333 N Oakley Blvd, Ste 101 Chicago IL 606012 info@rssichicago.org 773.645.8900

RSSI Executive Director featured on Chicago homelessness panel

RSSI’s Executive Director was featured on a panel called “Taking Action to End Homelessness” on March 16 at the Weinberg-Newton Gallery in Chicago.  He spoke alongside several noted homelessness advocates in the City, including Nonni Brennan of All Chicago and Ronald Smith of the Speak Up program at Corporation for Supportive Housing.

The panel focused on exploring ways that CHicago agencies are actively working to address homelessness, independently and collaboratively.  The panel also focused on ways community members could take action to promote more affordable housing and homelessness services for Chicagoans.

You can watch the full discussion below.

Medicaid and Supportive Housing

logo: Renaissance Social ServicesRenaissance Social Services is excited to announce that on May 8th we received certification from the State of Illinois to provide Medicaid-funded mental health services to the men and women participating in our supportive housing programs.  With Medicaid certification, Renaissance will now be able to bill and collect payment from the state for the mental health services we provide daily – a critical component of the work we do to stabilize people’s lives and keep them securely housed.

Most of the people we serve have serious mental health needs and providing them with quality care is how we assist them on their path to stability and independence. It is how we help to break the cycle of homelessness among those who are most vulnerable to housing instability. This certification not only recognizes the quality of our services, but represents an important way for us to sustain and grow programs that have too often been underfunded in Illinois. We expect to begin billing for Medicaid-eligible services later this year.  For more information, please contact me at (773) 645-8900 extension 108.


was used for program services in 2013.

Over 3M Saved

in local hospital, jail and prison costs by RSSI programs in 2013.

Households stat

received services from RSSI in 2014

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NBC 5’s Rob Stafford comes out to visit Renaissance Social Services in this Making A Difference segment from August 1, 2014. He met with Tommy who had been living in homelessness for years near RSSI’s West Side office before agreeing to accept our housing services and getting an apartment. http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/making-a-difference/269639151.html



Mentally Ill are less likely to be violent than the general population

Recently there have been some new laws proposed that would force people with mental illness into involuntary treatment if they are deemed a “threat”. The problem with trying to legislate the problem away of mass shootings is that it is going about solving the problem in the wrong direction and it is a knee jerk reaction to an ongoing issue. The problem may be one of public perception, that people with mental illness are violent, when the reality is that studies show that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Anyone who has worked with people with mental illness for a significant period of time understands that mental illness itself is diagnosed through the lense of poor social functioning. Most people with mental illness would prefer to avoid other people, not hurt them, so the television reports and newspaper articles that show people who have mental illness are most likely to be when something bad happens. It would be like saying that men with the middle name Wayne are more likely to be serial killers (google it).

One solution that works is not being discussed as much as it should is voluntary treatment. Funding voluntary treatment will increase access and decrease problems with people being untreated. More outreach mental health and tele-health is dramatically needed in order to reach out to those whose geography may prohibit their ability to receive treatment.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

When I heard the news that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent heroin overdose it surprised, shocked and saddened me. Here is a man of incredible artistic talent, who had a loving family and who also knew that drugs were bad for him. But whatever personal demons he was facing drug use seemed to be what he thought of as his way out, a way of coping.

Unfortunately his death reminded me of the homeless people that we help on a daily bases, and the homeless people we are trying to help. They too are fighting their demons. The difference is that the homeless do not have fame and thousands mourning their death if they pass away. Most people just turn their backs and blame the homeless for having to deal with their drug addiction, mental health issues and chronic health problems. “It must be their fault for being homeless.”

Addiction is addiction, your personal demon follows you through all socioeconomic lines. There are no boundaries.  Mr. Hoffman had the benefit of money, family and friends to keep him together when he was battling his demons. We can’t judge Mr. Hoffman; we were not living his life, just as we can’t judge those that are homeless; we aren’t living their lives. All we can do is help whenever and however we can those who don’t have the benefit of wealth and status. Is a famous person’s life more valuable than a man living on the street? That is for you to decide. I would argue that they are people whose lives have fallen apart, they are former businessmen, cooks, mothers, soldiers and child care workers.

When we provide to those who don’t have the resources or ability to help themselves we may allow that person to regain some of who they were and that can be a very powerful thing.