November 2019 Newsletter: Annual Conference |Member Spotlight | AmeriCorps VISTA Network | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Giving Tuesday | Save the Date | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs
No matter what time of year it is, we're always grateful for everyone in Illinois who is working to expand and protect affordable housing. Thank you to the housing counselors and developers, homeless service providers and government workers, lenders and policymakers, advocates and community organizers, neighbors and supporters who are helping us create an Illinois where everyone has a good, affordable place to call home.
Thank You for a Great Conference
Thank you for joining us in Bloomington at the 2019 Housing Matters! Conference on October 24 and 25. We hope you enjoyed the conference and that you came away with valuable new information, ideas, and connections. Presentations and materials are available on our website, and if you'd like to check out photos of our two days of workshops, networking, and fun, you can head over to our Facebook album.
The most popular reasons for coming to the conference were networking and hearing from experts, according to post-conference feedback survey respondents. Ninety percent of respondents said they'd be back next year—so we hope to see you then!
Thanks to Members like Over the Rainbow Association
In 1974 a small group of parents in Des Plaines, Illinois, opened a thrift store, hoping to raise funds to create independent housing options and a better future for their children with disabilities. Over the next forty-five years, their venture would grow into a nonprofit that helps hundreds of individuals with disabilities each year: Over the Rainbow Association (OTR).
OTR’s mission is to encourage independent living for individuals with disabilities by creating affordable, accessible, barrier-free housing. Their residents come from a variety of backgrounds, but all have struggled to find housing in a state that ranks 44th in the nation on its overall performance serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"The need is enormous," said OTR Executive Director Eric Huffman. "We‘ve provided a home for people who didn’t have a real home before."
OTR's fourteenth building—Kirwan Apartments, in Waukegan, IL—will open in early 2020.
Thankful for the AmeriCorps VISTA Program
Housing Action is now accepting host site applications for the upcoming year's AmeriCorps VISTA cohort. VISTA Members fill a wide variety of roles to help organizations throughout Illinois fight poverty, end homelessness, and protect affordable housing. Your organization can apply to host a VISTA for a full year or a ten-week summer term—or both.
With snow on the ground and the holidays coming up, August 2020 might seem a long way off—but it's getting closer, and the deadline to pass the HUD Housing Counseling certification exam will be here before you know it. Housing Action's Wanda Collins is here to help you get ready for the test. Sign up for our Countdown to Certification email series, and every week, Wanda will share practice test questions, study tips, and resources to keep you on track while you study.
We will continue to host our Online Study Groups, but our December group has already filled up! Registration will open soon for our February group; stay posted.
Hope LoanPort (HLP) will cease to operate its free service as of December 31, 2019. HLP is a free tool that housing counselors use to submit documentation and communicate with banks and servicers on behalf of clients who are working to avoid foreclosure. After December 31, organizations that want to continue to use this technology may be able to contract directly with HLP’s tech partners, though prices and the level of service may be different.
#GivingTuesday is right around the corner! This holiday season, we hope you will consider making a gift to Housing Action Illinois or one of our many member organizations. Your support matters; your generosity ensures that we can continue working to make sure everyone in Illinois has a good, affordable place to call home.
Together, we can make a difference—every dollar helps make the change we want to see in the world.
Mark your calendars: the Fourth Annual Toast to Housing Justice is happening on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Join us for our annual benefit at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Chicago, featuring a fun evening of pizza, beer, and exciting raffle and silent auction packages. We look forward to seeing you there!
Quarles & Brady's Legal Alert for Nonprofits explains how new Chicago lobbyist registration requirements (effective January 1, 2020) will affect individuals who interact with the City of Chicago on behalf of nonprofit organizations.
The Institute for Housing Studies' Mapping Stories of Neighborhood Change maps locations from media stories about real estate investment and development against neighborhood displacement pressure market typologies.
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.