Services and housing for people who are homeless are funded through a complex and diverse patchwork of resources. Major funding sources for housing and services, reviewed here, include HUD SuperNOFA Funding, Federal Funding, State Funding, City Funding, and Private Philanthropy.
HUD SuperNOFA Funding
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the largest single source of funding for homeless services in Chicago. HUD funding is currently authorized by the McKinney-Vento Act. In 2007, HUD funding for Chicago totaled $50.1 million and supported more than 130 programs across the city.
HUD issues an annual “SuperNOFA” (Notice of Funds Availability) to solicit applications from localities nationwide. In response, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness compiles and submits a lengthy application to HUD, totaling 3,300 pages in 2007.
For more information on Chicago’s SuperNOFA process, click here.
A wide array of federal agencies fund programs that provide housing and services to persons who are homeless, including the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), and US Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA).
When a federal agency issues a notice of fund availability, or "NOFA," it is published in the Federal Register. All organizations interested in applying for federal funding can register at www.grants.gov to sign up for email grant alerts and to browse the Federal Register. Grants.gov also allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies.
In addition, organizations that apply for federal funding must register to receive a DUNS number and CCR registration. Both are now required for all federal applicants.
Specific funding through federal agencies should be researched through www.grants.gov or the specific granting agency's website. See program site links below. When noted, formula dollars are dollars that are granted to City or State entities through a formula from the specified federal agency.
Federal Granting Agency Links
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH)
Congress established the Interagency Council on Homelessness in 1987 with the passage of the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. The Council is responsible for providing federal leadership for activities to assist homeless families and individuals. Funding notices are available on the ICH website.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD Funds Available Homepage: general information on available HUD funding.
HUD Homeless Assistance (McKinney-Vento) includes SuperNOFA dollars and formula dollars under the ESG program.
Housing Opportunities for Persons Living with AIDS (HOPWA): competitive dollars available nationally; formula dollars available through Chicago Dept. of Health.
Community Development Block Grant Program(CDBG): formula dollars only; available through the City of Chicago Dept. of Human Services.
HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME): formula dollars granted through the Chicago Dept. of Housing to expand the supply of decent, affordable housing for low- and very low-income families.
U.S. Veterans Administration (VA)
General information on Homeless Services
Grant and Per Diem Program
VA Homeless Coordinator Contact Information
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Runaway and Homeless Youth
Healthcare for the Homeless
Other federal departments and homeless services include:
Corporation for National Service (AmeriCorps, VISTA)
US Dept. of Agriculture
US Dept. of Commerce
US Dept. of Labor
US Social Service Administration
USA Freedom Corps
White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
IDHS helps Illinois families achieve self-sufficiency, independence, and health to the maximum extent possible. IDHS improves the quality of life of thousands of Illinois families by providing an array of comprehensive, coordinated services through community health and prevention programs; programs for persons with developmental disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse problems; employment, training, and independent living programs for persons with disabilities; and financial support, employment, and training programs, as well as child care and other family services for low-income families.
The Emergency Food and Shelter Program gives immediate and comprehensive shelter services to homeless persons and persons at risk of becoming homeless. Annually, over 49,000 persons throughout the state are assisted through shelter programs consisting of overnight, transitional, and emergency shelters.
Emergency Food Program is a Federal program administered in Illinois by the Department of Human Services, which makes food available to more than 650 pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters located throughout the state.
Homeless Prevention Program is designed to stabilize families in their existing homes, shorten the length of time that families stay in shelters, and assist families with securing affordable housing to prevent homelessness.
Supportive Housing Program provides state funds for services coupled with permanent housing, to homeless and formerly homeless individuals and families. Local governments, community organizations, and nonprofit agencies provide case management, alcohol and substance abuse treatment, mental health programs, education and training, transportation, child care, and other services needed by residents of transitional facilities, single room occupancy facilities, and family developments.
Homeless Youth Programs serve those youth who are 20 years of age or younger who cannot return home yet lack the housing and skills necessary to live independently. The purpose is to provide services that help homeless youth transition to independent living. The program strives to meet youths' immediate survival needs (food, clothing, and shelter) and assists them in becoming self-sufficient.
IDHS, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
The Illinois Department of Human Services is charged with designing, coordinating, and funding a comprehensive and coordinated community-based and culturally and gender-appropriate array of services throughout the state for the prevention, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency.
This IDHS system addresses the needs of at-risk or addicted individuals and their families. As the single state authority for substance abuse issues in Illinois, the Department delegates these responsibilities to the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) and the Office of Prevention.
In addition, effective March 16, 1999, Governor George Ryan issued Executive Order #9 which designated DASA as the lead agency for all substance abuse issues for the State of Illinois. Thus, DASA is responsible for coordinating the efforts of all state programs that deal with problems created by substance abuse.
IDHS, Department of Mental Health (DMH)
The Department of Mental Health oversees mental health services throughout the State of Illinois. Services are provided in certified mental health centers by appropriately credentialed mental health professionals, including licensed physicians, board-certified psychiatrists, licensed clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed counselors, and registered nurses—assisted by para-professionals who are directly supervised by mental health professionals.
All DMH services are intended to identify and treat individuals who are diagnosed with mental/emotional disorders and a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. PATH funding for Illinois is administered through DMH.
City of Chicago Funding
With the adoption of the Chicago Plan to End Homelessness in January of 2003, Mayor Richard Daley established the office of the Liaison on Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Currently part of the Department of Housing, the Mayor’s liaison, Ellen Sahli, is also the Commissioner of Housing.
Four City agencies—the Departments of Housing, Human Services, Health, and the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development—all provide funding that may be applicable to homeless housing and services providers in the City.
Chicago Department of Housing was established in 1980 to provide financial assistance to homeowners and developers to preserve and create affordable housing options. Working with other City agencies, nonprofit and for-profit community development corporations, and other community organizations, the Department employs innovative ways to finance affordable housing projects.
Funding from the Department of Housing related to homeless housing and services can be obtained through the HOME and HUD 202 or 811 programs or the DOH-administered Tax Credits program. The DOH web homepage details information on fund availability.
Chicago Department of Human Services (CDHS) draws on a strong network of social service providers in Chicago to connect individuals and families in need to the needed resources. CDHS administers federal, state, and city funds to organizations that provide homeless prevention services, housing options, and social services. The Department's mobile clinics and outreach teams work the streets as a first measure to engage homeless adults in programs and services.
CDHS operates walk-in centers across the city, open to anyone in need of assistance, and the agency provides round-the-clock emergency response services to victims of home fires and other disasters. CDHS also manages the Service Connector program, helping CHA families gain and maintain stability as the city's plan to transform public housing proceeds. Funding for homeless services is coordinated through a CDHS annual RFP process.
Chicago Department of Health administers both the HOPWA program formula dollars and the Ryan White dollars received by the City of Chicago. The Department is to ensure that care is provided to Chicago residents, and it provides services and outreach through clinics, mobile units, and other program services. Details on funding availability and RFPs are available on the Department website.
Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (MOWD) helps Chicago businesses find qualified workers and assists Chicago residents to get, maintain, and advance in their jobs. MOWD operates Mayor Richard M. Daley's WorkNet Chicago, the City's service delivery network comprised of over 100 community-based organizations located throughout the city.
Private philanthropic organizations are key partners in the effort to end homelessness in Chicago. Several area foundations have played leadership roles, including participating in committee work, creating strategic funding opportunities, and communicating the importance of the movement to end homelessness within the philanthropic community. Many large and small foundations fund homeless services and housing throughout the region.
The foundations listed below have program guidelines which invite proposals under categories for homeless housing/services or employment. Program guidelines do change, so all applicants are encouraged to review each funder's criteria and process carefully prior to application.
The not-for-profit group Donor's Forum of Chicago can enhance any organization's understanding of the foundation world. Whether you are a donor or a nonprofit, the Donor's Forum provides information and services that can help you connect to resources in our community.
Chicago Community Trust
Chicago Foundation for Women
Patrick and Anna M.Cudahy Fund
Field Foundation of Illinois
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
McCormick Tribune Foundation
Michael Reese Health Trust
Polk Bros. Foundation
Prince Charitable Trusts
Washington Square Health Foundation