February 2020 Newsletter: Policy Focus | Community Revitalization Challenge | Annual Toast to Housing Justice | Census 2020 | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Staff Updates | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs
We Need Your Voice
The Trump Administration is working to roll back basic civil rights protections and open the door to housing discrimination. A series of recent attacks make this clear, including proposals to weaken the Community Reinvestment Act and gut Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Please take the time to speak up and say no to both of the proposed rule changes explained below. The number of comments, especially if personalized with even one additional sentence, really matters!
Protect CRA Investment in Low-Income Communities
Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) could redirect billions of dollars in lending and investment away from low-income and minority communities. Currently, banks meet their CRA requirements by providing capital for affordable housing, small businesses, and economic development in low- and moderate-income communities. Now, a Trump administration appointee is proposing CRA rule changes that could redirect these funds to sports stadiums, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. The proposal would make redlining legal again by permitting banks to avoid investment in low-income and minority neighborhoods. It would make banks far less accountable and connected to the communities they are required to serve. The comment deadline is March 9.
The Fair Housing Act requires local governments to take actions that undo historic patterns of segregation and other types of discrimination, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities. However, HUD recently released a proposal that would gut the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, a landmark 2015 regulation that provides guidance and tools to address segregation and discriminatory practices. This would allow communities to ignore the essential racial desegregation obligations of fair housing law. We are working with allies across the nation to urge HUD to abandon this ill-conceived proposal. The comment deadline is March 16.
The Supreme Court has green-lighted the public charge rule, which will punish people seeking permanent resident status if they use public supports to meet their family’s basic housing, health, and nutrition needs. We are deeply disappointed by the this ruling. The case is not over—technically, this ruling temporarily blocks the nationwide injunction that would have hit pause on the rule—but we will continue to work with allies across the nation to oppose it. Thankfully, the public charge rule will not go into effect in Illinois because it is blocked by a state injunction.
New Opportunity to Partner with Financial Institutions
Housing Action's Community Revitalization Challenge connects community-based organizations with financial institutions to design and implement projects that may be eligible for CRA credit. These collaborations will expand access to affordable housing and promote economic development opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents throughout Illinois.
Interested in participating? Submit up to three project ideas for review by March 13. Application materials and resources are available online. For more information, email us at CRCInfo@housingactionil.org.
Get Your Tickets: Let's Catch Up & Toast to Housing Justice
We're excited to catch up with old friends and make new connections at our fourth annual benefit. Will you raise a glass to affordable housing with us at Lagunitas Brewing Co. on March 31? We're planning a fun evening of pizza, beer, music, and friendly faces—and a chance to win great prizes at our raffle and silent auction. Best of all, by attending, you'll support Housing Action's work toward an Illinois where everyone has a good, affordable place to call home.
Can't make it to the benefit? You can still support Housing Action. Make a donation »
Are You Ready for the 2020 Census?
Census mailers go out on March 12! Are you ready to explain why the census matters? We need to help everyone understand that a full, accurate count is critical for Illinois. The data will affect the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding and determine how many legislators Illinois has in the U.S. House of Representatives (we’re at risk of losing two). Right now, Illinois receives $20 billion to support things like housing, health care, education, and emergency services. Join us in spreading the word: everyone counts.
Illinois ranks 27th in the nation on the prosperity of its residents, according the 2020 Prosperity Now Scorecard. The Scorecard assesses all states on their relative ability to provide opportunities for residents to build and retain financial stability and wealth. View the Scorecard for trends in delinquent mortgage loans and foreclosure rates, homeownership data by demographic characteristics and in comparison with the rest of the nation, and more.
The Clock Is Still Ticking on the Countdown to Certification
Six months—that's all the time that's left for housing counselors to take and pass the HUD certification exam before the August deadline. Make sure you're ready! Registration is now open for the April session of our online study group.
When Chris learned about the Advocacy Organizer role at Housing Action Illinois, he knew it was a good fit. He was interested in Housing Action’s work to expand affordable housing, and he was already acquainted with the organization: “I heard about Housing Action after the Just Housing Amendment was passed last legislative session,” he explains.
We’re excited to welcome Chris August to the Housing Action team! Chris joined us in January as an Advocacy Organizer. He will work closely with Policy Director Bob Palmer to implement our policy agenda. He will also work on outreach and engagement with member associations.
2020 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application materials and FAQs are available on the Illinois Housing Development Authority's website. Apply by 3/23.
Through J-Pal North America's Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator, organizations can apply for technical assistance and funding to design a rigorous evaluation of programs that reduce homelessness, prevent eviction, or promote housing stability. Submit LOI by 4/6.
Resources & Reports
Debt in America: An Interactive Map (Urban Institute) visualizes state-by-state information on debt: who is in debt, the type of debt, and concentrations of debt in a given area.
The Opportunity360 Community Dashboard (Enterprise Community Partners) offers a plethora of neighborhood-level data on five key measures of opportunity: housing stability, education, health & well-being, mobility, and economic security.
Racial Equity Network Action Steps (The National Alliance to End Homelessness) provides strategies that communities may find useful in planning to address racial and ethnic disparities and improve equity in their homelessness systems.
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.