SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed a bill that is aimed at fighting homelessness.

Called “Home IL,” it will bring state agencies, nonprofit organizations and other advocates together. The bill focuses on an equity-based approach, which includes the voices and contributions of those who have experience homelessness.

It codifies the collaboration 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. “This is a first-of-its-kind multi-agency cooperative effort — bringing together state agencies, nonprofit organizations, advocates, and people with lived experience to prevent and end homelessness. I’m grateful for their dedication and believe that together, we can prevent and end homelessness once and for all.”

Rockford has already taken strides in this aspect. In 2017, it became the first community to reach “functional zero” levels among veterans and the chronically homeless.

Illinois’ Interagency Task Force and Community Advisory Council works across 17 state departments and agencies, as well as over 100 processes, programs and policies, to develop a comprehensive plan to combat homelessness.

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

Pritzker has also committed about $360 million for the initiative in his FY24 budget. 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.

“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.” Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton said. “Our state is making it clear that we will continue to work together so we can all move forward, and we will focus on holistic strategies that bring us closer to ending homelessness in our state.”