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Connections for the Homeless purchases Evanston hotel
2024-02-18

This article shared 7423 times since Sun Feb 18, 2024
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Connections for the Homeless in Evanston hosted an open house at the Margarita Inn, formerly a boutique hotel, February 13, to celebrate its purchase for use as a hotel-based interim shelter.

The Margarita Inn will give Connections for the Homeless the necessary infrastructure to provide hotel-based interim housing alongside onsite healthcare, case management, and employment services that move unhoused neighbors into long-term housing solutions. About 80% of people who left the Margarita Inn during the past year exited for a housing solution.

Speakers at the event were Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss; 13th District Cook County Commissioner Josina Morita; Chief Homeless Officer for the State of Illinois Christine Haley; Biden Administration Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public and Indian House Rich Monocchio; and former Margarita Inn resident Jelani Davis. Connections Board President Pastor Monte Dillard was emcee.

A no-interest, forgivable loan from Cook County was the foundation for securing financing for the deal, and the support of local officials and the broader Evanston community was crucial in paving the way for a vote at the Evanston City Council that issued a special-use permit for ongoing use of the Margarita Inn as a shelter. The vote followed an 18-month community mobilization that brought together Evanston residents, community organizers, religious leaders, and other service providers under the banner of the "We Are All Inn" coalition.

In March 2020, Connections began renting the Margarita Inn to serve as a hotel-based shelter when the pandemic led to an abrupt shutdown of most overnight shelters because they were congregate settings. Connections and other providers across the country quickly pivoted to standing up hotel-based shelters to help this vulnerable population during a public-health emergency.

The Margarita Inn was built in 1927 and throughout its life has served as a boarding house for young women, a boutique hotel and now a shelter. More than 40 individual rooms can provide shelter for up to 65 people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The program is staffed 24/7 and utilizes Housing First and trauma-informed strategies to provide comprehensive services on site to participants free of charge. In addition to basic services such as three meals a day, laundry, and light housekeeping, staff also provide case management, affordable housing counseling, employment readiness and life skills support. Medical services are also provided on site by a licensed medical doctor, nurse, mental-health practitioner and care coordinator.

See connect2home.org .


This article shared 7423 times since Sun Feb 18, 2024
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