The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday awarded a record two billion dollars to support thousands of homeless housing and service programs.
The state of Illinois will receive 109-million dollars to support over 400 homeless housing and service programs.
Transhouse - a program that is part of the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless - will receive over 61-thousand dollars.
Coalition executive director Camille Dorris says this funding is primarily used to lease housing units from local landlords to shelter homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless.
"They're coming out of shelters. They may be living on the streets, living in their vehicles, possibly even faced some kind of catastrophe like a home fire, or something like that has prompted them to become homeless."
Dorris says the Transhouse program has six units in Jackson, Williamson and Saline counties.
She says they generally work with low-income residents who receive additional support from other funding sources to prevent them from becoming homeless again. This can include budgeting, going back to school, and help with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Dorris says the annual count for the homeless in southern Illinois is coming up later this month, but she admits the number will not be accurate.
"As good a job as we can do at counting individuals and families who are homeless, we know that we are missing so many. Particularly in rural areas, they're more hidden. They're not as visible. They are living in the woods. They are living in tents. They are going from household to household, living on people's couches, porches, everywhere."
The counts in recent years have turned up around 350 unsheltered people in the southern 27 counties.
Nationwide, around 554-thousand people are classified as homeless.