Oct. 12, 2023 - The Village of Oak Park will host a pair of community forums to discuss the topic of unhoused persons living within the community. The sessions will be held on Thurs., Nov. 30 and Mon., Dec. 18 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., with both taking place at the Oak Park Public Library (834 Lake St.) in the Veterans Room.
The first forum on Nov. 30 will focus on community education and ways to best interact with, and provide support to, Oak Park’s unhoused population. A group of panelists will discuss challenges and potential solutions, speak on advocacy and policy and partake in a question-and-answer session.
The panelists for the first forum are Lynda Schueler, Housing Forward Chief Executive Officer, Kylon Hooks, Deputy Chief in the Illinois Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, John Harris from the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition and Vanessa Matheny, Village Grants Supervisor. Click here to download a flyer.
The event on Dec. 18 will center around affordable housing and the role of private landlords. Subject-matter experts will aim to help attendees better understand the unhoused crisis, while looking at the roles of landlords and agencies such as Housing Forward in identifying solutions. The group will highlight success stories and review support services that are available to tenants. There will also be a Q&A portion during the forum.
“As we search for ways to holistically address the influx of unhoused people living in Oak Park, we determined that these community forums are an inclusive way to educate residents and businesses on not only the ways that the Village is viewing the current situation, but also the ways that those groups can really contribute to a solution,” said Vanessa Matheny, Oak Park Special Assistant to the Village Manager for Community Services. “We know that our community is one of care and compassion, and along with engaged partners such as Housing Forward, we know we can further educate and inspire ways to impact positive change.”
The Village of Oak Park offers resources to individuals and businesses in the community, including resource cards created by the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition that can be distributed and provided to individuals in need of support. Resources include crisis, utilities, food, legal aid, shelter, children and family support, employment, and mental health and substance use support.
For more information, technical assistance, or to access more resource cards please visit the Unhoused Resources page at www.oak-park.us/unhoused or contact the Village of Oak Park at 708-358-5416.