General Assembly Approves Housing is Recovery Pilot Program
In the last days of the legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly approved the establishment of—and funding for—the Housing is Recovery Pilot Program championed by Rep. Kathleen Willis and Sen. Cristina Castro and supported by the Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives coalition led by Thresholds. For thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness because of a complex condition involving opioid or other substance use, serious mental illnesses like severe bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and often unaddressed trauma, the all-too-common path is an endless cycle of hospitalizations, incarceration for crimes relating to poverty, or overdose death. These outcomes are preventable with access to support services and affordable housing.
The program promotes racial and health equity. Black communities are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to treatment and safe, affordable housing. It is well documented that Black individuals are less likely to receive medication and therapy for mental health conditions than white individuals, leading to higher hospitalization rates for untreated conditions. Black Chicagoans are hospitalized for behavioral health conditions between two and 10 times more often than non-Black Chicagoans. Black people and other persons of color are disproportionately represented in prisons and jails in Illinois. 73.5% of the city’s unsheltered homeless population in Chicago are Black. Programs like the Housing is Recovery Pilot Program have the potential to help individuals live more stable lives in their communities, improve their health, enable their recovery and achieve greater well-being.
“The $10 million in funding for the Housing is Recovery Pilot Program is a huge step towards flexible, equitable provision of affordable housing for a vulnerable population,” says Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds. “We are grateful to the Pritzker administration and the General Assembly for this investment.”
“Affordable housing is a critical—essential—component of healthcare, and this program supports an affordable housing model that we know works,” says Lisa Parsons, Program Director at the Legal Council for Health Justice. “We are proud to be among the many organizations and individuals who worked together to fight for this legislation.”
Eligibility for the program will be based on hospitalization rates, overdoses, or criminal justice involvement due to a person’s mental health or substance use condition, combined with homelessness. Qualified individuals will receive rental support combined with support services to help them stabilize their conditions. The program offers a much-needed path into recovery support, treatment, and hope.
Media Contact: Emily Moen, 773-572-5172