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Delayed Site Inspections Threaten Hundreds of Mental Health Residents with Homelessness

Ann Pinkney  l 312.986.4032 l 312.217.9497 l pinkneya@metrofamily.org

CHICAGO (April 27, 2018) – Housing for hundreds of Illinois citizens who require residential mental health services are at risk due to delayed site inspections of the state’s CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) facilities. Included are residents scheduled to move into Metropolitan Family Services’ Southeast Chicago CILA site, starting May 1, 2018.

Metropolitan, a leading human services agency serving metropolitan Chicago and DuPage County, has two individuals currently residing in temporary homeless shelters, as well as six others in nursing homes who may become homeless if its CILA site is not inspected before May 1.

CILAs are small group housing facilities that provide a home-like environment for up to 8 adult residents who have mental health challenges. Residents are provided the opportunity to live independently while still having staff onsite 24/7.

The reopening of Metropolitan’s Southeast Chicago CILA is being delayed due to an impasse between the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The agencies are declining to perform the required inspection required for the site to open. The site has been closed since September 2016 due to budget cuts related to the Illinois budget crisis.

Prior to closing Metropolitan’s Southeast Chicago CILA had been serving clients for more than 15 years. During that time more than 50 residents were served; all but three (forced to move due to the site’s closure) graduated from the CILA program and have been able to live independently. Metropolitan’s CILA program has prevented hospitalizations and incarcerations for adults of our most vulnerable population. The program also has helped many clients secure employment and earn GEDs.

Since August 24, 2017, the State Fire Marshal’s Office has not been required to inspect CILA sites overseen by IDHS. This created a huge backlog of provider certifications for the Bureau of Accreditation, Licensure and Certification (BALC), because OSFM stopped performing these inspections due to extreme staffing shortages.

Recently, new legislation was created to reinstate the mandate, and a prioritization schedule for pending inspections was created to effectively work through the backlog. Matt Perez, the State Fire Marshal, and James Dimas, Secretary of IDHS, have met concerning the backlog. That said, Metropolitan has not been notified regarding any confirmed resolution. This presents an even bigger problem for the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), as they have hundreds of placements awaiting OSFM inspections.

Metropolitan has been working with Felicia S. Grey, the Chief of BALC, to resolve this issue, and the agency is awaiting her response. Metropolitan also has a Local Fire Marshal willing to complete the inspection if he is granted permission by OSFM.

For those who want to advocate for ending this homeless threat impacting hundreds of state residents, please contact Governor Bruce Rauner’s liaisons for the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal:  Brian Costin, brian.costin@illinois.gov / 312-814-5240; Christopher Kantas, christopher.kantas@illinois.gov; and Brian Colgan, brian.colgan@Illinois.gov.

About Metropolitan Family Services

Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities. Learn more at metrofamily.org