Emily Cahill of the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care (HOIHCOC) presented their 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness tonight. Why do we have an HOIHCOC and a 10-year plan?
In 2001, President George W. Bush set a national goal to end chronic homelessness within 10 years. In response to that goal, and a mandate from Congress, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued direction to all recipients of HUD grants, including local jurisdictions and all Continua of Care, to develop a local plan to end chronic homelessness.
In other words, it’s a federal requirement. This was a long, but interesting presentation and discussion with the council. Some of the interesting facts they presented:
- Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population
- 30% of homeless persons are homeless with their familiesâ€”one-third are children
- At least 20% of homeless children do not attend school
- Over half of the homeless people in Illinois live outside of Chicago
- 41% of homeless are single men
- One third of homeless persons experience a mental illness
- Less than one-third are addicted to drugs or alcohol
To combat chronic homelessness*, they want to see 250 more safe and affordable housing units by 2016, implement a data-collection system so they can track their progress, improve the emergency shelter system, increase public awareness of the 10-year plan, and most importantly, focus on prevention.
They request that the community do three things:
- Review the Plan
- Share your comments, suggestions, and concerns in writing (by March 15 — e-mail comments to the Continuum at firstname.lastname@example.org – Subject: 10-Year Plan, OR mail comments to HOIHCOC, c/o Emily Cahill, P.O. Box 3855, Peoria, IL 61612.
- Attend March 23 Homeless Breakfast (sorry, I have no further info on this event)