The vision of the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care (“CoC”) is to end homelessness in Fulton, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties (“CoC service area”) by ensuring access to permanent, safe and affordable housing. With comprehensive, coordinated services, individuals and families can maintain self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life.
Established in 1994, the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care is a united coalition of community systems including nonprofit and government organizations. With the implementation of performance measures by state and federal funding entities, the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care partnered with the Heart of Illinois United Way in 2016 to build a sustainable system that will significantly impact homelessness in central Illinois.
Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care Point-In-Time Count
HUD requires a point-in-time count of homeless persons who are living on the streets, places not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters and transitional housing. In 2018, the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care reported 400 total homeless, of these:
- 54% Male and 46% Female
- 55% White, 36% Black, 6% Multiracial and 3% Asian or American Indian
- 26% Under Age 18 (accompanied by an adult), 4% Ages 18-24, and 70% Over Age 24
Interim Shelter Model
Access to stable housing is the foundation upon which all other support, including health care, is built. While there is not a single solution to address homelessness, an interim shelter model that utilizes the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “Housing First” approach prioritizes the basic need of shelter before other needs. Since late 2017, OSF HealthCare has collaborated with the Heart of Illinois United Way and the Continuum of Care to support an interim shelter model that integrates case management provided by Phoenix Community Development Services (formerly South Side Office of Concern) with homeless shelter services at The Salvation Army.
“The interim shelter program is a great example of two long term United Way agencies, The Salvation Army and Phoenix Community Development Services, working together to improve the lives of those in our community. Housing is healthcare and OSF HealthCare is grateful to be able have a role in this excellent collaborative effort,” said Robert L. Brandfass, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer for OSF HealthCare as well as Chair of the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care and a Heart of Illinois United Way Board Member.
With OSF HealthCare’s support, the percentage of individuals in central Illinois leaving interim shelter services and moving into permanent housing has doubled. With an additional interim shelter at Dream Center, homeless families and individuals are obtaining safe and stable housing at a faster rate while improving life skills and overall health.
Over the last year, lives have been transformed by the interim shelter model including the life of Thomas who had spent eight years utilizing The Salvation Army’s shelter. Once Thomas began receiving case management services from Phoenix Community Development Services, he moved into his own apartment before Thanksgiving. The support he received not only improved his overall physical and mental health; it also helped Thomas connect to job training.
Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care Governing Board
Patricia J. Bash
Department of Veterans Affairs
South Side Mission
Advocates for Access
Greater Peoria LISC
Pekin Entitlement Jurisdiction
Heartline & Heart House
Jeff A. Gress
Imago Dei Church
Bob Michel VA Outpatient Clinic
First United Methodist Church
University of Illinois College of Medicine
Phoenix Community Development Services
Children’s Home Association of Illinois