Nearly 50 families are homeless in Rockford, but the city is just now addressing it. That's because until now, it hasn't been able to identify who exactly is homeless in our area.
Earlier this year -- a study was commissioned to see exactly how many people are living in homelessness in our area. Months in to the research, more light is being shed on the problem.
In January the study showed 11 families were homeless -- that number rose to 48 families in August. The number of homeless youth is following a similar trend -- since January that number doubled from 15 to 30 this summer.
"Obviously we don't want our numbers to grow, but if its more reflective of the reality -- we wanna know about it," Angie Walker, the Rockford Housing Advocate says.
The city says its work on the study is not done. In fact, it says the research launched in January has its flaws.
"Last year was the first year we did it and we did it kind of at the last minute," Walker says.
That's why the group is starting to plan for next year now with a new committeee. That committee will also be responsible for finding housing for those youth.
"We're hoping by getting everything ready to go a little sooner and having our partners on board already that our partner agencies that are on the committe will be able to help us with the count," Walker says.
One of those groups that will help out the city is Rockford Public School District 205
"We're on board to try to assist them in the educational aspect of our homeless youth population making sure those homeless youth don't have any barriers to their education because of their living situation," Mary Trujillo with the Families in Transition program with Rockford Public School District 205 says.
Finding housing for youth on the street, a goal both the city and district hope to reach by the end of 2018.
The city adds 19 percent of homeless families in our area are homeless because of domestic violence.