If you are concerned for someone experiencing street homelessness, please contact the DFSS Homeless Services Division at
Does the City clean encampments? To ensure the health and safety of all residents, DFSS and the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) operate a standardized cleaning protocol for unsheltered homeless locations.
The Chicago Office of the Inspector General recently reviewed the City’s encampment cleaning protocol and found that unhoused residents are not being displaced by these practices.
OIG found that DFSS has found success in rapidly housing encampment residents who wish to pursue permanent housing using a “housing first” approach via its Accelerated Moving Events (AME) program.
Specifically, OIG found that 94% of 238 encampment residents who attended an AME between November 2020 and May 2022 secured housing. Eighty-three percent were still housed on October 3, 2023.
To estimate the number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States, HUD requires communities to conduct a Point-in-Time Count of all people experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. This count occurs each year on a single night in January (2023). The 2023 Chicago Point-in-Time Count estimated a total of 6,139 people experiencing homelessness within the city.
A full summary of cleaning procedures can be found in that report: https://igchicago.org/publications/audit-of-department-of-family-and-support-services-outreach-to-encampments-of-people-experiencing-homelessness
To get more information about homeless services you can email
DFSS-Homeless@cityofchicago.org and someone will reach out to you.