colorful houses in a row

December 2021 Newsletter: In Memoriam | Growing Hope | Rental Assistance | Policy Focus | End of Year Giving | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Welcoming James | Member Spotlight | AmeriCorps Updates | Learning & Networking | What We're Sharing | Jobs

In Memoriam 

We deeply appreciate the work and dedication of longtime housing advocates and allies: Larry Biondi of Progress CIL, Bernarda "Bernie" Wong of the Chinese American Service League, Deborah White of Mid Central Community Action, and Keith Freeman of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Our thoughts and condolences go out to their colleagues and families. 


Growing Hope in 2021

Although 2021 was another challenging year, we are proud of the achievements of our communities, members, and allies in our ongoing work to end homelessness and expand affordable housing. We invite you to celebrate these accomplishments and the hope they create for our communities in 2022 and beyond.

Read Growing Hope in 2021 »

Growing Hope 2021 Cover image of a sunflower

Statewide Rental Assistance Now Available

The Illinois Rental Payment Program, administered by IHDA, is now accepting applications for emergency rental assistance. Applications are due by January 9. Contact IHDA with questions about the program: call 1-866-454-3571 or email questions.ILRPP@ihda.orgLearn more and apply. The City of Chicago’s Department of Housing is also now accepting applications for their local rental assistance program. Applications are due December 28Learn more and apply.

State and local governments in Illinois continue to be leaders in nationwide efforts to distribute emergency rental assistance to prevent evictions and help maintain stable, affordable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about federally funded rental assistance programs in Illinois »

Picture of calculator, piggy bank, and house keys lying on a table

Emergency mortgage assistance is not yet available. Illinois has submitted its Homeowner Assistance Fund plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Once it is approved, the state will begin accepting applications to assist homeowners impacted by COVID-19, most likely in early Spring 2022. Sign up for program updates »


Policy Focus

Speak Up for a Strong IL CRA

The recently passed Illinois Community Reinvestment Act (IL CRA) gives us an opportunity to increase access to credit and capital in Illinois communities. How this will work is still being decided—right now, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is creating rules to implement the legislation. Help shape this new legislation into an effective tool to increase financial inclusion for communities of color and rural communities. 

Submit your comments or add your organization to our letter »

Model house behind stacks of coins

Remind Senators Duckworth & Durbin: We Will Build Back Better with $150 Billion for Affordable Housing

In November, the House approved the Build Back Better Act on a partisan vote, and we are thankful to all of Illinois' Democratic House members for voting in support of the bill. Now it will go to a vote in the Senate. Our Senators, Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, have been supportive of the bill’s housing provisions, which include $150 billion in funding for affordable housing and tax credits to create affordable homes—but hearing from you will make it easier for them to make the case to protect affordable housing resources as negotiations over the size and scope of the bill continue. 

Take action »


Affordable housing is infrastructure

Support Affordable Housing

We've accomplished a lot in 2021, but none of it would be possible without your support. Together, we can make a bigger impact and create a future where everyone in Illinois has a place to call home. We hope that you'll consider supporting our work today by making a contribution or becoming a monthly donor. 

Enter to win Chicago Bulls tickets with a donation of $50 or more!

Support Housing Action Illinois This Holiday Season Donate Today -- Image of snowman

Our Housing Justice T-shirts are Back!

We've released a new collection of housing justice shirts featuring new designs and styles to keep you warm this holiday season. Snag your favorite today. 

Shop now »

Three of Housing Action's housing justice shirts

Housing Counselor Dispatch

Introducing the Housing Counseling Career Path

Are you new to the field of housing counseling—or looking to join it? Housing counselors play a vital role in helping people achieve their housing goals—and housing counseling agencies in Illinois and across the nation are hiring now. Let us kick off your career in housing counseling.

Join us from January 11-20 for The Career Path, a six-session training program designed to help you understand the basics of housing counseling and prepare to pass the HUD Individual Certification Exam. As a HUD-Certified counselor, you'll become eligible for hire by a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. 

Register »

Picture of arrows pointing upwards, a person with a telescope standing on top one of the arrows

Welcoming James

Welcoming James Miller as a Full-time Staff Member

Housing Action Illinois is excited to welcome James Miller on board as a Capacity Building Specialist. James first joined Housing as a Capacity Building AmeriCorps VISTA in December 2020. As a Capacity Building Specialist, James will be providing direct assistance to housing counseling and real estate development organizations, conducting research, and assisting the Capacity Building team in implementing strategic initiatives that advance the housing counseling and affordable housing development sectors.

Photo of James Miller

Member Spotlight: North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic

“People often think that housing problems don’t exist in the suburbs,” says Nareen Kim, Director of Housing Law Practice at North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic. “But the housing landscape has changed.”

Founded in 2015, North Suburban is providing free legal help in the areas of housing, domestic violence, and immigration to residents of north suburban Cook County and Lake County. Over the years, the Clinic has evolved to best address the needs of the communities that they serve. 

Read more about their work »

Lesley Rodriguez, our housing community navigator, giving a rental assistance presentation

AmeriCorps Updates

Apply to Host an AmeriCorps Member

AmeriCorps members can help your organization build the capacity to advance its mission in new ways, implement pilot projects and new programs, and grow existing services and programs.

Each year, Housing Action matches up to 30 full-year AmeriCorps members and 30+ Summer Associates with host sites across the state. The deadline to apply to host an AmeriCorps member is January 28, 2022. 

Please email to request an application.

Fighting Hunger and Homeless Through Service

Jack Sulsa, AmeriCorps VISTA at Chicago Furniture Bank, joined a discussion with VISTA Director Meg Ansara and fellow VISTA members from around the country to share how their service is helping impact hunger and homelessness in their communities, the impact of their work during COVID-19, and how it embodies the AmeriCorps' mission.

Watch the full discussion here »


Screenshot of AmeriCorp Panel on Fighting Hunger and Homelessness

VISTA Director Meg Ansara and VISTAs William Farley, Grace Romania, and Jack Sulsa discuss the impact of their service


Learning & Networking 

Events from Housing Action, our members, funders, and organizations to which we belong. Submit your listing »

Hosted by NCRC
CRA and Race, 12/15/21: Register

Hosted by Metropolitan Housing Council
Past, Present, and Future: The MPC Legacy, 12/16/21: Register

Housing Counseling Career Path, 1/11-1/20: Register

Hosted by National Low Income Housing Coalition
Virtual Housing Policy Forum 2022: Achieving Housing Justice, 3/22-3/23: Register

See all Housing Action events »


What We're Sharing

The Chicago Racial Justice Pooled Fund is providing grants between $25,000-$50,000 to nonprofits that are Black-led and use grassroots community organizing as a primary strategy to dismantle systems of oppression. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. (funding opportunity)

The Corporation for Supportive Housing report, Bending the Arc Toward Equity, provides practical approaches to organizations looking to center racial equity and end homelessness. (report) 

The Peace Development Fund is awarding grants between $2,500 to $7,500 to community-based organizations working to shift power, build a movement, dismantle oppression, and create new structures. Apply by 12/29/21. (funding opportunity)

The Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and Community Advisory Council on Homelessness are seeking community feedback on what should be included in the State Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. Provide feedback by 12/30/21. (survey)

The Rumphius Foundation is awarding grants up to $6,000 to organizations that support racial equity, environmental & social justice and that are currently leading projects that strengthen communities and protect the environment. Apply by 1/15/22. (funding opportunity)


Who's Hiring

Jobs from Housing Action, our members, funders, and organizations to which we belong. Submit your opening »

Housing Action Illinois has been collaborating with the National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) to expand the field of housing counseling. As part of this initiative, NHRC just launched a jobs board to help match HUD-certified housing counselors and agencies with open positions. Find or post a housing counseling position at »

Access Living, Colbert and Williams Program Housing Locator & Community Development Organizer

Association for Individual Development, Various Positions

C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Council, Housing Counselor

Chicago Community Loan Fund, Asset Manager, Construction & Senior Loan/Program Officer

Chinese American Service League, Policy & Research Analyst & In-Home Service (INH) Coordinator

FHLBank, Residential Mortgage Compliance Specialist

Great Lakes Credit Union, Housing Counselor

HANA Center, Various Positions 

HOPE Fair Housing Center, Executive Director

Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing, Housing Attorney

LUCHA, Director of Development

National Low Income Housing Coalition, Development Specialist

Navicore Solutions, Credit Counselor

North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, Staff Attorney, Housing Law Practice & Director of Development

Northwest Side Housing Center, First Time Homebuyer Counselor

Phoenix Community Development Services, Director of Housing & Community Development & Homeless Outreach/Housing Specialist

Renaissance Social Services, Inc., Housing Liaison & Outreach Worker


We are stronger together. Join us in the fight to create an Illinois where everyone has a good, stable place to call home.


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

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