Mayor Brandon Johnson creates post for city’s first chief homelessness officer

Mayor’s point person will coordinate Chicago’s efforts to shelter its unhoused people.

SHARE Mayor Brandon Johnson creates post for city’s first chief homelessness officer
A tent for homeless man Jeffery Holiday, sitting outside it, is pictured in Chicago.

Chicago’s chief homelessness officer will be tasked with finding solutions for the more than 68,000 people unhoused in the city, including Jeffery Holiday, pictured.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times (file)

Mayor Brandon Johnson on Tuesday signed an executive order creating Chicago’s first chief homelessness officer position.

The person in the role will be tasked with providing solutions “for stable, permanent and affordable housing” for the unhoused in the city, Johnson said in a statement.

“By establishing a Chief Homelessness Officer for the City of Chicago, we will have a critical point of contact to coordinate efforts and leverage the full force of government to provide shelter for all people,” Johnson said.

The officer will be responsible for “fostering greater policy and operational coordination across city departments and sister agencies” to tackle the crisis, the mayor’s office said.

The move comes a day ahead of a public hearing before the City Council on the mayor’s proposal to raise the real estate transfer tax on high-end home sales to create dedicated funding to combat homelessness.

About 68,440 Chicago residents were experiencing homelessness at the beginning of 2022, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. The city’s department of family and support services found 6,139 unhoused residents in homeless shelters, encampments and unsheltered areas during a single night in January.

Emily Krisciunas, executive director of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness, said the organization was pleased to partner with the mayor on the new position.

“A dedicated, senior-level role within the mayor’s office will help advance sustainable, long-term solutions to expand access to housing for all and help end homelessness in Chicago,” Krisciunas said in a statement.

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless celebrated the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The Chief Homelessness Officer is needed now more than ever. We look forward to working together to prevent and end homelessness,” the organization said in a post.

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