Since the merger with Prevail in 2015, Housing Forward has strengthened the support systems for households in Oak Park and neighboring communities that are experiencing an emergency financial crisis and need access to tailored employment resources. On July 5, these programs will move from their current location at First United Church of Oak Park to new offices at 6634 W. Roosevelt Road, 2nd Floor in Oak Park.
Founded by area congregations 12 years ago, the Prevail Programs of Housing Forward (formerly the Walk-In Ministry) have been operating out of First United Church of Oak Park since the beginning. “We are endlessly grateful for their support in allowing us to operate rent-free for all those years”, expresses Lynda Schueler, Executive Director of Housing Forward. The programs and services provided there have helped thousands of households with emergency financial assistance, short-term stability services and employment readiness programs to address their immediate financial and housing crisis and find jobs. Last year alone, that office was visited by 1,032 people representing $84,406 in financial support and more than 170 individuals accessing employment services.
Prompting the need for expansion, Housing Forward was selected to lead a nine-agency partnership to implement Coordinated Entry, a new county-wide crisis-response system to standardize and expedite the process by which people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness access the right interventions for their immediate needs - shelter, housing and homeless prevention resources. In addition to being the implementation lead for this system, Housing Forward will also staff and house a newly designated Walk-In Center that will serve the West region of the suburban Cook County service area at the new location on Roosevelt Road.
“Housing Forward has been serving those that are homeless and at-risk of homelessness for 25 years. As we broaden our focus to serve a larger service area and lead the Coordinated Entry efforts for all of suburban Cook County, we are proud to partner with individuals and businesses in the community along with our long-time partnering agencies in order to develop structural solutions to homelessness at a local and regional level,” says Executive Director, Lynda Schueler. “We are so pleased to have been able to find a space that allows us to continue to work from the heart of the community.”
The Prevail Program and Coordinated Entry Walk-In Center will be providing services out of 6634 W. Roosevelt Road, Second Floor, Oak Park beginning July 5th with a planned open house scheduled for September. The Housing Forward headquarters and day-time Support Center will continue to operate at 1851 S. 9th Avenue in Maywood.