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Emanuel outsources program offering emergency assistance to city's homeless

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city will save $1.7 million by outsourcing mobile outreach services to Catholic Charities.

Emanuel outsources program offering emergency assistance to city's homeless

City of Chicago will pay Catholic Charities $2.5 million to run mobile outreach services.

WBEZ/Bill Healy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning to outsource some of the city’s existing services to help the homeless in Chicago.

Emanuel said the city will pay Catholic Charities $2.5 million to take over its mobile outreach services, a program that offers emergency assistance to the city’s homeless population.

The city is currently spending $5.5 million to run the program itself. At a press conference Thursday, Emanuel said Catholic Charities can do the same job for about half the cost.

“Now my goal here is not to preserve a program. That’s not what we do,” Emanuel said. “We don’t preserve programs. It’s to provide a better path for people in need and the most vulnerable. That’s what we do.”

Edward Flavin, a spokesman for Catholic Charities, said the millions in savings will come in administrative changes. Flavin said Catholic Charities can offer a more qualitative management system.

“This is what we do,” Flavin said, saying Catholic Charities has performed these types of services for over 90 years. “This is our bread and butter.”

Flavin said the city gave Catholic Charities a 14-month contract for the jobs, but he said that can be renewed adding that there was no real end period.

Officials said the city will save $1.7 million by outsourcing the job. Emanuel said that money will be spent on other programs aimed at helping the city’s homeless, particularly homeless youth. He said that $1.7 million will go towards things like job training and providing more beds.

Emanuel said the services are part of a larger strategy called “Plan 2.0" — a 7-year initiative toaddress homelessness in Chicago.

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