Date of Award

5-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Jin Kim, Ph.D., JD

Abstract

This study examines the experiences of families with active involvement in open cases with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) within a Housing Advocacy Program (HAP) at La Casa Norte in Chicago, Illinois. Housing advocates in this program work with clients in the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County, as well as DuPage County. This program focuses on assessing the needs of families with open DCFS cases who are nearing completion of a mandated program, with housing that meets DCFS guidelines and requirements being one of the final steps towards case closure. HAP case managers educate clients on conducting housing searches, as well as how to properly communicate with landlords, identifying proper details to look for in rental units, and overall navigation of both the affordable housing and market rate rental landscape. Many clients present with compounding issues outside of being unstably housed, such as lack of employment and financial resources, prior criminal involvement, a history of surviving domestic violence, and physical or mental disability. These factors often complicate and present more pressing issues for case managers to address before housing can be approached. Further complicating matters when working with this population is not only the lack of affordable housing vouchers available for those in need, but the fact that applications of housing laws set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are interpreted differently by Cook and DuPage counties. This study aims to identify if program participants in DuPage county experience higher levels of discrimination based on housing voucher status than participants in the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County, and what shared characteristics this population holds. This study looks at socio-economic factors as well as social factors in relation to outcomes for program participants in trying to understand their experience.

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Social Work Commons

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