SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Harry Benton, D-Plainfield, is working to end veteran homelessness with a new law expanding access to affordable housing for returning service members.
“America owes its veterans a debt that can never be fully repaid, and the fact that many of them have been allowed to become unhoused is a national shame,” Benton said. “That’s why we should prioritize them with policies designed to get them back into secure shelter. Housing is perhaps the most fundamental of our basic needs and no veteran should ever have to go without.”
Benton led Senate Bill 2005 through the House of Representatives. The law adds a requirement that public housing authorities create policies granting housing preference to unhoused people who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces or of the Illinois National Guard.
The bill was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.
“When it comes to veterans, this country has made a contract with them. They risked their lives and gave us years of service,” Benton said. “That has to be worth something if we as a nation want to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror. They took care of us and now it is our job to take care of them.”