July 2019 Newsletter: Policy Focus | Annual Conference | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Outreach Caravan | Member Spotlight | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs

Policy Focus

Housing Action Illinois Joins National Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign

The consequences of America’s affordable housing crisis spill over into many other areas, such as the education, health care, civil rights, anti-hunger, homelessness, and anti-poverty sectors. Leading organizations from these sectors have joined together to form Opportunity Starts at Home, a national campaign to meet the rental housing needs of our nation’s lowest income households through federal policies that protect and expand affordable housing. Housing Action Illinois is excited to announce our designation as a formal state partner of the campaign.


Early Bird Conference Registration

Join housing professionals from around the state at our annual conference on October 24 & 25 in Bloomington and save $50! Each year, we build expertise, experience, and the capacity to make our communities better. This year's theme is FOR ALL—because we believe everyone should have a good, affordable home. Last year, we even hit capacity, with nearly 300 conference participants coming together to learn and network. Sign up by August 16 to reserve your spot and save $50!


Housing Counselor Dispatch

HUD Certification Exam Online Study Group

The countdown begins: housing counselors have a year to become HUD-certified! By August 1, 2020, all individuals who provide housing counseling in connection with a HUD program must have taken and passed the HUD certification exam. We'll be helping you prepare to pass the test. On August 6, we're bringing together a panel of newly certified counselors for a webinar on tips and tools for taking the exam.

Housing Action's Capacity Building Specialist Wanda Collins will also be hosting another round of her successful study group series from August 19–23 to help you gear up for the exam in a supportive peer-learning environment.

Have you already taken and passed the HUD exam? Let us know »

Reverse Mortgages and Loss Mitigation Training

Join Housing Action Illinois and Legal Aid Chicago (formerly known as LAF) for a free in-person workshop on reverse mortgage foreclosure and loss mitigation. During the session, Senior Attorney Ainat Margalit and other experts will cover the basics of reverse mortgage and foreclosure and explain the rights of people in foreclosure.


Hitting the Road: 2019 Caravan

Every year, we travel throughout Illinois to visit with our member organizations in their communities, host regional gatherings, and take the pulse of housing issues in rural, suburban, and urban Illinois. This year, in addition to visiting agencies, we facilitated trainings in East St. Louis, Springfield, and Rockford.

Housing Action's Bibian Cristino helped housing counselors learn to advise clients seeking rental housing, Timm Krueger coached staff members from small nonprofits on marketing strategies, and Kristin Ginger and Hoda Fakhari worked with residents of permanent supportive housing on how to tell stories that build understanding and create change.

Staff on swings in Granite City

Partners from the Community Builders Network and Housing Action's Marketing & Communications Consultant Timm Krueger in Granite City


Lake County Ends Veteran Homelessness

Congratulations to Lake County on becoming the second community in the state to effectively end veteran homelessness! Among the many key players who made this happen are Housing Action Illinois member organization Lake County Coalition for the Homeless and the AmeriCorps VISTA members serving there.

Sam McDonnell, Lake County's full-year VISTA member, organized the 2018 Point-in-Time Count. "Thanks to Sam’s dedication and work, we implemented two new smartphone apps to assist with survey collections and navigation, accepted donations and distributed kits for the first time, and had a record number of volunteers participate," says Executive Director Brenda O'Connell. "The information our volunteers gathered will help us develop housing solutions for the future.”

Lake County VISTA Site Supervisor Brenda O’Connell, Housing Action Outreach Coordinator Willie Heineke, current Lake County VISTA Dan Kletzing


What We're Sharing 


Our Executive Director, Sharon Legenza, spoke with the Chicago Tribune about housing costs outpacing local wages.

Our Policy Director, Bob Palmer, spoke with NPR Illinois about the investment of $200 million in affordable housing in our capital budget.

One of our Capacity Building Specialists, Wanda Collins, spoke with HSH.com about the importance of homebuyer education.


Partners for Places Funders' Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities will match grants that create opportunities for cities & counties to improve communities through partnerships with local government & place-based foundations. Deadline July 30.

Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program is accepting applications to fund supportive rental housing for very-low-income individuals aged 62 years or older. Deadline August 28.

Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposals from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is available for projects that explore cutting-edge ideas & emerging trends in developing a culture of health. Deadline October 15. 

Resources & Reports 

Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research 2019 Report on Illinois Poverty, The Gender Disadvantage: Why Inequity Persists.

NLIHC released a statement on the White House Establishing a Council to Eliminate Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing and a Spanish edition of the annual Out of Reach report, Fuera de Alcance.


Learning & Networking

See full Housing Action Illinois trainings calendar or general events calendar.

Tips & Tools for Taking the HUD Certification Exam 8/6 (Online): Register

Reverse Mortgages and Loss Mitigation: What You Should Know 8/8 (Chicago): Register

Storytelling for Change 8/8 (Chicago): Register

Urban Think & Drink - Filling the Gap: Affordable Housing Crisis Through Design 8/15 (Chicago): Register

HUD Certification Exam Online Study Group 8/19 - 8/23 (Online): Register

Storytelling for Change 8/22 (Hillside): Register

Development Officers Roundtable 8/28 (Chicago): Register

Have something coming up that we should list? Let us know! 


Who's Hiring

It's recruitment season for Housing Action Illinois' AmeriCorps VISTA network! We have 30 full-year VISTA positions open for candidates who want to serve their community at one of our member organizations. 

See our VISTA positions »


Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Various Positions

Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, Various Positions

Chicago Housing Authority, Various Positions 

Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Senior Counsel

Community Organizing and Family Issues, Development Coordinator

DuPage PADS, Various Positions

Enterprise, Director - Acquisitions

Erie Neighborhood House, Grant Writer

Forefront, Manager - Corporate & Foundation Partnerships

Heartland Alliance, Director of Policy & Senior Project Manager

H.O.M.E., Various Positions

HOPE Fair Housing, Community Education & Engagement Coordinator

Illinois Public Health Institute, Communications Manager

La Casa Norte, Various Positions

Metropolitan Planning Council, Manager of Finance and Administration

Mid Central Community Action Agency, Financial Coach/Housing Counselor

National Low Income Housing Coalition, Communications Specialist

NHS of Chicago, Home Ownership Consultant

The Resurrection Project, Various Positions

Shriver Center, President and CEO

Spanish Coalition for Housing, Various Positions

Woodstock Institute, Director of Applied Research

Housing Action Illinois
67 E. Madison Street  Suite 1603 |  Chicago,  Illinois  60603

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