A compassionate approach to the unsheltered
We understand that unsheltered riders and those who gather at our stations and other enclosures across the city can impact the overall customer experience. This is a larger social issue, which extends well beyond our transit system. That said, we aim to be compassionate and respectful to this vulnerable population, while at the same time ensuring we are providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for all riders.
Similar to other transit agencies, we have seen firsthand how the pandemic and Chicago’s extreme weather conditions have exacerbated this challenge. The CTA is addressing the issue on a number of fronts. The CTA entered into an agreement with the City’s Department of Family and Support Services to expand upon existing resources in place for outreach and support services for the unsheltered, as well as those who struggle with mental health and substance abuse.
The City has also established partnerships with local social service providers, including the Night Ministry, which performs outreach on our system to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with other options and access to social services, medical care, and additional assistance. In addition, as part of its pandemic initiatives, the City has focused more attention and resources on assisting those residents – including the homeless – with services to address their mental health needs.
Further, we are discussing how we can expand our community relations efforts and create partnerships with community-based organizations and social service organizations to confront these challenges in an innovative way. We are also looking for support from local, state and federal resources, so that CTA can pursue additional outreach and engagement efforts.