Albert is back home in the community where he grew up. After years of experiencing homelessness, Albert made his way to a BEDS Plus Shelter in La Grange. He was connected with Housing Case Manager Jennifer Tudor and qualified for permanent supportive housing.
Albert was homeless and struggled with travel to and from shelter sites because of his COPD, heart failure and wheelchair. He often resorted to living on public transportation.
"I didn't have a choice really at the time. It was rough," he said.
The Summit Service Center will give people like Albert a place to live with dignity while they stabilize and qualify for permanent supportive housing.
"Having one stable environment for Albert would have cut down his hospital visits tremendously," Jennifer said. "Having a place for people to stay especially after coming out of the hospital would be a game-changer for them. They would have a spot where they could feel healthy. They would be able to take care of themselves and really heal."
BEDS Plus is strengthening the local safety net by developing a new interim housing program in Summit. The Summit Service Center is a $2.6 million public-private investment in long-term solutions for people who are poor and find themselves homeless in Southwest Suburban Cook County.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed critical gaps in Cook County’s suburban safety net. This extraordinary year made it clear that BEDS Plus must reimagine our essential services to address the serious needs of medically fragile and homeless persons in our community.
People who are homeless and also have disabling conditions struggle to manage their health care. They often rely on emergency rooms for medical treatment. When discharged from the hospital they often return to emergency rooms with worsened conditions because they lack a place to live to coordinate follow-up care. The Summit Service Center will provide up to 24 months of fixed site, interim housing for medically fragile homeless adults, allowing them to live with dignity while they stabilize and qualify for permanent housing.
Albert's struggle would have been eased by a fixed site shelter location like the Summit Service Center, and he likely would have found permanent supportive housing sooner. As for finally getting housed, Albert calls it a blessing.
"A blessing. It's a blessing to me, yes, to say that this is mine," Albert said of getting housed.
For people who are struggling to meet basic human needs, the Summit Service Center will improve access to community-based and public resources. Together with long-standing and trusted partners, BEDS Plus will increase access to health care, mental health services and housing programs in a community at the heart of its service territory.
"Albert's not a one-in-a-million person," Jennifer said. "There's constantly people that are coming to shelter with health conditions."
Click here to learn more about the Summit Service Center.