As an integral part of the relocation process associated
with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Plan for Transformation, and in response
to numerous stakeholder reports and recommendations, CHA and the Chicago
Department of Human Services (CDHS) are working together to develop “a new
service delivery system designed to meet the unique needs of CHA residents as
they move from one residency status to another.” This
new service delivery strategy
was unveiled at the Quarterly
CHA Stakeholders Update on the Plan for Transformation ,
co-sponsored by MPC and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, on
April 17, 2003.
It will replace the Service Connector model created two years ago as a bridge
between CHA residents and service providers. The new strategy addresses many
of the recommendations made in Temporary Relocation, Permanent Choice:
Serving Families With Rent Vouchers During the Chicago Housing Authority Plan
, commissioned and published by MPC. The reform also
responds to recommendations
from the CHA Relocation Process’ Independent Monitor Thomas P.
The first step in the
implementation of this new strategy is a Request For
Proposals (RFP) for CDHS Support Services for CHA Residents
, which was released recently by CDHS
in partnership with CHA. The goal of this RFP is to address Points 3 and 4
of the CHA's six-point new
strategy. Point 3 aims to
replace the Service Connector to non-moving households with a "new and improved
system.” Point 4 seeks to provide extra support to households already
living in Section 8 housing.
Through the RFP, CDHS is seeking to contract with
agencies to provide quality services to three specific groups of CHA
leaseholders who remain in CHA family developments not scheduled
for demolition or rehabilitation until 2005 (approximately 6,250 households at
the writing of this article)
leaseholders opting to take
Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers (approximately 1,470 households at this
moment, plus another prospective 760 in the future), and
leaseholders (approximately 2,300 households).
These households are located
throughout Chicago, although some community areas in the South and West sides
have significantly higher concentrations of these residents. Agencies can select
which group(s), site(s), and/or community area(s) to serve.
The RFP’s scope of services covers a broad range of areas,
including both specific Housing Counseling Services dealing with lease
compliance, home maintenance, credit history, etc; and general Support Services,
such as employment, substance abuse, and mental and physical health related
services. Contractors must be prepared to develop outreach and engagement
programs, assessment and case planning, case management, and documentation and
reporting on their activities. Due to the magnitude and complexity of the
outcomes expected from contractors, partnerships and consortia between agencies
are strongly encouraged.
Contractors will be required to achieve specific outcomes for
CHA families through performance-based contracts. To that end, the RFP
includes a detailed list of specific indicators to assess the contractor’s
performance in what has been announced as one of the most thorough and demanding
RFPs ever issued by the City. The key performance outcomes required for agencies
seeking to provide services under this RFP are, in priority
housing stability and
- family well-being and
- preparation for final
housing choice and/or to meet Site-Specific Criteria.
In order to avoid the fragmentation and
inefficiencies of the former Service Connector, the new system will provide a
single point of contact to families in need of services. This contact counselor
will be in charge of providing guidance and comprehensive information to
In the words of Ngoan Le, chief program officer for
CHDS, these Support
Services will be a fundamental piece part
of the success of the Plan for Transformation. “The future well-being of thousands
of families is at stake: failure is not an option,” she said to an audience of more
than 30 representatives of social services agencies interested in the RFP
that gathered June 9, 2003 at the CHDS Garfield Center.
Agencies interested in this RFP must send
their applications to the CDHS no later than Friday, June 27, by 5:00 p.m.
Questions on the RFP should be addressed to: Janice
Finney, acting director, CHA Service Connector Program Division, at (312)
746-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info on the Plan for Transformation progress, click