Johnny Pitts has been receiving help from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) for about five years, saying the organization is what helped get him back on his feet.

“Before I got into AFC, I was hopeless, had no where to stay [and] was going from house-to-house,” Pitts said. “It’s hard to be out here by yourself [and] having somewhere to stay [that] gives you better peace of mind.”

The AFC has been in operation for more than three decades and helps those battling homelessness while living with HIV and other chronic illnesses.

“There is a great need for housing in Chicagoland for people living with HIV,” said Brandi Calvert, Vice President of the AFC.

What Calvert also said is that the need for housing is much greater than the current funding available.

“In the time the AFC has maintained a housing list, it was like one or two, maybe ten people about three or four years ago,” Calvert said. “And now it’s up over 1200. That demonstrates the amount of need [in Chicagoland].”

That need could be addressed through the passage of House Bill no. 2481, sponsored by Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. The proposed bill, if passed, could provide as much as $79 million more in investments going toward housing programs across the state of Illinois.

“With the bill, we’d be able to get further in housing 4000 people in need of housing in our area,” Calvert said.

The proposed bill is still in committee, with the Spring legislature session ending Friday.