More than 2,000 state employees report to work at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago's Loop.  But the building, constructed in the early 1980's, has a host of problems.  Repairs will be costly.  The State of Illinois is moving forward in an effort to sell the facility, which some say is an architectural gem.  We look at the pros and cons of the Thompson Center on this epsiode. 

Also, the tragic story of young women who suffered radiation poisoning working at an Illinois factory. That and more on Statewide.

Sarah Jesmer

Efforts to end homelessness in Rockford have been nationally recognized. Community members have achieved a "functional zero" of veteran and chronically homeless populations. Now, the focus is turning to other populations.


Last summer, Chantil was forced to leave the townhome she shared with her two daughters and her mother in Des Plaines. (We’re withholding Chantil’s last name to protect her family’s privacy.) Her landlord wanted to sell the building, and Chantil had only about a month to find a new home. Landlords, however, kept turning her down because of her credit, and her income. Chantil makes $12 an hour at a department store.

City of Rockford

Rockford is expanding its homelessness surveys to include young people. 

The Register-Star reports the new focus comes as the city achieved "functional zero" for veteran homelessness in 2015.  This means the number of veterans entering homelessness equals the number coming out. 


Illinois will receive federal money to prevent and end homelessness. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a nearly $105 million grant for local projects across the state; there are approximately 416 homeless housing and service programs in Illinois.

Of that, DeKalb County will receive $568,565. Winnebago and Boone counties will get $1,528,983.

HUD Says Illinois Homelessness Declined in 2016

Nov 19, 2016

The US Department of Housing And Urban Development says homelessness declined in Illinois this year.

Homelessness is about 20% lower in Illinois than in 2010, but more than 11,000 people are homeless on a single night in Illinois this year.t. That same data shows a similar decline in veteran homelessness, and a 36-percent drop in homeless families.

HUD compiled the numbers from national estimates, as well as a “snapshot” of homelessness on a single night last January.

Budget Stalemate Affecting People Outside Of Homes

Feb 23, 2016

The budget impasse between Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the legislature could make the state's homelessness problem worse for a long time to come.


Sue Loellbach is with Connections for the Homeless.

"The longer an adult stays on the street, the more likely it is that they're going to get sick or become sicker. And the more likely that they'll become chronically homeless,” Loellbach said.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Rockford is the first community to effectively end homelessness among its veteran population as part of a national effort called Zero: 2016. Dozens of communities are participating in the campaign.

Beth Sandor, director of the Zero: 2016 Movement, said, “Rockford had to demonstrate that it was able to house more veterans every month than were homeless in the community.”

To date, Rockford has housed 73 veterans.

Rural Homelessness An Overlooked Problem

Dec 8, 2015
Shannon Butler

A quieter, harder-to-detect problem than its urban counterpart, rural homelessness nonetheless leaves its mark on people and communities.

“I think the perception for many people is homelessness is primarily an urban problem that they associate with folks you might see out on the street who have literally no place to go,” says Bob Palmer, policy director for Housing Action Illinois, a statewide advocacy organization. “But we really try to make the point that there’s homelessness in all parts of the state.”


Homelessness in Illinois ticked up slightly this year. But it’s been trending down nationally over the years with one major exception.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s latest national estimate of homelessness says Illinois’ overall rate rose half-a-percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. 

But, HUD says, overall homelessness in Illinois is still down 8.5 percent from 2010. That compares to an 11 percent decline nationally.

Dan Klefstad / pixlr

WNIJ's Community Close-up of DeKalb examines how a community supports its most vulnerable members.

About 44,000 people live in DeKalb.  Another 5,000 students live on campus at Northern Illinois University. The city is also host to a growing number of people who sleep in their cars, on their friends’ couches, or in the county’s only homeless shelter: Hope Haven.