CTA Seeks to Partner with City Agency for Services to Unsheltered Riders and Those with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Challenges

October 14, 2022

Proposed agreement with Department of Family and Support Services would provide additional assistance, services

As part of its continuing efforts to provide a welcoming environment for all customers, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is seeking to partner with the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to provide outreach and support for riders who are unsheltered, as well as those grappling with mental health and substance abuse.

The CTA Board today approved an agreement to allow CTA and DFSS to work toward an intergovernmental agreement through which social services agencies would assist individuals on public transit who are unsheltered and/or in need of assistance with either mental health or substance abuse issues, a challenge faced by transit agencies across the country.

“While CTA traditionally has not played a role in the provision of social services, I believe it is time to address these challenges with new thinking and new tools,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “By creating partnerships through DFSS with community-based organizations and social service organizations, we can confront these challenges in an innovative way—and do so with respect, compassion and care.”

Through the agreement, CTA will work with DFSS’ network of community-based organizations, social service providers, and institutions to provide direct assistance and resources to support unsheltered residents who are utilizing trains, stations and other CTA spaces for shelter. The agreement will build on CTA’s existing engagement and outreach efforts to assist riders in need.

The specific programs and outreach strategies will be determined after the intergovernmental agreement is negotiated. The agreement with DFSS would be for one year, and calls for an annual budget of up to $2M.

Addressing issues related to the unhoused and homeless are part of the CTA’s

Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future Action Plan, unveiled in August. The multifaceted plan focuses on several aspects of improving CTA service, including improving the customer experience.

For more information, visit transitchicago.com/meetingthemoment.


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