(The Center Square) – A new state law will provide free housing for those at risk of drug overdoses or mental disorders.
Governor JB Pritzker signed Bill 449, a bill that will provide affordable housing for people at risk of drug overdose or mental health problems.
State Senator Cristina Castro sponsored the bill. He created the Housing is Recovery pilot program. The program provides permanent housing to people who are homeless, addicted to drugs or have mental health problems.
The pilot housing program aims to help those at risk while providing them with a safe place to stay. However, there is no obligation for the occupants to seek help, said State Senator Dave Syverson.
“There must be a need for help,” Syverson said. “So a drug addict who has a drug addiction problem is not satisfied with free housing so that they can continue their activities.”
Castro said the people who have chosen to be a part of the program are determined to improve.
“There is no requirement, but they have to engage with mental health care providers and they have to be prepared to be part of this program,” Castro said.
Mental health assistance will come from the Mental Health Division of the Department of Social Services and would provide affordable housing through the use of a transitional rent subsidy.
Castro said in a statement that this program should be a top priority for the state.
“Supporting those who struggle the most in our communities is a top priority,” she said. “Taking a housing-focused approach to mental illness and addiction will help ensure the most vulnerable are treated with dignity and compassion. “
The program takes effect immediately.