FOIA shows Chicago paid downtown hotel $7M+ to shelter homeless

Hotel Julian rented out 1,900 rooms over the past year

Chicago /
Mar.March 15, 2022 03:22 PM

Lori Lightfoot and Hotel Julian (Getty, Google Maps)

The city of Chicago paid more than $7 million over the past year to a downtown hotel to house homeless people.

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services paid Hotel Julian at 168 North Michigan Avenue about $7.3 million for 1,900 rooms between March 2021 and February 2022, according to the Chicago Business Journal, which obtained records through a Freedom of Information Act request.

While the number of rooms rented varied monthly during the 13-month rental agreement between the DFSS and Hotel Julian, the most were leased in May and June, with more than 200 rented each month. The last payment for $1 million was issued on Feb. 24.

Earlier this year, the agency received an additional $99.5 million from the mayor’s office as part of federal money the city obtained to combat Covid-19. The department’s budget for this year “more than likely funded the hotel rooms,” said Joseph Dutra, a spokesman for DFSS.

The DFFS is also considering either acquiring or investing in a hotel or motel within Chicago to use as housing for the homeless.

Requests for Proposals “have already been released to meet temporary needs,” said Brandie Knazze, commissioner for DFSS.

More than 150 individuals who stayed at Hotel Julian are either in process of getting into housing or moving into one through its Expedited Housing Initiative, a program aimed at connecting the homeless to available rental subsidies.

The city’s budget for this year includes about $210 million in housing assistance for Chicago’s homeless population, with funding provided by the American Rescue Plan, also known as the federal stimulus package. About $20 million will be used for rental subsidies and $30 million on converting hotels into affordable housing.

[Chicago Business Journal] – Connie Kim 





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