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Recently Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl announced the formation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness to address an issue that has been made even more prevalent in the Evanston community in the light of the recent recession. The task force will be comprised of government business, civic, service, education and faith-based leaders in the community appointed by the mayor.

“In recent years, Evanston has seen a rise in the number of people who are homeless or precariously housed, including more families with children,” explained Mayor Tisdahl. “The cost to individuals and our community is enormous. This task force, comprising a wide range of people, knowledge and skills, is taking on the challenge of formulating a plan to address it.”

The task force will study the dimensions of the problem and learn about other cities and their plans to tackle homelessness. It will then develop the elements of a plan that will outline strategies to address and prevent homelessness through a community wide effort.

“Mayor Tisdahl, recognizing the stress on those who are homeless or are in danger of becoming homeless and has taken a proactive step to appoint a broad-based group of people who live and work in Evanston to develop our plan to address homelessness,” said task force Co-chair Suzanne Calder. “We intend that at the end of the meetings we’ll have a realistic and responsive plan to ensure that all members of our community can secure and sustain safe and decent housing – a basic human right.”

“The Mayor’s Task force on Homelessness is an opportunity for us to focus on this critical issue at all levels, raising awareness and helping catalyze the collective will to respond to the homelessness challenge in Evanston. As Co-chair, I look forward to working with a broad cross section of community members to develop this plan. In doing so, we join over 200 communities nationwide who have already completed plans. I want to thank Mayor Tisdahl and the City Council for their vision and commitment to address this important issue facing so many people in our communities,” added task force Co-chair Karen Singer.

The task force will be responsible for developing a plan to address homelessness in Evanston and is scheduled to meet monthly for about seven months starting on January 21 (7:30 a.m., Room 2404, Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.), followed by several irregular meetings to draft and approve the plan. Currently, there are about seventeen community members who have expressed interest in serving on the task force.

The task force’s plan will then be presented to the City Council for approval and adoption and task force members will then be invited to assist in the implementation of the plan through private and public channels.