Mayor Johnson Visits CTA Outreach Program

In February, Mayor Brandon Johnson and WGN News correspondent Tahman Bradley experienced firsthand the work that Haymarket Center has been doing to assist those experiencing homelessness seeking shelter on the CTA by joining our outreach team for an 11 p.m. ride-along as we provided services on the Blue Line.

Haymarket Center President and CEO Dan Lustig spoke that night, saying “Tonight you will see our outreach team in action. I think they are heroes among us, serving the underserved with kindness and compassion. Sometimes, their encounters are only a hello and a smile. Sometimes they provide food, Narcan, rides to shelters, and assistance with a host of other needs. I am grateful for all they do each and every day.”

This branch of Haymarket Center’s work, reaching out to the unhoused who haven’t come directly to our facilities, began in earnest in 1990 with the addition of O’Hare homeless outreach program to support the growing number of individuals seeking shelter at the airport.

Outreach Team members focus on addressing basic needs, creating a pathway to housing, detoxification services, and referring those experiencing homelessness to other agencies that can assist them in their journey to housing security. Just last year, Haymarket’s O’Hare program had more than 15,000 encounters with nearly 1,000 individuals.

With that data in mind, in 2023 Haymarket Center expanded our outreach efforts by moving services onto the Blue Line. In just the last year, Haymarket Center served more than 1,800 unique individuals on the Blue Line alone, around double the amount served in the airport alone.

As Dr. Lustig closed his statements that night, he said “This is a crisis decades in the making, and it won’t be solved overnight. But I am hopeful that together we can and will bring about change for the better.” Thank you for supporting our work to create that change.

Read the WGN Article.

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