February 2021 Newsletter: Eviction | RTLO | Tax Season | Policy Focus | Housing Counselor Dispatch | AmeriCorps | Learning & Networking | What We're Sharing | Jobs

Eviction Protections in Illinois

On his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive order instructing the CDC to extend the federal eviction moratorium until at least March 31. In Illinois, Governor Pritzker has extended the stronger state eviction moratorium through March 6. We will continue to advocate for extension of the state and federal moratoriums as long as they are necessary to protect the public health and until sufficient rent assistance funds have been distributed to avoid a wave of evictions. See City Bureau’s guide to Chicago renter rights during the pandemic »


Basic Rights Extended to 245,000+ Cook County Renters

On January 28, Cook County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend basic renter rights and protections to 245,000+ suburban renter households in Cook County. Live in Cook County? Thank your commissioner »

The Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO) will create safeguards against illegal lockouts, procedures for withholding rent until building problems are addressed, and protections against unfair lease terms. It will also prevent landlords from charging absurdly high late fees and security deposits. The anti-lockout provision takes effect immediately, while the rest of the RTLO provisions will go into effect on June 1. Learn more »


Get Ready for Tax Season: Basic Filing Information & Free Resources

Join Legal Aid Chicago and Housing Action for a free webinar on how to help your clients avoid federal tax problems and make sure they receive the maximum amount of benefits to which they are entitled. After an overview of the federal tax filing process, including deductions, tax credits, and eligibility for stimulus payments, we will talk about tax issues related to housing. Then we will discuss where you can send clients for free tax help, whether they need assistance filing a return or help with an IRS problem. We will share information about Legal Aid Chicago’s free tax clinic and resources for free return filing.

February 25 at 2:30 pm CST  |  Free

Register now »


Policy Focus

Federal Action on Housing & Homelessness

  • COVID-19 Relief: Congress is currently debating President Biden's $1.9 trillion comprehensive COVID-19 relief package. The Democratic majority is working to pass a somewhat revised proposal using the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority to pass. The current proposal includes $40 billion to assist renters, people who are experiencing homelessness, and homeowners. Take action and urge your members of Congress to support this proposal.
  • Reimbursement for non-congregate shelter: In January, President Biden made funding for non-congregate sheltering of eligible people 100% reimbursible by the federal government. (Currently, FEMA pays 75% and overburdened states or cities have to pay the rest.) In Illinois and around the nation, homeless service providers are still incurring significant costs housing people in hotels and motels to allow for social distancing. Our thanks to partners at National Low Income Housing Coalition for advocating for this change.
  • Public Charge Rule: President Biden also signed an executive order that sets into motion changes to the previous administration’s harmful Public Charge rule and directs agencies to develop strategies that promote integration, inclusion, and citizenship. As a Steering Committee member of Protecting Immigrant Families-Illinois, we have been part of the national advocacy effort for revocation of the current Public Charge rule.
  • Progress on Fair Housing: In January, President Biden called on HUD to examine whether changes to several rules, made last year during the Trump administration, harmed access to fair housing. The rules include “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice” and “HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard.” We are very glad to see President Biden direct HUD to mitigate racial bias in housing and advance fair housing laws, and we hope this will lead to the reversal of these harmful policies. Learn more here. In February, in accordance with another executive order by President Biden, HUD announced it will enforce the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

State Legislative Advocacy

As the Illinois General Assembly works to safely conduct business with increased use of remote meetings, most session days for February have been cancelled, and certain deadlines for the 2021 session have been extended. That’s provided us a little more time to finalize our legislative agenda, including passage of COVID-19 emergency housing protections (including sealing eviction records) championed by Representative Delia Ramirez, Senator Omar Aquino, and others; this bill will be introduced later in February. Two of our bills that have already been introduced are:

  • House Bill 805, sponsored by Representative Curtis Tarver, establishes a new property tax assessment policy for multi-family apartment buildings to keep rents affordable in higher-cost markets and promotes investment in lower cost markets.
  • House Bill 143, sponsored by Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin, will help seniors, 65 years of age or older, at risk of losing their homes due to unpaid property taxes by making updates and improvements to the existing Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program.

Stay tuned for action alerts in the coming weeks on how you can support these efforts.


Housing Counselor Dispatch

$10 Billion for Homeowners, $100 Million for Housing Counseling in Stimulus Bill

We're happy that the stimulus bill currently under debate includes $10 billion for homeowner relief and $100 million for housing counseling. At least 40% of the counseling funds must be provided to organizations that primarily serve low-income communities of color. The initial proposal did not include funding for housing counseling or funds for distressed homeowners, and the House Financial Services Committee specifically cited recent advocacy as the reason for these additions. Our thanks to National Housing Resource Center, Americans for Financial Reform, and the National Consumer Law Center for leading these advocacy efforts, which Housing Action Illinois and 147 partners across the nation joined.

New Trainings This February & March  

We continue to add more trainings to our schedule! We hope you'll consider joining us for: 

We're hosting our second virtual coffee hour for housing counseling agency staff on Wednesday, February 24 at 10:00 am CST. Please 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: https://zoom.us/j/93210633415.

Want to see what else we've got coming up? Check out our full trainings & events calendar »

Two people looking over a book together at a training

AmeriCorps Updates

By the Numbers

A round of applause for our AmerCorps Summer Associates and full-year AmeriCorps VISTA Members! Between July and December of 2020, our network of service members: 
  • Recruited & managed 598 volunteers
  • Helped bring in nearly $500,000 in cash and in-kind donations
  • Supported 834 individuals facing food insecurity, provided educational programming to 52 youth, and provided other services to 2,122 households 
…and contributed to many more programs and projects not easily summed up in numbers. Thanks to our AmeriCorps members for all of your hard work!

Welcoming Jasper Baur

During the next 5 months, Jasper Baur will be interning with our National Service team as a Research and Alumni Management Specialist. Jasper will be reaching out to former service members to assess how well our AmeriCorps network provides professional development and employment opportunities and to identify ways in which we can improve.  


Help Us Explore Illinois

Illinois is full of interesting corners to explore, and we want to hear about your favorites! Housing Action is compiling suggestions from our members and supporters for adventures that Illinoisans can enjoy safely in 2021. We plan to compile these into a small, print-at-home guide and activity book to share as part of our upcoming annual benefit (stay tuned for more information!) and encourage everyone to take advantage of all the things Illinois has to offer.

Is there an activity or location in your community that you enjoy and would recommend? We will be accepting submissions until February 26, and we hope you will contribute! We look forward to seeing what we can create together. 

Share your idea »

Two arrow trail signs pointing in opposite directions

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!

Member Coffee Hour, 2/18: RSVP to Amina Farha

Hosted by Forefront: Nonprofit Real Estate Strategies: Maximizing Your Leverage in 2021, 2/24: Register

Housing Rights for Immigrant Renters in Illinois, 2/25: Register

Get Ready for Tax Season: Basic Filing Information and Free Resources, 2/25: Register

Master Follow-up with First-time Homebuyers: Creating Effective Email Marketing Campaigns, 3/2–3/16: Register

Hosted by CSH: Healthy Aging Academy, 3/3–6/30: Register

Plain Language 101, 3/11: Register

Hosted by Illinois Housing Council: 2021 IHC Affordable Housing Virtual Forum, 3/15–17: Register


What We're Sharing

$40 million from IHDA aims to help vulnerable Illinoisans maintain housingThe Center Square, 1/30. (article)

Housing Action Illinois is proud to be a state grantee for a new Opportunity Starts at Home initiative that is funding multi-sector work on affordable housing. The funding will support us in leveraging multi-sector partners as we advocate for federal housing policies that benefit our lowest income households. Learn more » (announcement)

Bridging the Digital Divide in Affordable Housing Communities: A Practitioner's Resource for Multifamily Operators (from Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future) explores solutions for affordable housing operators seeking to connect residents to a wide range of online platforms. (resource)

The Mary Kay Foundation's Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program awards up to $20,000 in funding to domestic violence shelters that offer immediate overnight housing. Deadline: 4/30/21. (funding) 

The Funders Network's Partners for Places program offers matched funding investments of $25,000 to $150,000 to create opportunities for cities and counties to improve communities by building partnerships between local government, community-led groups, and place-based local or regional foundations. Deadline: 3/19/21. (funding)

The Andrew Family Foundation offers funding to organizations focused on alleviating disparities in food access, affordable housing, high quality education, physical and psychological healthcare, and criminal justice. LOI deadline: 3/15/21. (funding)


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.

Access Living, Manager of Organizing and Community Development

Apna Ghar, Housing Case Manager

Center for Changing Lives, Bilingual Employment CoachDevelopment Associate

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Northern Illinois Community Organizer & Director of Communications

Connections for the Homeless, Community Organizer

Facing Forward to End Homelessness, Scattered Site Case Manager & Housing Navigator

Habitat for Humanity Chicago, Development Director

H.O.M.E. DuPage, Housing Counselor

IHDA, Program Manager

IFF, Project Manager, Development & Senior Vice President

LUCHA, Director of Programs & Outreach and Engagement Specialist

Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Organizer

People's Resource Center, Manager of Marketing and Communications

Thresholds, Program Director & Housing Outreach Specialist

Renaissance Social Services, Inc., Housing Liaison

U.S. Census Bureau, Field Representative (Chicago Region)


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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