Mayor Morrissey Sets Goal to End Homelessness by 2016

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The more than 3,000 homeless people in Rockford could have a home by the end of next year.

A lofty goal set by Mayor Larry Morrissey to eradicate homelessness in the Forest City is drawing mixed reviews.

Vincent Johnson is spreading his message of hope to the homeless. Johnson has lived on the streets for the past year but change is coming.

"Mostly what I've been thinking about is how it's going to feel to walk through that door and be able to say it's mine," says Johnson.

Johnson expects to be in his new home by the ned of the month, but thousands of others still don't have a roof over their head. Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey says we can change that. He wants to find everyone a home by the end of next year.

"By identifying specific names and working each and every week, keeping track of those individuals, finding them. It's an incredible amount of work, but by the end of the day, it's not super complex, it's just a lot of work," says Mayor Morrissey.

Morrissey says the city will work with faith-based organizations like Carpenter's Place to make his vision a reality. Last year, the agency helped find 282 people find homes. Executive Director Kay Larrick says she hopes the Mayor's plan works, but says it's a daunting task.

"When you look at just thinking of having that many physical units of housing available in an affordable condition, that seems like a huge challenge," says Larrick.

Johnson knows that challenge first hand, but believes Morrissey's mission can be accomplished.

Mayor Morrissey says other cities like New Orleans have had success with similar plans. The first step of the plan is to end homelessness among veterans by the end of this year.

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