Chance 4 Change - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Chance 4 Change

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

The cold winter temperatures often mean struggles for people living on the streets.

But a new initiative will give homeless people not only a bed, but a permanent home.

For the past 6 years, Jose Reyes was used to the street curb as his bed. Not anymore.

"Now I don't have to worry about freezing out there anymore, I got a shower, I got a TV." said Reyes. "I feel more comfortable now."

The once homeless man found help through a new program "Chance 4 Change".

A program so new, he is the first to take part in it.

The goal is to find homeless people a place to live and help them rebuild their lives.

Something that's difficult for many homeless people.

"They are being sent place to place and having the door slammed in their face." said Angie Walker a Housing Advocate for the City of Rockford.

Here's how it works. The most needy homeless people, who reach out for help, get placed in permanent housing.

However, the program doesn't start until January 2nd, partly because the group is still looking for places to put the homeless people.

Walker says finding those places won't just benefit the homeless but also taxpayers

"Right now we are paying for homeless folks that need ambulance transportation, that need to stay at the hospital, that go to jail and sometimes its not anybody that's even sick or really even committed a crime." said Walker. "Its because they needed a place to stay. Housing a person is so much cheaper than paying for these emergency services."

Reyes once called an ambulance just to have a place to stay warm. Something he won't be doing anymore now that he's living at the lafayette hotel off Mulberry St.

"Life's a lot better now, its going to get better like it used to be." said Reyes. "I don't have to worry about where I'm going to be next time and I don't have to worry about freezing either."

If you're interested in learning more about the program, you can go to the Winnebago County Health Department at 555 N. Court Street.

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