COOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart launched today a new Community Resource Center site where the public can walk in and secure assistance with a wide range of social services, filling a critical need in the community.
The Community Resource Center (CRC) is open to anyone and helps individuals connect to mental health assistance, substance use disorder treatment, housing assistance, food, education, clothing, and employment, among other resources. Trained CRC staff serve as comprehensive service navigators by understanding the client’s problems, identifying solutions, and working to overcome barriers that often emerge in seeking help, especially among individuals facing multiple challenges.
CRC clinicians will be available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2418 W. Division Street in Chicago, the site of a former city mental health clinic.
“There is nothing more frustrating than wanting help and not knowing where to start. You try to get help, don’t get anywhere and just give up,” Sheriff Dart said. “The CRC is here to help navigate those systems and ensure individuals get the help they need. Ultimately our goal here is creating safe communities. When individuals are connected to critical services and are receiving the help they need, it reduces the likelihood they’ll encounter law enforcement.”
Nearly 1 million people in Illinois with a mental illness go without help, according to Mental Health America. Moreover, nearly 700,000 people statewide with a substance use disorder don’t receive treatment, according to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health.
At a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff Dart was joined by Alexa James, CEO of NAMI Chicago.
“We continue to be encouraged that the Sheriff and his staff respond to gaps in our mental health and re-entry systems,” James said. “Case management, support and care coordination continues to be an area that lacks investment. We have seen increasing need for social services at NAMI Chicago, and value the partnership and commitment to supporting wholistic wellness for our community members.”
CRC opened in the fall of 2020. Due to the pandemic, most of CRC’s work was done virtually. To date, more than 4,800 people have accepted CRC assistance.
The community site will allow for more people to access CRC’s help and will particularly benefit those who work better in person instead of by phone. CRC staff will also continue to assist people over the phone and online.