Lawmakers look to use federal money to address housing barriers

Illinois lawmakers could use funds from the American Rescue Plan to address barriers to housing.

A committee of Illinois House lawmakers has met several times this month to discuss ways to use the remaining COVID relief money to help people get a roof over their heads.

Illinois received $8.2 billion in relief from the American Rescue Plan.

Prison reform advocates say many people looking to re-enter society after incarceration have little to no money when they return to their community, and it’s extremely hard to find a home.

That’s why many states have looked to the Return Home Ohio program that offers housing for hundreds of formerly incarcerated people. The Corporation for Supportive Housing argues Illinois could benefit from a similar plan.

CSH Senior Program Manager Richard Rowe said the Ohio program helps anyone leaving the Department of Corrections and those with severe mental illness from ending up back in prison.

Other advocates say Illinois should fund a needs assessment to ask returning citizens what they need.

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