041124CM0908 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons passed legislation through the Senate aimed at improving access to affordable housing for young people experiencing homelessness, particularly those struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse.

“This bill is directly informed by community partners and constituents who have told us many young people age out of programs and services when they turn 18, putting them in limbo for additional support services until they turn 21,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “By lowering the eligibility age to 18, we can help more young people when they need it most preventing future housing insecurity and instability.”

The Housing is Recovery pilot program seeks to provide affordable housing through a combination of rental subsidies and access to recovery support services or treatment for individuals contending with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Simmons’ measure would expand the eligibility criteria for the Housing is Recovery pilot program by lowering the age of eligibility from 21 years to 18 years.

“I am hearing from community partners and constituents that they or the many young people they serve "age out" of existing programs and services at 18, leaving them in a state of uncertainty until they reach 21,” said Simmons. “Lowering the eligibility age can help break this cycle of vulnerability and instability.”

Senate Bill 3297 heads to the House for further consideration.