CTA Continues Partnership with City of Chicago to Provide Outreach, Assistance to Unhoused Riders

November 15, 2023

Agreement with Department of Family and Support Services will provide additional services for shelter, substance abuse and mental health

The Chicago Transit Board today approved the extension of an intergovernmental agreement between the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS) to provide additional outreach and support services for unhoused riders.

Today’s Board action allows CTA and DFSS to continue building on a year’s-long, successful partnership that enables social service agencies, working under DFSS, to ride trains and visit rail stations to engage individuals experiencing homelessness, and to offer connections to housing, support services and harm-reduction materials.

Last year, under the leadership of CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr, the CTA entered its first contract with DFSS for added support services, as part of the “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan to improve service and the customer experience.

“The first year of this partnership showed tangible results, connecting the unhoused on our transit system to housing and other social services,” Carter said. “This partnership led to over 5,000 interactions with unhoused riders, providing 80 placements for shelter in addition to permanent housing for 30 people. The CTA is committed to approaching the issue of homelessness with compassion, and this partnership has provided compassion and valuable help to people who need it.”

“The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services is proud to continue our partnership with the CTA to conduct outreach to people experiencing homelessness on CTA trains,” stated DFSS Commissioner Brandie Knazze. “Thanks to this partnership, we are able to provide those experiencing homelessness with resources to meet their immediate needs and offer shelter and long-term support around challenges such as mental health and substance use disorders. We are able to do this work by meeting them where they are in their moment of need.”

Per the terms of the agreement, the CTA will provide up to $2 million to DFSS for added outreach efforts in 2024, including referrals for temporary and permanent housing, mental-health services, and substance-abuse treatment.

Based on customer feedback, CTA has seen a drop in complaints regarding issues related to homelessness on CTA property.  Specifically, over the winter months, there were almost half as many complaints as there were in 2022, prior to the agreement and additional financial support from CTA. 


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