As Illinois reopens, social services are making a comeback at a critical time

“You wonder how they’re doing, how they’re holding up without the assistance and the meals,” he said.

Don Thebeau, 52, of Pinckneyville, was not one of those regulars. But he said after losing his part-time job at the start of the pandemic, he had to jump into a world he had never before experienced — housing and income insecurity.

Our new analysis shows that problems are widespread across the state of Illinois. Illinois’ HUD inspection failure rate is among the worst in the nation for the two types of properties that the department funds and inspects: apartments owned by public housing authorities and complexes run by for-profit or nonprofit owners under contract with HUD to house low-income people.

He bounced from couch-to-couch trying to find some stability until he was told about Good Samaritan House in Carbondale. But even when he called he had to wait a week before finding a bed in the emergency shelter. He stayed there for a short time until he moved to the transitional housing program about a month ago. He said the entire experience has opened his eyes.

“I had always … looked at people that didn’t have a place to be a certain stereotype,” he said.

“When it happened to me, myself, my whole mind just changed about the outreach programs and the soup kitchens and the warming centers,” he said.

He said the need is more profound than he had previously realized.

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“I hate to even think about what I would have done (without Good Samaritan House),” Thebeau said.

Good Sam isn’t the only service doing its best to keep options available for those in crisis. Diana Brawley Sussman, director of Carbondale Library, said the library has done its best to help as many in the community as it could despite the inherent challenges that came with COVID precautions.

Region: Southern,Local,City: Carbondale,Region: Carbondale

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June 18, 2021 at 07:25PM

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