Through a partnership with Cook County, Housing Forward will take over ownership of the Write Inn, which has been leasing the hotel since 2020 to provide shelter for unhoused individuals in the non-profit’s interim housing program.
The purchasing agreement is still being finalized, but Housing Forward representatives confirmed the county is providing the funding to purchase the Write Inn to Housing Forward, a non-profit that works to transition individuals and families experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. Housing Forward will be the owners of the property. There is no closing date set yet.
Cook County commissioners unanimously approved a motion Sept. 20 to spend $6.5 million of the county’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds for the hotel to turn it into a permanent shelter facility.
A representative from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office told Wednesday Journal the county was “proud” to use the money to support the purchase of the Write Inn.
“The hotel-based model that this funding will support has seen success and deserves investment – providing stable housing in hotels while also offering wraparound services like medical care, case management, mental health resources, and employment resources represents a critical part of our effort to end homelessness,” the spokesperson said.
The county will continue to support “most vulnerable communities until all Cook County residents have a safe place to lay their head at night,” they added.
People within Housing Forward’s interim housing program live in the Write Inn until permanent housing becomes readily available. The program has seen major success at the Write Inn, according to Housing Forward. In the three years since Housing Forward began leasing the Write Inn, 83% of clients in the interim housing program have moved into permanent housing. In 2022, 89% of clients in the program moved into permanent housing.
In an emailed statement to Wednesday Journal, Housing Forward CEO Lynda Schueler praised the county for taking action to allow for continued use of Write Inn.
“We are thrilled by Cook County’s partnership and support in establishing a long-term location for the highly impactful services that have been operating at The Write Inn building for the past three years,” she said.
This is not the first time the county has collaborated with Housing Forward. The two entities have worked together to bring medical respite to the unhoused population through RISE Center of Cook County, which provides medical care, support services and case management for people experiencing homelessness through the Cook County Department of Public Health.
“Our Interim Housing program and the RISE Center medical respite program with Cook County Health – both of which were located at The Write Inn building during the COVID crisis – are another step in advancing solutions to address homelessness in our community and surrounding suburbs. While there is still much work to be done, this funding is a tremendous start,” Schueler said in the statement.