Project NOW is participating in a rural Illinois 100-Day Challenge on Homelessness in Mercer County and three other rural communities that calls on cities and counties to take immediate action to address homelessness.
RE!NSTITUTE, in partnership with the Illinois Office to Prevent and End Homelessness and SHPA (Supportive Housing Providers Association), is helping to facilitate the challenge. With the support of a RE!NSTITUTE coach, each of the four rural areas will assess the inner workings of their jurisdictions, set a goal on the number of people they will house in 100 days, determine what needs to change to achieve that goal, implement their challenge and lock in the lessons learned for lasting change, according to a news release.
Project NOW’s Director of Community Services Ron Lund said his team is working with many partners to identify people experiencing homelessness and landlords who could possibly house them, the release states. The 100-Day Challenge began in late April, and so far, 33 individuals have been identified in Mercer County.
In the release, Mr. Lund says his plan is to identify 100 unhoused individuals and connect 50 of them to safe and stable housing.
The challenge partners include: Project NOW, Community Action Agency; Mercer County Health Department; Mercer County Sheriff’s Department; Genesis Medical Center, Aledo; Mercer County Better Together; Mercer County Housing Authority; Mercer County Senior Center and local school districts.
The three other communities involved in the 100-Day Challenge are located in Central and South Central Illinois, and Will County.
“We are encouraged by the urgency of this initiative. Far too often, people experiencing rural homelessness are overlooked and underserved,” said Project NOW executive director, The Rev. Dwight Ford, in the release.
“The context is different, but the pain is common: trauma, instability, fear and vulnerability. We are committed to building partnerships to find a better way forward in anchoring families in stable and affordable housing.”