City domestic violence shelters frequently ran out of beds in 2023 due to higher demand according to new report

Chicago had no beds available in domestic violence shelters for about a third of 2023, according to a report released Thursday.

The first two installments of the “Measuring Safety” report describe the skyrocketing need statewide among abuse victims for housing, transportation and other vital resources.

According to the report by The Network, a group that runs the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline, shelter needs exploded in 2023, which saw a 45% jump in requests for shelter statewide over the prior year.

Seven hundred and four shelter beds and cribs were estimated to be available for domestic violence victims across Illinois in 2023. The report stated that only about 97 of those beds were in Chicago, with another 163 in the surrounding suburbs. For 124 days total that year, domestic violence shelters in the city had no beds for victims, according to the report.

Aside from the shortage of shelter facilities for domestic violence victims, the report documented a 26% increase in calls to the state’s domestic violence hotline from the city, with the most contacts coming from ZIP codes on the Far South and Near West sides. Statewide, the hotline saw a 27% increase in calls for assistance over 2022.

Calls from people seeking help were up from pre-pandemic 2019 by 90%, according to the report.

The organization’s executive director, Amanda Pyron, said that 2023 was the third year to bring “exponential” growth in hotline contacts. “More needs to be done to strengthen the safety net for survivors fleeing and recuperating from violence,” Pyron said.

The Network will release other installments of its 2023 data throughout the year.