May 2020 Newsletter: Policy Focus | COVID-19 Relief | 2020 Census | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Talking About Housing & Homelessness | Community Revitalization Challenge | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs
Before Going Home, Legislators Must Act on Illinoisans' Housing Needs
Today, the Illinois General Assembly is back in session in Springfield for the first time since early March for a very abbreviated legislative session.
On May 12, Governor JB Pritzker urged the legislature to pass a coronavirus economic relief package, including assistance for struggling renters and homeowners.
Housing Action Illinois also calls on our legislators to take such action, as well as maximize the State of Illinois’ federal CARES Act resources for rent and mortgage assistance, including the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
In the budget for the next fiscal year, programs such as Homeless Prevention, Emergency and Transitional Housing, and Supportive Housing need to be protected and expanded. These programs serve people who have lost their home or are at risk of doing so.
We also urge the General Assembly to pass the COVID-19 Emergency Renter and Homeowner Protection Act, HB5574 (House Amendment 1), recently introduced by Representative Delia Ramirez. This comprehensive bill provides financial relief for renters and landlords, establishes a 180-day moratorium on foreclosure and eviction proceedings, and expands protections for Illinoisans from housing discrimination.
Join us in speaking up—email your state legislators today!
House Passes HEROES Act with Key Housing Resources and Protections
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act,” a $3 trillion relief bill to help the nation respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to your advocacy and efforts of our partners across the nation, the bill includes top housing priorities, including $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, $11.5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants, $75 billion for a Homeowner Assistance Fund, and $100 million for housing counseling. See a more detailed breakdown »
In the coming weeks, we will join partners around the country in advocating to get the Senate majority leadership and the Trump administration to support these and other provisions in the HEROES Act that meet the urgent needs of people experiencing or on the brink of homelessness.
COVID-19 Relief for Homeless Service Providers
During the COVID-19 crisis, homeless service providers have had to balance providing much-needed services to even more clients while also meeting new health guidelines. To help support these agencies, Housing Action has regranted $340,000 in COVID-19 relief funds—which we received from the Illinois COVID-19 Relief Fund and the National Low Income Housing Coalition—to thirty direct service organizations throughout Illinois.
Illinois' response rate for the 2020 Census is currently at about 65 percent. That's below our 2010 rate of 75 percent, but we can still catch up and beat that number. It's easy to do your part: fill out the census. You can respond online, by phone, or by mail.
Already responded? Make sure your friends, family, neighbors—everyone you know—has taken a moment to do so, as well.
Census data will used to allocate billions of dollars for vital programs over the course of the next decade and will determine how many legislators we get in the U.S. House of Representatives. Together, we can make sure Illinois gets the investment we need to take care of our communities.
Online Training: Fundamentals of Rental Housing Counseling
Learn how to help clients with the rental process from beginning to end. This training covers the essentials of rental housing counseling to help you create a new rental counseling program or streamline an existing one. You'll also learn how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting renters and how to stay up to date on new developments. Register now »
The Countdown to Certification is Still On
Still need to pass the HUD housing counseling certification exam? Join us from June 8–12 for another round of online study group sessions. Join all five or pick the topics you want to prioritize. Study with us »
Talking Homelessness & Housing During COVID-19
The way we frame our case for expanding affordable housing and ending homelessness matters tremendously as we call for additional resources and policy changes in response to COVID-19. We have the opportunity to find shared values, align messaging, and make a greater impact together. Housing Action has put together guidance and examples of constructive, forward-looking messages. View the guide »
8 Organizations Move Forward in the Community Revitalization Challenge
In March, participating organizations submitted a total of 18 initial project ideas to Housing Action's Community Revitalization Challenge—an initiative to connect community-based organizations with financial institutions to design and implement projects that expand access to affordable housing and promote economic development. Now, eight organizations will move forward to the next round and develop their ideas into full proposals. Congratulations to:
Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County • Central Illinois Land Bank Authority • Embarras River Basin Agency • Ezio Community Development Services • Journeys | The Road Home • Phoenix Community Development Services • Resources for Community Living • Restoration Urban Ministries
What We're Sharing
COVID-19 Resources Related to Housing & Homelessness
Housing Action continues to compile information and resources to help those working in homelessness and affordable housing in Illinois as we all respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please reach out to let us know if you have related questions, concerns, or suggestions.
COVID-19 Relief Funds and Initiatives are rolling out in Illinois and across the nation. Visit the Nonprofit Operations & Funding section of our COVID-19 resources page for national, statewide, and local opportunities.
Virtual Legal Clinic for Small Businesses & Nonprofits (Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights): Eligible nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 can receive information on relief programs and free legal advice during a 30-minute remote consultation with a volunteer attorney.
Learning & Networking
Due to COVID-19, many events have been canceled or postponed. Below are online opportunities for learning.
Note: Going forward, job postings in our newsletter will be a benefit for Housing Action Illinois members only.
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.