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Gov. Pritzker Visits Peoria and Quincy to Highlight FY24 Budget Investments in Poverty Prevention and Higher Education

Press Release - Monday, June 05, 2023

The Governor's fifth balanced budget includes historic investments in programs including Home Illinois and the Illinois Grocery Initiative

PEORIA— Governor JB Pritzker continued his statewide budget amplification tour with stops to Peoria and Quincy. The FY24 budget is Illinois's fifth balanced budget under Governor Pritzker and is preceded by eight credit rating upgrades, a "rainy day" fund set to surpass $2 billion, the elimination of the bill backlog, and $1 trillion in GDP. The Governor was joined at the stops by Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and state and community leaders to highlight investments in poverty prevention, food security, and increased funding for higher education.

At the Governor's first stop in Peoria, he visited Phoenix Community Development Services (CDS), an organization whose goal is to end homelessness and provide the individuals, families, and veterans they serve with a warm, safe place to live independently. During the event, the Governor highlighted budget investments including the Home Illinois program and the Illinois Grocery Initiative, which were developed to fight poverty and ensure equitable access to the resources Illinois families need.

"The foundational elements of life are food access and housing. Addressing poverty is a moral imperative. And every family stabilized when we meet that moral imperative not only lifts them up, it lifts up our state and our country toward economic success, national security, productivity, and public safety," said Governor JB Pritzker. "At the end of the day, this is about building a future where everyone, regardless of their zip code, race, or economic status, has their basic needs met — food and housing included.

"As we travel the state, our administration is making it clear that every Illinoisan deserves the opportunities to thrive. In education, in housing and food access, and so much more, we are standing in the gap," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "This balanced budget works to ensure every community can move forward and grow with us, by investing in our students and teachers, and strengthening our core values so that no family—regardless of where they live, the color of their skin, or their income—goes hungry or lacks the necessary resources to succeed."

A core investment in the FY24 budget is Home Illinois, which is a first-of-its-kind multi-agency plan focused on building state and community infrastructure to prevent and end homelessness. This program is a collaborative effort between state agencies, community organizations, and advocates that builds a strong safety net and creates housing options for Illinoisans facing homelessness and housing insecurity.

The budget increases funding to fight homelessness by $48 million, bringing total state investment to over $350 million. This funding goes towards supporting homelessness prevention through affordable temporary and permanent housing units, homeless youth services, street outreach, and other programs.

Home Illinois will be led by Illinois' first-ever Chief Homelessness Officer, Christine Haley, who brings 18 years of experience to the mission of preventing and ending homelessness.

The FY24 budget also invests $20 million in the new Illinois Grocery Initiative. This funding will aid municipalities in setting up grocery cooperatives and assist independent grocers opening or expanding operations in underserved rural towns and urban neighborhoods alike. The Grocery Initiative also provides resources toward purchasing fresh, nutritious food specifically from Illinois growers.

To further support families across the state, the budget also increases Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by $35 million, helping 27,000 residents who experience extreme poverty cover basic necessities like transportation, electricity, and food.

"A state budget cannot be responsible without also being compassionate," said House Speaker Pro Tempore Jehan Gordon-Booth. "This budget works to uplift our most vulnerable, while also supporting the individuals and organizations who work hard every day to help their neighbors. I appreciate the work and advocacy of Phoenix Community Development Services and look forward to the profound impact this budget will have on communities across the state."

"Homelessness has plagued communities across our state for far too long. Our investment toward the Home Illinois program will help thousands across the state find a brighter future ahead," said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler. "This funding will assist the fight against homelessness by providing housing and job opportunities to those who need it."

"The challenges of housing insecurity—or even homelessness—make it impossible for many people to build stronger futures for themselves and their communities. Home Illinois will give people those chances," said State Rep. Sharon Chung. "Empowering economic growth was a major budget priority and this funding reflects that."

The Governor continued his tour with a stop at John Wood Community College in Quincy to highlight increased investments in higher education. The FY24 budget includes a $100 million increase for public universities ($80.5 million) and community colleges ($19.4 million), marking the highest increase in more than two decades.

With an additional $100 million in MAP Grant funding, everyone at or below the median income has the option to attend community college for free. This, along with a $15 million increase in funding for the AIM High merit-based scholarship, will make higher education more attainable for students across the state.

"Our new state budget officially grows direct support for higher education institutions by 7%, the largest in more than 20 years. And between MAP and other programs, we've increased in-state college scholarship funding to a record-breaking all-time high of more than $750 million," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Illinois has the third largest community college system in the nation - and each opens doors to higher wages, new careers, and better jobs. We're making sure insurmountable debt doesn't stand between working-class residents and the opportunity of a degree."

John Wood Community College was founded in 1974 to provide residents with high-quality, low-cost higher education. The College serves a district that expands into nine counties in west central Illinois, and offers day, evening, online and open learning classes. John Wood offers a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, with three degrees specifically designed to accommodate students transferring to four-year colleges.


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