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Pritzker Administration Launches Home Illinois Anti-Homelessness Initiative

Press Release - Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Housing advocates, community leaders, and experts gathered at an inaugural summit to address homelessness in Illinois

CHICAGO - Governor JB Pritzker, together with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and members of the Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness, hosted the inaugural Home Illinois Summit at Malcolm X College today in Chicago. The summit, which brought together community leaders, and experts to discuss potential solutions and strategies, served as a launch for major next steps in the Home Illinois plan, a multi-year holistic approach to reach "functional zero" homelessness in the state.

"We must continue working together to find solutions to ensure that every Illinoisan has access to essential housing and support," said Governor JB Pritzker. "This is a first-of-its-kind multi-agency endeavor — bringing together state agencies, nonprofit organizations, advocates, and people with lived experience to take an intergovernmental approach to preventing and ending homelessness. I'm grateful for their dedication and believe that together, we can prevent and end homelessness once and for all."

Since the launch of the Interagency Task Force via executive order in 2021, the Pritzker administration has taken significant steps to address homelessness in Illinois. The Home Illinois plan expands affordable housing options, targeting individuals in high-risk situations (including homeless college students and those leaving medical care), and providing comprehensive support for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The plan also focuses on bolstering the safety net, securing financial stability for clients, and closing the mortality gap all through the lens of racial equity with the goal of correcting the racial disparity among unhoused individuals.

Governor Pritzker's FY24 budget commits almost $360 million for the initiative, an $85.3 million increase from FY23. These investments include:
  • $118 million to support unhoused populations seeking shelter and services, including $40.7 million in the Emergency and Transitional Housing Program.
  • $50 million in Rapid ReHousing services for 2,000 households, including short-term rental assistance and targeted support for up to two years.
  • $40 million in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Capital funds to develop 90+ new PSH units providing long term rental assistance and case management.
  • $37 million in Emergency Shelter capital funds to create more than 460 non-congregate shelter units.
  • $35 million for supportive housing services, homeless youth services, street outreach, medical respite, re-entry services, access to counsel, and other shelter diversion supports.
  • $21.8 million to provide homelessness prevention services to approximately 6,000 more families.
  • $30 million for court-based rental assistance.
  • $15 million to fund Home Illinois Innovations Pilots.
  • $12.5 million to create 500 new scattered site PSH units.
"Governor Pritzker has shepherded an unprecedented level of interdepartmental cooperation to develop a completely new, radical approach to reaching ‘functional zero' in Illinois," said Deputy Governor Sol Flores. "The summit is an opportunity to come together and hear from the lived experiences of those who have experienced homelessness, and that perspective and the equity it centers is invaluable in this work."

"Homelessness is not only an issue of housing justice, but one of racial justice, public safety, mental health and economics," said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. "In fact, it is the intersection where many of these issues come together, so I am grateful for the partnership of Governor JB Pritzker and the resources his administration has provided to ensure that housing remains a human right, and we protect our all of our unhoused children, families and communities."

"I applaud Governor Pritzker for his leadership and commitment in combatting homelessness. Today's summit is just one part of our ongoing efforts to address homelessness in the state," said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, the Illinois Department of Human Services. "Through the Home Illinois initiative and other programs, we are working alongside the Governor and our partners to ensure that every person in Illinois has access to safe and affordable housing. With continued commitment and collaboration, we can make significant progress in reducing homelessness and increasing access to housing for all Illinoisans."

The Home Illinois plan is led by Illinois' first-ever Chief Homelessness Officer, Christine Haley, who brings 18 years of experience to the mission of preventing and ending homelessness.
"We are working to bring solutions to address homelessness across the state. Today is an important step forward to address key issues, gather input, and identify further solutions for those facing a housing crisis," said Christine Haley, the state's first-ever Chief Homelessness Officer.

"The mission of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout the state," said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. "Last year, IHDA created and preserved 4,331 units of affordable housing and helped 5,234 people purchase a house in Illinois. Home Illinois is only going to provide more tools to the state in achieving Governor Pritzker's goal of ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. This initiative will assist in delivering equitable access to housing and economic opportunity for the most vulnerable. IHDA is excited for the opportunities ahead to work to end homelessness through Home Illinois."

"Homelessness is a complex issue with many hidden victims, including a significant number of mothers and children. The Home Illinois Initiative is an example of Governor Pritzker's vision and commitment to make Illinois a great place for all families, and he understands that addressing homelessness requires a multi-faceted, collaborative approach. The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is grateful for the opportunity to come together with community leaders, service organizations and our sister agencies to make sure Illinois families and communities have better access to affordable housing and a safety net to meet this basic need," said Director Heidi Mueller, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ).

"Many Illinoisans struggle to secure safe and stable housing. Barriers to affordable housing opportunities increase significantly for residents who are Black, Brown, or returning residents." said Director Delrice Adams, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) "The Home Illinois initiative ensures equity remains at the forefront of our decision-making, ensuring that housing insecurity and homelessness for all, regardless of circumstance, is addressed. It is great to be part of an administration that leads with equity-based solutions as we tackle complex challenges."

For more information, visit DHS's homelessness prevention website.

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