On February 27, 2018, Mayor Ardis presented a proclamation recognizing the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care and the Heart of Illinois United Way. These organizations, alongside several partners, coordinated the implementation of an interim shelter system in Peoria.

This program model provides 24/7 interim housing (shelter) and comprehensive case management with the goal of finding permanent housing for clients. This newly established system represents the ‘front-end’ of the homeless response system in Peoria. The Continuum of Care in collaboration with the City and several other partners continues to grow and develop its permanent housing resources, or the ‘back-end’ of the homeless response system in Peoria.

The Community Development Department directly supports these efforts with the City’s HUD Emergency Solutions Grant allocation. A portion of this funding is sub-granted to South Side Office of Concern (SSOC) for the operation of a Rapid Rehousing Program. Rapid Rehousing is a national best practice for moving individuals and families from homelessness to permanent housing. The program provides temporary rental assistance and other forms of housing assistance (security deposits, utilities, etc.). It also provides comprehensive case management geared toward long-term, self-sufficient housing stability in the private market. SSOC moved 25 households from homelessness into permanent housing with the City’s 2017 sub-grant.

The Continuum also manages grants for permanent supportive housing (PSH) that flow directly from HUD to the Continuum. Permanent supportive housing is a long-term housing option for individuals and clients with higher vulnerability levels that have been homeless longer and have a disability. Consistent with national best practices, the Continuum governing board strategically converted several grants from transitional to permanent housing. This action resulted in an increase of 115 additional permanent beds throughout the Continuum. Factored into this number is the additional funding of ten new permanent supportive housing units awarded to South Side Office of Concern through the 2017 HUD grant cycle.

The Continuum has been recently recognized for strategic work on the front-end of the homeless response system. However, the consortium also continues to develop and strengthen its resources on the back end in its effort to end homelessness in our community.

For more information on the Community Development Department’s efforts to support smart housing solutions in the City of Peoria, contact Senior Grants Coordinator Nick Mitchell at 309.494.8935 or nmitchell@peoriagov.org.