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SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Adriane Johnson, Robert Peters and Laura Fine – longtime advocates for addressing the root causes of homelessness – announced the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness were codified into law Wednesday morning.

“Homelessness is the effect of numerous causes,” said Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove). “By taking a comprehensive approach to decrease homelessness and improve health and human services, we are able to successfully combat root causes head on.”

“Preventing homelessness means eliminating its root causes, which include lack of affordable housing, poverty and lack of wraparound services,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “The HOME Illinois program is targeting the root causes of homelessness. The work the Department of Human Services will be doing in terms of street outreach, supportive housing and workforce development will make a world of difference for those experiencing housing insecurity and will pave the way toward Illinois achieving functional zero homelessness.”

House Bill 2381  codifies the unprecedented interagency 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.

The Interagency Task Force and Community Advisory Council work across 17 Illinois state departments and agencies to develop a comprehensive plan to combat homelessness. The goal of the plan is to prevent shelter entry and, when needed, ensure that shelter stays are limited and lead to quick transitions into stable living situations. House Bill 2381 continues the important work of the Task Force and Council and ensures their mission is protected by state law.

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. HOME Illinois focuses on an equity-based approach that includes the voices and contributions of individuals with lived experiences of homelessness.

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. These expansions are made possible thanks to the almost $360 million investment for the initiative in this year’s state budget, an $85.3 million increase from the previous fiscal year.

"Access to mental health care or supportive services can make a profound difference in the lives of many people experiencing mental or behavioral health issues,” said Fine (D-Glenview), chair of the Senate Behavioral and Mental Health Committee. "Mental health care is one of many parts of the HOME Illinois plan that targets the root causes of homelessness. I am a strong supporter of this program’s work to improve housing security in Illinois by providing people with mental health support, affordable housing, job training and more.”

House Bill 2831 was signed into law Wednesday.