Tucked behind these trees is a life most will never know. Yet it takes just a glance to know what it's all about. For some, homelessness is easily detectable. But for many these days, it's becoming families you'd never suspect.
"Because of the economy because of sometimes problems with domestic violence, homelessness could take on a very different look than people might expect so the awareness campaign is going to help us get that information out," says Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.
The City of Rockford will do that on billboards like this one and on radio and TV ads to show just how big of a problem homelessness is growing to be. New numbers just released from January show 480 people live on the streets. Most of them are men like Thomas Iberson.
"There's quite a few people here who's life is just kicked out from underneath them you gotta stay somewhere," says Iberson.
Legal troubles led Iberson to the Rockford Rescue Mission. Which is helping more now than ever. Edward Corso credits the non-profit for turning his life around.
"I was in for the nine month program and now I'm out on my own and have my own apartment and I'm doing very well," he says.
It's that kind of success city leaders want us to know about. And also be aware of what may be hiding. That way we can get a handle on this problem before it gets any worse.
There is also a growing amount of homeless children. But the city did not get a good handle on the official numbers when the population was surveyed last winter.