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“How can Chicago Finance the Reopening of Closed Publicly Funded Mental Health Clinics?”

Author: Elias Kassa

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: This research explores The Chicago city budget to facilitate the reopening of 6 publicly funded mental health clinics in Chicago. These clinics should be reopened due to the unaffordability and inaccessibility of many private clinics for the citizens of the areas in Chicago that are affected by the shutting down of these clinics. I have made some policy recommendations through literature reviews and analyses of the city budget and possible grants. One possible policy recommendation is to fund the reopening through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The reopening of these clinics would qualify for CDBG usage as 70% of a CDBG fund must be used to benefit low-income residents. The reopening of these clinics will be exclusively targeted towards low-income neighborhoods. Another policy recommendation is to fund the reopening of mental health clinics by reallocating money from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). This is mainly due to the disproportionate amount of funding the police department gets compared to the public health sector. Improved mental health within cities will reduce the number of tasks that the CPD must do. A final policy recommendation is to fund the reopening of the closed public mental health facilities within the South and West sides through Tax-Increment-Financing Funds (TIF). TIF funds would help facilitate the reopening of these facilities because TIF funds are used to help finance the building of infrastructure for community and economic development in areas considered blighted. The reopening of these facilities would constitute community development infrastructure in blighted areas.

Keywords: mental health, public funding, city budgeting, tax-increment-financing, community development block grants, police funding, public health