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Pritzker signs bill aimed at preventing homelessness

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed HB 2381 Wednesday, July 26, codifying the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness, initially established by executive order in 2021. 

The bill codifies the interagency collaboration intended to move Illinois to “functional zero” homelessness by bolstering the safety net, targeting high-risk populations, expanding affordable housing, securing financial stability for unhoused individuals, and closing the mortality gap.

“Every person deserves access to safe shelter and the dignity that comes with housing,” Pritzker said. 

The goal of the plan is to prevent shelter entry and, where unavoidable, ensure that shelter stays are limited and lead to quick transitions into stable living situations. 

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Nationwide and in Illinois, homelessness disproportionately affects communities of color; Black Illinoisans make up 61% of the state’s unhoused population despite comprising only 14% of the state population. HB 2381, also known as “Home IL” focuses on an equity-based approach that includes the voices and contributions of individuals with lived experiences of homelessness.

The state’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 more than 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 pilot projects.
  • $12.5 million to create 500 new scattered site PSH units.

“People experiencing the trauma of housing instability are our neighbors and community members who deserve to be treated with humanity and dignity. With this cooperative effort, Illinois is ensuring our state agencies can continue to collaborate, and that stakeholders are at the table with us, to support our most vulnerable in living healthy, well, and with dignity.” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. 

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