Organizations Serving The Homeless Compete For Piece Of $115M HUD Grant

Rob Hart
February 17, 2020 - 2:47 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Organizations that serve the homeless in Illinois are competing for a share of a $115 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The grant was awarded at the end of last month. People who help the homeless say its a big grant that is meant to address a bigger problem.  

Neli Vazquez Rowland, president and co-founder of A Safe Haven Foundation, said there are tens of thousands of homeless in Chicago and there are many more who are just one paycheck away from missing rent.

"We do have a tsunami of a demographic of seniors included in that number in terms of not having saved enough," she said.

Vazquez Rowland said many people who are on the brink are pushed out by a lack of affordable housing.

"The lack of affordable housing is definitely contributing and exacerbating that problem as the costs of owning affordable housing and building affordable housing continues to go up," Vazquez Rowland said.

The most recent count from Chicago Coalition of the Homeless found that there are 86,000 people who are homeless in Chicago.

She said the definition of homelessness extends beyond living on the street or under an expressway bridge.

"There are many families that are doubled up and living in transitional living situations or living in situations that are not intended for human habitation," Vazquez Rowland said.

A town made up entirely of the city's homeless population would make it the 10th largest municipality in Illinois.