The financial support granted from the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has enabled AACF to provide rental assistance and up to one year of supportive housing assistance for program participants experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Participants in our housing program will also receive supportive services in the form of case management, advocacy, and counseling.
As defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homelessness and/or housing insecurity is:
· Those in any congregate or non-congregate shelter or transitional housing program
· At-risk of homelessness
· Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
· Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
· Exiting an institution, regardless of length of stay (i.e., corrections, foster care, nursing care, mental health facilities, hospitals, etc.).
· At-risk of institutionalization because of disability-related needs and lack of stable housing
· Currently enrolled and residing in any permanent supportive, transitional, or rapid re-housing program regardless of the target population being served
· Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence
Why We Help
Homelessness, housing insecurity, and joblessness affect blacks, indegenous, and people of color (BIPOC) disproportionally to whites. According to HUD research blacks represent 40% of the homeless population and 21% of people living below the poverty line, but only 13% of the overall U.S. population. Latinos account for 21% of the homeless population, and 18% of the overall U.S. population, with 15% living below the poverty line. And research shows that homelessness in the U. S. among Native Americans is three to eight times higher than their proportion of the population and the group has the highest rate of poverty with 25% of their population living below the poverty line.
These disparities between BIPOC and whites are the direct result of systemic racism in the U.S. BIPOC have historically been barred from employment and professions that were secured by whites. As the job market opened up to blacks and other minorities, redlining barred people of color from building wealth through real estate and business loans. In the criminal justice system BIPOC are hugely disproportionately represented despite the fact that crimes are committed at roughly the same rate across all races, with blacks being incarcerated at five times the rate of whites and Latinos 1.3 times the rate of whites. Having a criminal background negatively impacts an individual in multiple ways, including opportunities for employment and housing. And federal policies such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) closed schools in black and low income neighborhoods where children needed education the most to improve their opportunities for future employment.
What We Can Do
Thanks to DHS financial support we now have the funding to deliver supportive services to low-income persons residing in permanent housing units, who are formerly homeless or at risk of becoming homeless; or to homeless persons residing in transitional facilities who are prepared to move into permanent housing. Participants in our housing program will also receive family supportive services and counseling. And our workforce development services will be available to them: opportunities will be provided for job mentoring, tutoring if needed, job training, paid internships, and job placements.
By working together with government agencies and with support from community members and our business partners we can help to eradicate the effects of systemic racism and bring all of our community members to safety to live with human dignity, meet basic human needs, and grow to achieve financial stability.
What You Can Do
AACF needs your help in securing apartments to rent for our program participants. If you or someone you know owns apartments and would be willing to contribute to the cause of ending homelessness please reach out to us. We will work with you to cover the rent of a person experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity while providing assistive services to the program participant. We would be forever grateful for your help in our mission to end homelessness.