July 2020 Newsletter: Out of Reach | Policy Focus | 2020 Census | COVID-19 Relief | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Just Housing Initiative | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs
Report: Rent Unaffordable for Illinoisans Even Before Pandemic
In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in Illinois, renters must earn $21.30 per hour. This is Illinois’ 2020 Housing Wage, revealed in Out of Reach, a national report jointly released in Illinois by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Action Illinois. “Congress needs to act during July to keep people from losing their homes,” says Bob Palmer, Policy Director of Housing Action Illinois. “We expect existing resources for emergency rental assistance to be quickly exhausted based on current needs." To prevent a wave of evictions and spike in homelessness, "We need a large-scale federal investment and renter protections such as those proposed in the HEROES Act."
HUD Rule Would Allow Anti-Transgender Discrimination at Shelters
On July 1, HUD announced it will release proposed changes to the Equal Access Rule. The changes would weaken protections for transgender individuals experiencing homelessness and seeking emergency shelter by allowing shelter providers to deny admission or access to services that are consistent with an individual’s gender identity. Discrimination is never acceptable, but this proposal is particularly dangerous during the pandemic, when no one should be without a safe place to stay. One in three transgender Americans has been homeless at some point in their lives. National organizations have launched a campaign called Housing Saves Lives to oppose this anti-transgender rule.
House of Representatives Disapproves of New CRA Rule
The House passed a resolution in late June to disapprove of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency’s final Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rule, which was released in May. While overturning the rule would take an additional Senate vote and the President's signature, it is important to have members of the House on record disapproving of the new rule, which weakens the CRA, a critical tool for promoting bank investment in low-income communities and communities of color. Housing Action Illinois urged our House members to vote in support of resolution, including signing a national letter circulated by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
House Proposes Increase in HUD Funding
A House subcommittee bill rejects—for the fourth year in a row—the dramatic and severe cuts to HUD proposed by the administration. Instead, the bill proposes an increased investment in housing programs serving low-income communities, with overall funding at $13 billion above the President’s request (and $1.5 billion over the prior year). Importantly, the bill would prevent HUD from advancing the proposed anti-transgender rule change (see above) and bars HUD from finalizing its proposed rule to force mixed-status immigrant families, including 55,000 U.S. citizen children, to separate or face eviction from HUD housing. Read the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s breakdown and analysis.
2020 Census: Your Voice Matters
On August 11, census takers will begin visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census. All census takers will wear masks and follow health and safety protocols to protect themselves and the public. You still have time to respond online or by phone, making it unnecessary for a census taker to visit your home.
Only 66.8% of Illinoisans have responded to the 2020 Census so far. It's critical to get a complete and accurate count. If you've already filled out the census, please encourage others to do the same.
$145,000 in COVID-19 Relief Awarded to Homeless Service Providers
Housing Action has regranted $145,000 in COVID-19 relief to 14 homeless service providers throughout the state, thanks to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. This is our second round of relief funding; in May, we were able to subgrant $340,000 to 30 organizations for programs helping Illinois residents remain in stable homes or access housing.
Recipients include agencies such as Call for Help, which usually provides 60 adults and young children a place to stay at its East St. Louis campus. The agency has used the funds to cover hotel and motel stays for its clients and to support other individuals and families who are sheltering in place.
Call for Help’s staff assembles care packages for their clients, using bags donated by Molina Healthcare.
Housing Counselor Dispatch
HUD Exchange has released new, interactive dashboards that display a variety of state and national housing counseling statistics. They include information on impacts and services by income level, race, ethnicity, type of counseling, and more. They also have a detailed infographic about how housing counseling helps people reach their housing goals.
Are you ready to learn with us this summer? We've converted all of our trainings into virtual opportunities and have added new ones to help nonprofits adapt during the pandemic. Join us this July to learn about:
The Just Housing Amendment protects more than one million Cook County Residents with arrest and conviction records from housing discrimination. People with records, like everyone else, deserve a place to call home.
To help people understand their new rights as they apply for apartments, we have created a brochure explaining the protections, which is now available in Spanish as well as English.
Designing a Disaster Preparedness Program: What Non-Profits Should Know, 7/27, 7/28, & 7/31: Register
Equity in Action: Power & Privilege, 7/29: Register
Fundamentals of Rental Housing Counseling, 8/3-8/5: Register
Counseling Clients with Student Loans, 8/6-8/7: Register
Save the Date: Housing Matters! Conference Going Virtual
Housing Action Illinois is partnering with the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations to bring you our 2020 conference as part of a national virtual forum called Strengthening Resilient Communities. National sessions will be October 13 – 23, with Illinois sessions on October 13 – 15. Registration will open later this summer.
Note: All job postings are from Housing Action Illinois members. Have an opportunity we should list? Let us know.
Become an AmeriCorps VISTA Member
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.
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.
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