“Connections for the Homeless has resources available for those facing eviction, and we can help them right now – before they ever have to face homelessness,” said Betty Bogg, Executive Director of Connections for the Homeless. “Our mission is to serve and catalyze our community to end homelessness, one person at a time, and the best way to end homelessness is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place.

“Evanston is a vibrant and compassionate community that values keeping families in their homes – so much so that the community has begun to directly fund our ability to serve households that might otherwise fall through the cracks, due to governmental bureaucratic red tape. As part of our larger agency expansion efforts and with community support, Connections has established  a pool of private prevention dollars to keep individuals and families housed and stop homelessness before it can take root.”

Connections has several funding streams (including the recently launched private fund) to assist people at risk of losing their housing. There are different qualifications for each program. In general, though, in order to qualify for assistance a household must be suffering from a financial hardship that has put them at risk of losing their housing, and the assistance available from Connections might prevent the household from becoming homeless.

Connections can also help households who recently lost their homes to get them back into housing as rapidly as possible.

Among other things, Connections can provide help with rents that are in arrears, mortgage payments that are in arrears, utility payments that are in arrears, or can provide a security deposit/first month’s rent.

Prospective applicants must first call the Suburban Cook County call center at 1-877-426-6515. If people are eligible for prevention support, they will be referred back to Connections or another agency as appropriate.

Although applicants must be screened through the Cook County call center, anyone who has a general question about the programs or eligibility requirements may call Connections’ Homeless Prevention Specialist, Donielle Dial, at 847-475-7070 x134.

Additionally, Connections recently expanded its drop-in services to five days a week. At the drop-in center, people in need can access case management, bag lunches and a food pantry, showers, a clothing closet, laundry facilities, and medical and mental health services. The drop-in center is at 1458 Chicago Avenue in the basement of Lake Street Church, and is open Mondays through Thursdays between 1:30 and 4:00 p.m., and Fridays between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

 “Preventing homelessness not only avoids the emotional and financial trauma of an eviction, it costs less for the household in moving costs, utility re-connections etc., and for our community in lost wages, fractured communities and decreased productivity and academic achievement,” said Ms. Boggs.