During the recently completed General Assembly session, Housing Action Illinois and our partners had several significant victories, including securing $200 million in capital budget funding, that will increase access to decent, affordable housing for many thousands of people throughout the state currently struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
We have spent years working with allies to pass fair housing protections for people with arrest and conviction records in Cook County, so we are very excited to announce that on April 25 the Cook County Board of Commissioners took a major step towards supporting justice, fairness, and families by passing the Just Housing Amendment. This measure will ensure housing providers in Cook County do not discriminate against housing applicants with records.
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Home is the cornerstone from which people build better lives for themselves and their families. People with arrest or criminal records, like everyone else, deserve a place to call home—but it can be almost impossible for them to find an apartment or house to rent.
We're getting together on March 26 to eat, drink, and stand up for housing justice, and you're invited! Let's get out of the office, relax with friends and family, and place bids on some special gifts from our large selection of silent auction and raffle items. A few highlights include:
June 2019 Newsletter: Policy Focus | Housing Counselor Dispatch | AmeriCorps VISTA | Member Spotlight | What We're Sharing | Learning & Networking | Jobs
2019 General Assembly Wraps Up with Major New Investments and Legislative Victories
With Governor JB Pritzker taking office, this was an extremely busy and productive General Assembly session. Housing Action Illinois and our partners had several significant victories that will increase access to decent, affordable housing for thousands of people throughout the state currently struggling to keep a roof over their heads—including funding allocated for affordable housing in the first major capital budget since 2009.
Affordable Housing is Still Out of Reach in Illinois
In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at in Illinois, a full-time worker needs to earn $20.85 per hour. This is our 2019 Housing Wage, revealed in Out of Reach, a report jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Action Illinois on June 18. The cost of rental housing varies across the state, but there is no place in Illinois where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment. Illinois’ minimum wage is $8.25 per hour; the lowest that the Housing Wage gets is $13.40.
Take Action to Help Mixed Status Immigrant Families Keep their Homes
On May 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that would prohibit mixed status families from living in public housing and other HUD assisted housing. Mixed status families are households that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status.
Take action to help these families keep their homes by commenting in opposition to the Trump Administration's proposed rule. Make immigrants know they are welcome in our nation.
Housing counseling creates homeowners. This National Homeownership Month we want to help you spread the word about housing counseling in your community. We created a toolkit that will promote your housing counseling program. Pre-written social media posts, e-blasts, and ready-to-use graphics have been designed to make it easy for you to highlight your services. As an added bonus, we’ve created avideo explainer to help your online audiences understand what housing counseling is and if it’s a good fit for them.
LUCHA recently became the first organization in our Intermediary network for all of its housing counselors to receive HUD certification. Congratulations to the entire Housing Opportunities department on knocking out certification before August 2020! Learn more about the resources we've created to help housing counselors prepare for the exam.
Let us know if your organization has any exciting news we should share.
From left to right: Leticia Vargas, Maria Campos, Guillermina Leon, Isaias Solis, Henry Siegel
Make a Difference with AmeriCorps VISTA
Are you passionate about housing justice and looking for a position—or do you know someone who is? Come work with us and our member organizations! Our AmeriCorps VISTA network is hiring for 30 full-year VISTA positions so anyone committed to housing justice and up for a year of service has a strong chance of finding a good fit.
A Home and Hand: Creating Housing Opportunities for the Elderly
Independence in old age is a goal for many, but when older adults lack the material resources, physical capabilities, and support system to fulfill their most basic needs, the barriers to independence are sometimes greater than any single individual can bear. Housing Action Illinois Member, Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.), exists to break down those barriers.
Our Executive Director, Sharan Legenza, was awarded the 2019 Affordable Housing Leadership Award by the Illinois Mortgage Bankers Association. This award honors individuals and organizations who have demonstrated achievement in increasing affordable housing opportunities throughout the state.
Our Policy Director, Bob Palmer, joined Illinois Public Media’s The 21st show, for a segment on the stability of homeless shelters around Illinois.
We worked with reporter Jake Bittle for an article in Curbed, The fight for fair-chance housing ordinances, which spotlights our recent Just Housing win in Cook County while looking at the growing movement to end housing discrimination against people with arrest and conviction records.
The Rural Housing Preservation Grant program provides support to assist LMI homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating homes in rural areas. The program also assists rental property owners and cooperative housing complexes in repairing units available to LMI persons. The pre-application deadline is July 8.
Resources & Reports
Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing launched a Chicago Evictions data portal and related reports, which include the finding that renters in Black neighborhoods are four times more likely to face eviction than renters in White neighborhoods.
Apartment List released the first edition of its Renter Migration Report, which offers a tool for people to see the inbound and out bound searches of top cities for those preparing to move.
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 with us or one of our member organizations.