MetroLinks for Jobs and Housing - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MetroLinks for Jobs and Housing

A pilot program providing housing assistance and related services that will enable TANF families in Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties to make a successful transition from welfare to work

What is MetroLinks?

  • A collaboration formed to secure new Housing Choice Vouchers in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s January 28, 1999 “Notice of Funding Availability for Welfare to Work Section 8 Tenant-Based Assistance.”
  • These Housing Choice Vouchers are rent subsidies which must be linked with support services and job training for TANF families needing more stable housing in order to obtain or maintain a job.
  • MetroLinks was notified by HUD of its award for 1,025 vouchers in October, and will begin serving families during the first quarter of 2000.

What is the Need for MetroLinks?

  • 37,223 households are on the participating housing authorities’ waiting lists for Housing Choice Vouchers, which would help subsidize their families’ rent in the private market, whether in their existing units or elsewhere.
  • More than 10,000 of these households are estimated to be families who use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity and Reconciliation Act replaced Illinois’ Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with TANF, thus dramatically altering poverty relief programs through a new focus on building self-sufficiency.
  • 4 out of 5 people leaving welfare for work do not benefit from housing subsidies, and are vulnerable to income loss and greater rent burden.
  • TANF families wishing to move close to work face many barriers:
    • Transportation, child care and job training challenges;
    • Shortage of rental housing affordable to TANF recipients, or large enough for their families. Over 37% of regionwide renters pay more than 30% of their income for housing;
    • Discrimination due to family size, race, income and associations with the Section 8 Program.

How will MetroLinks Work?

  • The regional collaborative approach has already resulted in Metro Links leveraging over $9,000,000 in funding, services, and in-kind contributions from government agencies, foundations and non-profit organizations.


  • Provide housing assistance and related services that will enable TANF families in Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties to make a successful transition from welfare to work.
  • Track families’ progress, monitor and share results in order to contribute to policy development.


  • Identify, sort, prioritize and select eligible TANF families who are currently on HA waiting lists.
  • Outreach to eligible TANF families and their service providers
  • Voucher application process
  • Identify, refer, and/or fulfill case management, vocational and service-related needs of participating TANF families.
  • Housing search assistance and lease-up.
  • Follow-through with the participating families.




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