Jan 11, 2024 - News

Homelessness on the rise in Illinois and Chicago

Estimated homelessness rate, January 2023
Data: HUD; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

More people are experiencing homelessness in Illinois and across Chicago, compared with recent years.

The big picture: U.S. homelessness reached a record high in 2023, Axios' April Rubin reports.

  • A recently released report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that roughly 653,100 people nationwide, including nearly 11,950 in Illinois, experienced homelessness on a single night last year.

By the numbers: The HUD snapshot suggests Illinois' homelessness rate in 2023, 9.5 people per 10,000, is up from 8 in 2019, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng write.

Yes, but: The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless routinely says those snapshots can drastically underestimate the true number of houseless individuals, especially those "doubling up" or temporarily staying with someone.

  • The coalition estimates that roughly 68,440 people are experiencing homelessness in Chicago alone, per its latest report. That's a more than 2,800-person increase from the previous year.

Zoom in: Chicago's City Council in November passed Bring Chicago Home, a ballot measure that could raise more than $100 million a year for homeless services through a high-end real estate transfer tax.

  • But last week, business and realty groups sued to block the measure from the March ballot, charging it illegally blends a tax decrease and a tax increase into one piece of legislation.

What we're watching: A Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson tells Axios that no hearing has yet been set for the suit but that mail-in ballots must be sent out as early as Feb. 8.

  • If ballots are sent out and the suit prevails later, election officials plan to suppress the results for that question.
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