Budget Stalemate Affecting People Outside Of Homes

Feb 23, 2016

The budget impasse between Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the legislature could make the state's homelessness problem worse for a long time to come.


Sue Loellbach is with Connections for the Homeless.

"The longer an adult stays on the street, the more likely it is that they're going to get sick or become sicker. And the more likely that they'll become chronically homeless,” Loellbach said.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Rockford is the first community to effectively end homelessness among its veteran population as part of a national effort called Zero: 2016. Dozens of communities are participating in the campaign.

Beth Sandor, director of the Zero: 2016 Movement, said, “Rockford had to demonstrate that it was able to house more veterans every month than were homeless in the community.”

To date, Rockford has housed 73 veterans.

Rural Homelessness An Overlooked Problem

Dec 8, 2015
Shannon Butler

A quieter, harder-to-detect problem than its urban counterpart, rural homelessness nonetheless leaves its mark on people and communities.

“I think the perception for many people is homelessness is primarily an urban problem that they associate with folks you might see out on the street who have literally no place to go,” says Bob Palmer, policy director for Housing Action Illinois, a statewide advocacy organization. “But we really try to make the point that there’s homelessness in all parts of the state.”


Homelessness in Illinois ticked up slightly this year. But it’s been trending down nationally over the years with one major exception.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s latest national estimate of homelessness says Illinois’ overall rate rose half-a-percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. 

But, HUD says, overall homelessness in Illinois is still down 8.5 percent from 2010. That compares to an 11 percent decline nationally.

Dan Klefstad / pixlr

WNIJ's Community Close-up of DeKalb examines how a community supports its most vulnerable members.

About 44,000 people live in DeKalb.  Another 5,000 students live on campus at Northern Illinois University. The city is also host to a growing number of people who sleep in their cars, on their friends’ couches, or in the county’s only homeless shelter: Hope Haven.