April 2021 Newsletter: Fair Housing Month | Policy Focus | Rental Assistance | Housing Counselor Dispatch | AmeriCorps Updates | Housing Justice T-Shirts | Learning & Networking | What We're Sharing | Jobs

Happy Fair Housing Month

Each April, we celebrate Fair Housing Month to reaffirm our commitment to ending housing discrimination and to commemorate the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act in 1968. 

The ability to access a safe, affordable place to live is deeply affected by a long history of systemic and individual discriminatory policies and practices. Fair housing laws, which protect against discrimination, are crucial, because where you live affects everything else in your life—your health, access to education, opportunities for employment, and more. Unfortunately, housing discrimination and segregation continue to persist in many forms nationwide, and we have a long way to go to build truly inclusive, equitable communities.

Learn more & find Fair Housing Month events »


Tara Joy: More People Need to Know About Fair Housing

“I was interested in learning more about working in affordable/fair housing, so this program seemed like a great opportunity.” Tara Joy found her fit for an AmeriCorps service year at HOPE Fair Housing Center. HOPE is based in Wheaton, Illinois, but serves most of the northern half of the state. The organization works to protect fair housing: the right for anyone to buy or rent a home free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. 

Read about Tara's national service experience »

Tara Joy, AmeriCorps Member
HOPE Fair Housing Center


Policy Focus

New Illinois Community Reinvestment Law Takes Aim at Lending Disparities

On March 23, 2021, in a historic victory for low-income and communities of color in Illinois, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Community Revitalization Act (IL CRA) into law. With this legislation, Illinois joins Massachusetts to become the second state with an oversight system to ensure that residents are equitably served by all three main segments of the mortgage lending market: banks, credit unions, and state-licensed mortgage companies.

Learn more »

Expanded Access to Public Housing for People with Records

Another piece of legislation recently signed by Governor Pritzker is a bill that prohibits public housing authorities from considering a person’s criminal history when deciding whether to rent or lease a housing unit to an applicant, unless it’s required by federal law.

Governor Pritzker signing legislation

Gov. Pritzker signs the IL CRA

Support the Illinois COVID-19 Emergency Housing Act

The COVID-19 Emergency Housing Act would create protections for Illinoisans struggling to pay their rent or mortgages as a result of unprecedented economic instability caused by the pandemic. The bill passed in the Illinois House in March, and we are now advocating for its passage in the iIllinois Senate and for Gov. Pritzker to sign it into law. 

Tell your senator to vote yes »

Two arrow trail signs pointing in opposite directions

American Jobs Plan Would Fund Housing as Infrastructure

Congress and the White House are at work developing legislative proposals to address our nation’s infrastructure needs, including affordable housing. President Biden’s proposal, the American Jobs Plan, is a $2.2 trillion infrastructure and recovery package with a proposed $213 billion in housing investments. This allocation would be “to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live . . . through grants, formula funding, targeted tax credits and project-based rental assistance.” The proposal includes $40 billion to repair public housing, resources to support homeownership and weatherize homes, and new incentives to encourage communities to eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land-use restrictions.

Housing Action Illinois is actively supporting the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s HoUSed campaign to build on this proposal by expanding rental assistance to every eligible household; providing $70 billion to repair public housing and make energy-efficient upgrades to existing public housing stock; and committing at least $40 billion annually for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes.

In other federal funding news, President Biden has released a budget blueprint previewing his FY22 budget request, and it proposes a $9 billion increase (15%) to HUD’s budget over the prior year. More details will be coming soon.

Two arrow trail signs pointing in opposite directions

Federal & Illinois Halts on Eviction Extended

Governor Pritzker has extended the state eviction moratorium through May 1. Tenants who cannot pay their rent must submit a Tenant Declaration Form, available in a number of languages here.

The CDC has extended the national eviction moratorium through June 30.

Two arrow trail signs pointing in opposite directions

More Emergency Rental Assistance Programs Open in Illinois

The State of Illinois and local governments are finalizing programs to provide emergency assistance to renters and rental property owners using funds from the December 2020 federal COVID-19 relief package. A total of $834.7 million in assistance will be available throughout Illinois. Multiple programs are currently open for applications, and we expect the others will open soon.

Learn more & see open programs »

piggy bank, keys, checkbook, and calculator

Housing Counselor Dispatch

Let's Get Certified

Still need to take and pass the HUD Certification Exam? We've redesigned and restructured our online study group to be more interactive and adapt to the needs of each cohort. Join us this April 27–29!

Register for Online Study Group for the HUD Exam: Version 3.0 »

Sip & Serve

We're hosting another virtual coffee hour for housing counseling agency staff on Wednesday, May 12, at 10:00 am CST. Join us with any program questions or just to say hi and tell us about what you’ve been watching on Netflix. Join on Zoom using this link »


AmeriCorps Updates

Now Recruiting for Housing Action AmeriCorps Positions!

Whether you are interested in joining the AmeriCorps program for a summer or an entire year, we have service options at housing nonprofits throughout Illinois. Join us to serve your community and fight poverty.

Learn how you can start your service journey today »

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Cooperating for Co-Ops at CRN

Russell Star-Lack first became interested in housing during college, when he was researching and documenting the history of housing discrimination in the Twin Cities. He wanted to put his knowledge to good use and thought that “AmeriCorps seemed like a great way to transition from that work into the field of affordable housing activism.”

Read about Russell's national service experience »

AmeriCorps logo
Three colorful buildings that read

Get Your Housing Justice T-Shirt

People kept asking for our annual benefit t-shirts, so we reopened shop! Snag yours before the end of April and wear your belief in housing as a human right, housing as healthcare, or YIMBYism.

All proceeds support our work to expand affordable housing and end homelessness in Illinois.

Shop now »

Red t-shirt with yellow text saying housing is a human right

Learning and 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!

Online Study Group for the HUD Exam 3.0, 4/27–4/29: Register

Hosted by South Suburban Housing Center
Reviving Hardest Hit Communities with Racially Conscious Remedies, 4/27: Register

Hosted by Prairie State Legal Services
Let's Talk About Debt, 4/28: Register

Hosted by CCT, MPC, & CNT
We Will Chicago Citywide Planning Initiative Kickoff Conversation, 4/29: Register

Supporting Clients with Diverse Digital Literacy Needs, 5/6: Register

Hosted by the Metropolitan Planning Council
Where The Sidewalk Ends: Building a More Walkable Chicago, 5/11: Register

Sip & Serve: Housing Counseling Agency Coffee Hour, 5/12: Join with this link at 10 am

Designing a Disaster Preparedness Program: What Non-Profits Should Know, 5/18–5/21: Register


What We're Sharing

The Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO) has officially passed, and new lockout provisions went into effect immediately on January 28. The rest of the ordinance provisions will take effect as of June 1. We are sharing educational materials for renters on our RTLO webpage, including:

Affordable housing tax credit bill advances out of committee, Effingham Daily News, 4/19/21 (article)

NLIHC has released online its Advocates’ Guide 2021: A Primer on Federal Affordable Housing & Community Development Programs, a comprehensive resource for advocates and others involved in many aspects of affordable housing and community development. (resource)

Housing advocates plan next steps amid pandemic economic uncertainty, Capitol News Illinois, 4/5/2021 (article)

How racial justice push sparked new CRA law in Illinois, American Banker, 3/30/2021 (article)

Funding is available through HUD’s Older Adult Home Modification Program, which supports comprehensive programs that make home modifications and limited repairs to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners to enable them to age in place. Awards range from $500,000 to $1.2 million. Applications due 5/4/21. (funding)

The FHLB of Chiago will open the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) General Fund on 5/3, which will allocate $28.6 million to subsidize the acquisition, new construction, and/or rehabilitation of affordable rental or owner-occupied housing. Applications due 6/11/21. (funding)

Community Heart & Soul $10,000 seed-grants are now open for resident-driven groups in small cities and towns (populations of 2,500 to 30,000) to apply. Grant funding requires a $10,000 cash match from the participating municipality or a partnering organization. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.


Who's Hiring 

Note: All job postings are from Housing Action Illinois, our members, funders, and organizations to which we belong. Have an opportunity we should list? Let us know.

Housing Action Illinois

Housing Action Illinois is seeking someone who has at least three years of experience with a nonprofit, community-based organization for our Housing Policy Organizer position. Apply by May 7 »

We are also recruiting for summer and full-year AmeriCorps positions hosted through our network at member organizations. Join us to serve your community and fight poverty. Learn more and apply »

Access Living, Various Positions

Chicago Urban League, Various Positions

Chinese American Service League, Various Positions

Community Service Council of Northern Will County, Housing Counselor

Connections for the Homeless, Various Positions

Facing Forward to End Homelessness, Housing Navigator

Garfield Park Community Council, Garden Network Assistant

H.O.M.E, Housing Counselor

IHDA, Data & Reporting Specialist

IHDR, Director of the Fair Housing Program 

Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing, Housing/Community Engagement Attorney (bilingual)

LUCHA, Outreach and Engagement Specialist & Director of Programs

Phoenix CDS, Various Positions

POAH, Various Positions

Renaissance Social Services, Inc., Various Positions

Thresholds, Various Positions

Woodstock Institute, Development Director


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 | communications@housingactionil.org



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