Ending homelessness in Illinois is not a pipe dream for some advocates

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 1:03 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (25 News Now) - There are more than 120,000 people experiencing homelessness in Illinois every year, and a group of lawmakers held a hearing to address the homeless problem in the state.

Illinois Homelessness Chief Christine Haley spoke about “Home Illinois” which is a plan aiming to prevent and end homelessness.

“Home Illinois” focusses on helping state agencies with ideas for housing and expanded services so Illinois can help its homeless.

To do this, leaders are looking at four main points that include affordable and permanent supportive housing, bolstering safety nets, securing financial stability and closing the mortality gap.

“This isn’t some pie in the sky that we can end homelessness someday,” said Haley.

When we say, ‘end homelessness’ - that means we have a system that when people come into a homelessness situation that there is a resource for them on the other side,” Haley added.

Community Solutions is a non-profit organization that helps communities across the country reach the goal of ending homelessness. Its goal is to have communities get to the point where homelessness is rare, and brief when it happens, and non-recurring. Rockford has achieved that status for its veteran and chronic homeless populations.

“We believe (Rockford) will be one of the first communities in the country to get to functional zero for all populations, really setting the new bar for what’s possible,” said Rosanne Haggerty, who is Community Solutions president and chief executive officer.

The legislative committee hopes to use Rockford as an example to end homelessness across the state and will continue to work on the problem over the coming months.