Illinois’s $50 Million Effort to Fight Homelessness

The governor of Illinois has asked for more funding to target homelessness rates in the state, with a particular focus on the Black homeless community.

New Plan to Fight Homelessness

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Illinois Governor JB Pritzker released a new proposed plan to combat state-wide homelessness last week, with a focus on reducing the racial disparity evident in the homeless community.

An Extra $50 Million

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The plan would take effect at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. Pritzker’s plan would require $250 million in funding, which marks a $50 million increase compared to the state government’s homeless initiative in the previous fiscal year.

“Home Illinois” Initiative

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It would be part of the pre-existing  “Home Illinois” initiative, also known as the Home Illinois Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The program was started in 2022 and is headed by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Legal Aid and Rental Assistance

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The new proposal would include a $35 million package to help unhoused people into the rental market, and $2 million would go toward legal aid for people facing unfair convictions.

Reducing Racial Disparity

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The initiative also included a $13 million sum that would go toward reducing racial disparities in the homeless community, declared by the governor at a press event at the University of Illinois Chicago on Thursday.

Reducing Black Homelessness in Illinois

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This sum would be used to reduce rates of homelessness amongst Illinois’ Black community, a decision that Pritzker supported with a recent report that provided damning statistics.

Eight Times More Likely to be Homeless

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According to the report, Black people in Illinois are eight times more likely to experience homelessness at least once in their lives compared to their white counterparts.

Why Is It Happening?

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The cause of this racial gap in homelessness statistics was attributed to higher incarceration rates for Black people, health issues, employment struggles, rent burdens, and a disproportionate number of eviction filings.

Research Report

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The research report was carried out by both the Illinois Office to Prevent and End Homelessness and the University of Illinois Chicago’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy.

“Not an Issue of Personal Failing”

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“Our approach understands that homelessness is not an issue of personal failing but of historical discrimination and structural barriers that have driven inequality for Black families across the nation and, of course, right here in Illinois,” he said.

It Requires Collaboration

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“Confronting these legacies of inequality will require us to collaborate across issue areas, from public health to commerce to criminal justice,” he continued.

A Launchpad Initiative

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Christine Haley, who has been working as the state’s homelessness chief since the initiative began, backed Pritzker’s proposal as an improved “launchpad” to reduce homelessness with a focus on Black homelessness.

“A Series of Commitments”

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“We are releasing today not only the report and roundtable recommendations but a series of commitments state leaders are making to reduce this disparity,” Haley said.

“Dismantling the Disparity”

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“We are committing today to dismantle the Black-white disparity in homelessness, starting with Gov. Pritzker’s proposed budget,” she continued.

Concerning Statistics

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Current statistics from the National Alliance to End Homelessness show that as many as 10,643 people are homeless in Illinois on any given night.

8 in 100,000 People

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This accounts for 8 homeless people per 10,000 of the general population, a ratio that Pritzker’s initiative hopes to drastically reduce.

On the Heels of Migrant Debate

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Pritzker’s proposal comes just 2 weeks after a fierce debate rage at the Chicago City Council after the city council unanimously approved an extra $70 million to support undocumented migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the city.

More Funding for Chicago Crisis

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The $70 million boost was added on top of a $150 million lump sum that was already allocated to address the migrant crisis in Chicago’s 2024 budget plan.

Critics Weren’t Happy

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The decision was slammed by critics, who argued that any extra funding should be used to support legal residents of the city and state.

Targeted at Residents Only

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Pritzker confirmed that all Home Illinois funding would be put toward existing residents who are struggling with housing and would not be allocated to new arrivals.

The postIllinois’s $50 Million Effort to Fight Homelessness first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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