to be cashed Lucy, her partner and 2-3 others sleeping under the viaducts disappeared. At first it appeared that major construction on Irving Park and Pulaski and the resulting traffic problems had driven them away. After the first week when major cleaning crews from the city arrived it became clear that they had been notified of a sanitation project under and around the viaducts and there were postings to that effect.
Because Lucy had no phone her location was unknown at that time.The rent check had not been cashed and the landlord said he had not yet received it.
The next day the rent check was cashed. H2H contacted Lucy's prospective roommate on August 11th to try to find Lucy. She put Lucy on the phone. Lucy reported that she had been living at the apartment for 2 weeks and was very happy with the arrangement.
While all stories are unique and every situation has it's peculiarities, Lucy's store is a good representation of the work our Outreach worker and volunteer board do in helping our clients.