Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has approved $2.55 million in grants to provide housing services for HIV-positive people in the state.

The funds will support 17 HIV/AIDS organizations statewide. Each organization will receive $150,000 to be used for lodging, meals, case management, substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

Earlier this month, The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) launched a campaign designed to secure increased funding for housing services, claiming that more than 200 HIV-positive Chicagoans could soon be homeless if the city did not receive more housing money.

For people living with HIV, housing is a critical element of healthcare. John Peller, AFC’s director of political action, said, “If [HIV-positive people] have a decent place to live and eat properly, that leads to a direct reduction in viral loads and improvement in T-cell and CD4 counts.”