The first of 2,300 to be handed out this fall were distributed at Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center Friday afternoon.
Chicago businessman Ron Kaplan started the Citypak Project.
"In partnership with the High Sierra Backpack Company and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, we've come up with a very custom, very specially designed bag," he said.
The backpack is waterproof, contains rain ponchos, lots of storage room and compartments.
It has straps that can be fastened to a person's wrists or ankles to make it harder to be stolen.