Cook County Announces $23 Million for Rental Assistance and Services for Returning Residents – The Southland Journal
Cook County Announces $23 Million for Rental Assistance and Services for Returning Residents (Cook County, IL) — On Wednesday, January 18th, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) and the Cook County Justice Advisory Council ( JAC) announced an American Rescue Plan Act-funded reentry initiative that will provide rental assistance and wraparound support services to residents returning to Cook County from periods of incarceration.
“The re-entry period is a vital time to lay foundations for future safety and success,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Justice involved residents face challenges when they return home to their communities. Access to stable housing and supportive services are key in helping them successfully navigate challenges and achieve their goals.”
The program will support individuals who have returned home to Cook County from prison in the last 24 months. Eligible individuals will be referred by a reentry case manager or a parole officer and will receive rental assistance via direct payments from HACC to their landlord. Residents participating in the program will also receive individualized wraparound services such as case management, education and employment support, healthcare services and legal assistance. Enrolled participants are expected to begin receiving rental assistance and services this summer.
“This important initiative underscores the county’s commitment to equity by helping to close the gaps in support that exist for residents involved in justice,” said Richard Monocchio, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Cook County. “We cannot overstate the integral role of stable housing plays for returning residents. The support these residents will receive through this program will impact their lives for years to come and will ultimately contribute to safer and more equitable communities in Cook County.”
“Returning citizens face many challenges, and us as elected officials must be prepared to give them the tools to successfully re-enter society,” said County Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar. “These investments will give resources, training, and support systems for returning citizens, an unprecedented investment into a far too often overlooked population. We must emphasize access, first and foremost, to ensure those returning from incarceration are able to find stable employment, stable housing, affordable healthcare, and the skills they need to move on to the next chapter of their lives. This funding will do just that.”
The types of wraparound services that will be funded under the initiative are:
Case Management Services including needs assessments, transition planning, connecting to and navigating services and support
Legal support including expungement, petitions and record sealing
Housing Access Advocacy including assistance with finding housing, communicating with landlords and advocating for legal rights
Employment supports including job readiness training, job placement and entrepreneurship opportunities
Healthcare Services including physical, mental and behavioral health services and substance abuse support
Educational Supports including GED and literacy programs, certification programs and special education services
Eligible organizations interested in partnering to provide wraparound services for returning residents receiving rental assistance will respond to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the JAC. The RFQ will be published on the JAC Grants website on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. The deadline to submit a response is Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 5:00pm.
A virtual information session on the funding opportunity will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2022 at 1:00pm. Register here.
Cook County Announces $23 Million for Rental Assistance and Services for Returning Residents