Your NPR news source
Chicago’s new chief homelessness officer is tasked with finding solutions for the more than 68,000 unhoused in the city.

Chicago’s new chief homelessness officer is tasked with finding solutions for the more than 68,000 unhoused in the city.

Ashlee Rezin

Mayor Brandon Johnson establishes city’s first chief homelessness officer role

Mayor Brandon Johnson on Tuesday signed an executive order creating Chicago’s first chief homelessness officer position.

The person in the role will be tasked with providing solutions “for stable, permanent and affordable housing” for the unhoused in the city, Johnson said in a statement.

“By establishing a Chief Homelessness Officer for the City of Chicago, we will have a critical point of contact to coordinate efforts and leverage the full force of government to provide shelter for all people,” Johnson said.

The officer will be responsible for “fostering greater policy and operational coordination across city departments and sister agencies” to tackle the crisis, the mayor’s office said.

The move comes a day ahead of a public hearing before the City Council on the mayor’s proposal to raise the real estate transfer tax on high-end home sales to create dedicated funding to combat homelessness.

An estimated 68,440 Chicago residents were experiencing homelessness at the beginning of 2022, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. The city’s department of family and support services found 6,139 unhoused residents in homeless shelters, encampments and unsheltered areas during a single night in January.

Emily Krisciunas, executive director of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness, said the organization was pleased to partner with the mayor on the new position.

“A dedicated, senior-level role within the mayor’s office will help advance sustainable, long-term solutions to expand access to housing for all and help end homelessness in Chicago,” Krisciunas said in a statement.

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless celebrated the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The Chief Homelessness Officer is needed now more than ever. We look forward to working together to prevent and end homelessness,” the organization said in a post.

The Latest
Chicago’s longest-serving alderman Ed Burke will face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced later this month. WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel shares what prosecutors and Burke’s defense team are requesting from the judge overseeing the case.
How did this system come to be, and how has it persevered for more than two centuries?
Prosecutors want a judge to give Chicago’s longest-serving City Council member a 10-year prison sentence for corruption. But defense attorneys hope to sway the judge to spare him any prison time with stories of Ed Burke’s good deeds.
Nearly a quarter of Planned Parenthood patients coming from 41 states over the last two years, up from 3% to 5% of patients prior to the 2022 Dobbs decision.
Former President Barack Obama briefly spoke and shook hands with dozens to celebrate the latest milestone — the museum building hitting its full height of 225 feet.