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Chicago House to sell TransLife Center building
by Matt Simonette
2017-01-08

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Chicago House and Social Services Agency has put up for sale the building it formerly utilized for on-site housing for clients of its TransLife Center.

The organization stopped using the Edgewater location for housing for transgender clients in early 2016, and had not been able to effectively develop an alternative use for the site, according to officials. TransLife Center, which launched in 2013, now assists clients with finding housing in scattered-site locations.

"Much of the funding for services for homeless individuals is permanent supportive housing," said TransLife Center Director Josie Paul. "Most of that is for scattered-site units, which means that [clients] have their own apartment. Sometimes it's an SRO, a studio or one-bedroom. Sometimes it's owned by an agency, or sometimes it's rental-subsidy with a landlord. In most instances it's not group living."

Paul said that individuals were largely pulled from the Chicago Central Referral System list, the city's tool for coordinating access to housing. "When individuals came in for group living, they realized they wanted their own apartments like their peers were getting," she added. "That wasn't an option, but the scope of funding defined success as a year in permanent supportive housing."

Ultimately, officials realized that the model was not working.

"We had a number of individuals who said, 'I'd rather wait than living there,'" Paul said. "Nobody turns down scattered-site housing."

Currently, about 15 individuals—more than were utilizing the on-site residence—are receiving the scattered-site housing assistance via TransLife Center, and a multitude of others utilize the agency's wraparound services.

"What TransLife Center is doing is a whole lot more than the housing," she added. "Not only do we have the housing, we run a drop-in. In the last fiscal year, we helped 292 trans individuals. So, our drop-in is booming, too."

Information on TransLife Center is at ChicagoHouse.org/causes/translife-center/ or 773-248-520.


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