colorful houses in a row

July 2021 Newsletter: Annual Member Meeting | Policy Focus | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Welcoming Mare | Member Spotlight | AmeriCorps Updates | Learning & Networking | What We're Sharing | Jobs

2021 Member Meeting

This year, at our annual membership meeting, Housing Action Illinois will be joined by State Representatives Delia Ramirez and Will Guzzardi and State Senators Anne Gillespie and Mattie Hunter. The legislators will discuss the significant affordable housing victories secured during the recent state legislative session, such as the Affordable Housing Omnibus Bill and the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Act. We will also discuss what comes next, looking toward what future policy priorities lie ahead.

The meeting will be on September 1 at 12 pm CT. Everyone is welcome to join, whether or not you or your organization are official Housing Action members.

Register now »

Heading saying 2021 Member Meeting: Roundtable with State Legislators followed by legislator headshots

Policy Focus

Affordable Housing Is Out of Reach for the Lowest Income Renters

In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in Illinois, renters working full-time need to earn $22.11 per hour. This is Illinois’ 2021 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released jointly in Illinois last week by Housing Action Illinois and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). While pandemic relief funding will help, unless legislators step up and pass bold, significant federal interventions, housing will continue to be out of reach in Illinois and across the nation.

Learn more »

Out of reach publication cover

Illinois Eviction Moratorium to Phase Out by End of August

Last week, Governor Prtizker announced that eviction filings against those covered by the Illinois moratorium can begin again on August 1, though enforcement of eviction orders cannot be carried out until after August 31.

On July 15, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a revised order to align with the resumption of eviction filings. This establishes a one-month period in which county court judges will stay residential eviction proceedings against those covered and refer people to emergency rental assistance programs.

We expect another round of statewide rental assistance to open this fall.

Visit to connect to a service provider who can help people apply for rent assistance and for free legal help for renters facing eviction. Housing Action will continue to regularly update our summary of federally funded rental programs in Illinois as new information becomes available.

Out of reach publication cover

Housing Counselor Dispatch

Introducing the Housing Counselor Corps

Housing Action Illinois is excited to bring together two of our programs—supporting housing counseling agencies and managing a network of AmeriCorps VISTA members—for a new initiative: the Housing Counseling Corps. We will place AmeriCorps VISTA members with agencies in need of new talent and HUD-certified housing counselors. After a year of service, these AmeriCorps members will be well-positioned to begin a job as a certified counselor at their host site or another housing counseling agency.

We plan to launch this initiative in the fall of 2021.

Learn more »

jigsaw puzzle graphic

7-Point Plan to Create 3 Million Net New Black Homeowners by 2030

3by30 is a newly launched plan by the Black Homeownership Collective that identifies tangible, actionable, and scalable steps that will make it possible to increase Black homeownership by 3 million net new homeowners by 2030. Housing Action's David Young has been active on this initiative's housing counseling task force, and we look forward to continuing to partner on this national effort.

Learn more »

3 by 30 graphic outlining 7-point plan to increase Black homeownership

HUD Certification Deadline Just Around the Corner

As of August 1, 2021, all housing counseling offered in connection with HUD programs must be provided by HUD-certified housing counselors. Congratulations to all of the housing counselors in the Midwest who have passed the exam! We're proud to say that Illinois is one of the top 5 states for HUD-certified housing counselors: 93% of Illinois agencies have certified counselors. Nationally, 90% of agencies now have certified counselors.

90% of housing counseling agencies nationwide have certified housing counselors

Welcoming Mare Ralph

Housing Action is excited to welcome Mare Ralph as a National Service Program Associate. Mare completed a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Kentucky Youth Career Center and worked as a teacher, mentor, and restorative justice facilitator while in Kentucky, before returning to Chicago for graduate school. They interned at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law while earning a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mare has organized space for queer and transgender youth as a co-founder of Girls Rock Louisville and currently sits on Girls Rock! Chicago’s Board of Directors and the Girls Rock Camp Alliance’s Caucus Advisory Council. They also participate in mutual aid with Market Box. They live in South Shore with their partner, dog, and many cats.

Photo of Mare Ralph, sitting and wearing blue polo shirt

Member Spotlight: Lazarus House

Lazarus House, an emergency shelter in St. Charles, Illinois, first opened its doors in 1997. Like many shelters, early on in the pandemic, Lazarus had to work hard to be able to safely provide services for those in need. The first challenge they had to overcome? Retro-fitting their rooms to comply with social distancing mandates. “Initially, our Emergency Shelter guests were moved to hotel rooms to ensure their health and safety,” explains Julie Purcell, Lazarus House’s Executive Director. “While most felt much more comfortable with this option, for others, isolation was an additional challenge to what they were already experiencing.” 

Read more »

Room with evenly spaced blue cots

AmeriCorps Updates

Welcome to Our Summer Associates

Housing Action Illinois extends a warm welcome to all of the new Summer Associates serving for 8–10 weeks with their host organizations! We wish you the best of luck during your term of service. 

Last Call: Recruiting for Full-Year AmeriCorps Members

Our survey of 169 AmeriCorps VISTA alumni from our network shows that serving with one of Housing Action's member organizations can pave the way for a nonprofit career, help make a difference in your community, and be a meaningful way to learn about housing and homelessness. Out of our survey participants, 94% reported securing employment six months after finishing their term of service.

Would you or someone you know be a good fit?

Apply now to start by August 30 »

Fabian Cisneros, AmeriCorps VISTA Member with Northwest Side Community Development Corporation.
Read about Fabian's service experience »


Thank You to Our Funders

Housing Action Illinois extends our sincerest thanks to all of the funders listed below, and to those who wish to remain anonymous, for supporting our work this year: 

Ameren Illinois • Associated Bank • BMO Harris • The Chicago Community Trust Fund • Corporation for National and Community Service • Cuore e Mani Foundation • Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago • Fifth Third Chicagoland Foundation • First Midwest Bank • Harris Family Foundation • Huntington Bank Foundation • Midland States Bank • National Low Income Housing Coalition • Neighborhood Stabilization Corp. • Pierce Family Foundation • PNC • Polk Bros. Foundation • Providence Bank & Trust • Signature Bank • U.S. Bank • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Wintrust • Woods Fund Chicago


Learning & Networking 

Note: All event postings are from Housing Action, our members, funders, and organizations to which we belong. See our full trainings & events calendar. Have something coming up that we should list? Let us know!

Hosted by CAFHA, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, SSHC & UPLC
Housing Rights and Conviction Records, 7/21: Register

2021 Illinois KIDS COUNT Report and Illinois Housing Issues, 7/26: Register

Hosted by Housing Opportunities for Women
Rx Housing: Maternal and Children's Health, 7/27: Register

Hosted by Woods Fund Chicago, CLCCRUL, & Partners
Legal and Compliance Issues for Grassroots Advocacy Organizations, 7/28: Register

Hosted by The Chicago Community Trust
We Are Healing Illinois, 8/3: Register

State of the Community Reinvestment Act Under the Biden Administration, 8/5: Register

Hosted by Housing Choice Partners & Legal Aid Chicago
Know Your Rights: Fair Notice and Fair Credit Reporting, 8/13: Register

Housing Counselors Sip & Serve, 8/18: Register

Save the Date

Housing Matters Conference: October 4–8

After last year’s success, Housing Action is holding our annual Housing Matters conference virtually again—and rejoining partners to bring it as part of Resilient Communities: The National Forum! We'll host plenary sessions with top national speakers and collaborative sessions, while still bringing Illinois-specific workshops on local topics with our state’s experts and decision makers.

Learn more & get a sneak peek at Illinois sessions »



What We're Sharing

Affordable housing is a crucial part of our nation’s infrastructure, Crain’s Chicago Business, 7/14/21 (news)

100,000 Illinois renters could face eviction this summer, Census Bureau says, The Center Square, 7/14/21 (news)

Almost 300,000 have applied for local pandemic rent relief. Another round of assistance could be coming, The Chicago Tribune, 6/24/21 (news)

Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance's new report, Public Housing Authority Homeownership Programs: Scaling Up a Powerful, Yet Underutilized Tool to Restore Wealth Building Opportunities (resource)

IHDA has released their 2021 Housing Blueprint, the result of a new comprehensive planning process intended to capture the changing needs across our state and map a new future for accessible and equitable housing in Illinois. (resource)

NCRC is conducting a major study on the experiences of interracial couples in the Baltimore and Chicago housing markets. Couples chosen will receive at least $500. One partner must be African American, and the other must be white; one must own a home in which they reside. Married, unmarried, same-sex, and different-sex couples all welcome. To learn more, email Jake Lilien at (survey opportunity)

NLIHC’s case study on the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s 2020 Emergency Rental Assistance Program illustrates how emergency rental assistance programs that are designed to be simple and accessible facilitate timely distribution of critical emergency funds to low-income households disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (resource)


Who's Hiring

Access Living, Community Development Organizer – Immigration & Latinx

Facing Forward, Director of Development

HOPE Fair Housing, Director of Program Development & Fundraising

La Casa Norte, Grants Manager & Permanent Supportive Housing Program Supervisor

Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, Supportive Services Director

Metropolitan Planning Council, President & CEO

National Public Housing Museum, Oral History Archive Manager

NLIHC, ERASE Project Coordinator

Renaissance Social Services, Community Outreach Manager & Housing Liaison

Sarah's Circle, Director of Program Services & Administration & Rapid Rehousing Case Manager

Thresholds, Service Coordinator & Outreach Specialist


Your support makes a difference. Let's build an Illinois where everyone has a good, affordable place to call home.


Housing Action Illinois
67 E. Madison Street, Suite 1603 | Chicago, Illinois 60603
312-939-6074 |

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