Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) applauds Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recognition that addressing homelessness and the issues related to homelessness are core to the work of Illinois. Now we need to work with his administration to put the dollars behind this priority.
The governor’s budget proposes $5.15 million in funding for homeless prevention grants, a $250,000 or 5% increase. This modest increase does not bring funding for this critical program – which keeps people from ever entering into homelessness – back up to the $11 million level that it was once at. Still, it is a clear recognition that this is both a smart preventive program and solid investment for our state. CCH and our partners will continue to advocate with the governor and the legislature to increase funding back to $11 million.
Gov. Pritzker also spoke to the need for a new capital budget to address Illinois’ infrastructure needs. Permanent supportive housing is a critical piece of Illinois’ infrastructure. Any capital plan should include a $1 billion investment in supportive housing.
In addition, CCH has been in the fight to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 for many years. Many people experiencing homelessness are working in low-wage jobs and cannot afford a home. Living-wage work is a critical tool for both preventing and ending homelessness. We thank Gov. Pritzker and the legislators who voted to raise the minimum wage for backing real policy change that will improve the lives of thousands of Illinoisans.
Finally, we appreciate the governor’s focus on long-term solutions to the state’s structural deficit. CCH agrees that Illinois should establish a graduated income tax to increase state revenue and allow the state to begin to rebuild the human services infrastructure so everyone in Illinois has true access to opportunity.
– Niya K. Kelly, State Legislative Director