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To empower individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Since 1983, HOW has been a leader in permanent solutions to homelessness. Through prevention strategies; expanded, affordable, supportive housing; and individualized support services we have helped thousands take back their lives. HOW operates under the Housing First Model, which ensures individuals experiencing homelessness are housed as quickly as possible, and then provided with tools for success and self-sufficiency.

Clients arrive at HOW with a variety of barriers that have prevented them from prospering, including disabilities, chronic health conditions, mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and more. Our supportive environment allows people to build long term solutions to the obstacles which have undermined their independence.


Homelessness Prevention

Over 2,500 individuals contact HOW each year looking for assistance in a housing crisis. We refer them to resources to help them stay in their homes, find temporary shelter, or be added to Chicago’s Coordinated Entry System, which begins the process to enter supportive housing. HOW also provides crisis case management to approximately 600 households annually who are in danger of losing their housing. 

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Stable, Affordable Supportive Housing

HOW’s Permanent Supportive Housing program serves individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness and/or those with a documented disability. For individuals and families experiencing an episode of homelessness in response to a crisis, HOW offers short-term supportive housing for up to two years, allowing clients time to recover and regain self-sufficiency. Many clients successfully take over their lease, previously managed by HOW, at the end of the program.




Each HOW client is assigned to a case manager for one-on-one support. HOW case managers build relationships with their clients, helping them develop skills for success and rebuild a community network of support. Services include: employment and education assistance, medical and mental health referrals, financial literacy training, assistance with securing food, clothing, furniture, and essentials, housing advocacy and education, access to our on-site legal aid clinic, and more. 

Our Values



We promote and create opportunities for social and economic change that ensures equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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We advocate for the self determination of everyone and practice empathy, humility, and non-judgment.



We acknowledge the unique experience of each person and demonstrate respect, trust, fairness, and transparency.



We recognize the importance of working together to expand capacity, increase sustainability, and achieve shared goals for our communities.



We test theories, explore new approaches, and build creative solutions in response to complex issues.

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