Homelessness and median income of individuals are directly correlated, as shown in the maps above. On any given night in Illinois, almost 11,000 individuals suffer from homelessness. While the largest demographic of homeless individuals are single adults (6,894), the second largest demographic are families with children (3,904). This alarming statistic shows that homelessness not only impacts adults but large numbers of children as well. Often times, homelessness can be a direct result of low wages, high costs of housing, or the combination of both factors.
An adult making minimum wage ($8.25) in Illinois would have to work 99 hours a week, 52 weeks a year just to afford a two-bedroom house. This shows the impossibility of stable housing for individuals who earn low-wages and cannot find affordable housing. Unfortunately, affordable housing is often not available and of those populations that can find affordable housing, 72 percent spend more than half their income on housing. There is some good news for Illinois’ homeless numbers as they have decreased by 25% since 2010. Programs such as transitional housing are among the critical resources available to these populations by helping them secure stable housing and improve their life outcomes. Lincoln Park Community Services is a non-profit organization near the DePaul Lincoln Park campus that serves as an example of programming that can help homelessness in the Chicago area.
Source(s): Housing Action Illinois, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Lincoln Park Community Services