Many Illinois families that need access to affordable housing are finding it more difficult this year to get on a waiting list for housing vouchers.
A new report from Housing Action Illinois and Heartland Alliance shows 72 percent of Illinois' public housing authorities have closed waiting lists.
Housing Action Illinois policy director Bob Palmer says the number of closed lists has jumped 16 percent since 2007 as the Illinois poverty rate also continues to grow.
"Families that need affordable housing can't even get in line to get a Housing Choice Voucher to help them pay their rent. So, that puts them at risk of homelessness."
Palmer says while restoring the vouchers will help, it's only part of alleviating Illinois' poverty problem.
"Increasing the number of Housing Choice Vouchers available is just one solution, and we would support things like raising the minimum wage, creating more living-wage jobs, using other programs, public and private, to increase the amount of affordable rental housing."
The study claims the only waiting lists that are open are in rural areas of Illinois, but those have only just a few slots left to fill.
Waiting lists are open in several southern Illinois areas, including Saline, Randolph, Marion, Richland and Shelby counties. Waiting lists are closed in Jackson, Williamson, Franklin and Jefferson counties.