April 2020 Newsletter: COVID-19 Information & Resources | Policy Focus | Census 2020 | Just Housing Initiative | Housing Counselor Dispatch | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs
Housing Action Illinois staff will be working remotely until further notice. Our team of dedicated, passionate staff members continue to support housing nonprofits and homeless service providers and advocate for Illinoisans facing housing instability during this difficult time. Please consider joining us in our efforts by supporting our work.
It's never been clearer that housing is healthcare.
Dear friends, supporters, and advocates:
In the past few weeks, the COVID-19 virus has spread rapidly throughout Illinois. Our communities have been hit hard by the public health crisis, and we are all facing challenges and uncertainty.
But while the coronavirus affects us all, it does not affect us all equally. COVID-19 is unmasking and magnifying the unequal investment in our communities, systemic injustices, and the impact of residential segregation.
It wasn’t okay that Illinois had people sleeping on the sidewalk and families paying more than 50% of their income on rent before this pandemic. It isn’t okay now, and it won’t be okay after. As we respond and recover, we must build communities that are better for all of us, and that means making sure that we can all stay at home when we need to.
In this difficult time, I am inspired by the hard work and dedication of our members, who continue to serve our communities in the face of mounting challenges. Thank you to all of the homeless service providers, housing counselors, affordable housing providers, and other Illinoisans on the front lines working to support people facing housing instability. Be safe and take care of yourselves as you care for others.
Wishing you and yours all the best,
Sharon Legenza Executive Director
COVID-19 Information & Resources for Housing Professionals
We continue to compile information and resources to help those working in homelessness and affordable housing in Illinois as we all respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please reach out to let us know if you have related questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Tell Congress to Address Urgent Housing Needs, So We Can All Stay At Home When We Need To
At the end of March, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided $12 billion in housing resources. Our thanks to everyone who emailed or called our legislators; your advocacy made this happen, and it’s a critical first step.
However, much more is urgently needed, and plans for the next coronavirus relief package do not include resources to address the critical needs of people experiencing homelessness and facing housing instability.
While experts advise everyone to stay at home in Illinois and around the country so as to protect our collective health and safety, we must make sure everyone has a home of their own. Housing Action Illinois and partners across the nation are calling on Congress to ensure that the next relief package includes $11.5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants, a national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and $100 billion for emergency rental assistance.
Contact Illinois senators and representatives today to urge them to address the critical housing needs of our lowest-income neighbors.
For each person who goes uncounted by the census, Illinois could lose as much as $1,800. We can’t afford to leave that money on the table. Let’s make sure we get the funding we need for vital housing programs, roads and bridges, health care, and more.
By now, you should have received your invitation to fill out the 2020 Census. Sheltering in place? You can respond online, by phone, or by mail.
The Just Housing Amendment is now in effect in Cook County, which means that 1+ million residents with arrest and conviction records are now protected from housing discrimination.
We want to help people understand their new rights as they apply for apartments, especially as individuals are released from institutions such as jails, prisons, and detention centers in response to COVID-19. We've created a brochure explaining the protections.
Telehealth Support for Housing Counselors in Illinois
Are you dealing with stress and anxiety as you switch to working remotely and continue to support clients during this difficult time? You aren't alone. The Community Service Council, a member and Intermediary Affiliate of Housing Action Illinois, is offering professional clinical counseling to help housing counselors deal with anxiety, stress, and other related issues. To make an appointment for a session that will take place via phone call or Zoom, please contact the CSC office at (815) 886-5000.
Online Learning: COVID-19 Updates & HUD Exam Study Group
Join us in early summer (June 8–12) for another round of online study group sessions that help you gear up for the HUD housing counseling certification exam in a supportive, peer-learning environment. Join all five sessions or pick the topics you want to prioritize. Sign up for study group sessions »
COVID-19 Relief Funds and Initiatives are rolling out in Illinois and across the nation. Visit the Nonprofit Operations & Funding section of our COVID-19 resources page for national, statewide, and local opportunities.
Free COVID-19 Response Volunteer Listings: When posting a volunteer opportunity on Idealist, you can now check "related to COVID-19" right below the description field for your posting to get connected with individuals looking for COVID-19 response opportunities.
Learning & Networking
Due to COVID-19, many events have been canceled or postponed. Below are online opportunities for learning.
The Housing Policy Organizer will be responsible for implementation and management of portions of Housing Action’s Public Policy Advocacy and Public Education and Organizing programs, including our advocacy work on local, state and federal spending, as well as our legislative and other policy efforts.
It's recruitment season for Housing Action Illinois' AmeriCorps VISTA network! We have full-year VISTA positions open for candidates who want to serve their community at one of our member organizations.