We know that this update comes at a time when people who care about  affordable housing and homeless services are concerned and anxious about the coming year, given the aftermath of the November election and the impending end of the state “stopgap” budget at the end of December. Whatever comes next, Housing Action Illinois is going to continue do what we do best: advocate for better policies and raise awareness among decision makers, the public, and the media; train advocates and practitioners; and organize groups working on housing throughout the state. We look forward to working with you on all of these efforts. If you want more information and/or want to get more involved, please reach out the Housing Action Illinois staff, and we’ll respond to you as soon as possible.

Federal Advocacy Update

Share a Success Story Story For a New National Report: Deadline January 6

We are working with the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) to collect success stories from Illinois highlighting the positive impacts of HUD and USDA housing programs. At this point in time, it is particularly important that we identify success stories to educate the administration of President-elect Donald Trump and members of Congress that federal programs creating affordable housing and ending homelessness benefit individuals and communities, along with being a good investment in our country’s infrastructure.

Many elected officials want to make significant budget cuts to programs that serve the poorest households. In addition, President-elect Trump has already proposed cutting federal spending for everything but defense over the next ten years—a plan that could decimate affordable housing programs and likely increase poverty and homelessness.

The success story can focus on the impact on an individual/family and/or a housing development/project. Please only submit one success story per organization. Submit a success story, please go here by January 6 (note new extended deadline).

Continuing Resolution Funds Government through April

On December 9, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the federal government through the end of next April and averting a government shutdown. President Obama signed the CR into law. To fit under legislatively mandated spending caps, the CR includes an across-the-board cut of 0.19% to funding levels for defense and non-defense programs. Before the end of April, another budget deal must be negotiated—a full-year CR or final spending bills to keep the government operating through the end of fiscal year 2017 on September 30.

Some conservative members of Congress are advocating for cuts to federal spending levels in any final bill. If these efforts are successful, more than 100,000 Housing Choice Vouchers could be lost. Learn more about risks to federal housing program during the remainder of the current fiscal year here.

Dr. Ben Carson Nominated to be HUD Secretary

President-elect Trump has nominated Dr, Ben Carson to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As Dr. Carson does not have experience working on housing issues, not much is known about what his priorities will be at HUD. In 2015, he did publish an op-ed column criticizing efforts by the Obama administration to strengthen federal requirement that communities affirmatively further fair housing. You can read the NLIHC response to Dr. Carson’s nomination here. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee must vote on Dr. Carson’s nomination before he is confirmed.

What to Expect in the Changing Post-Election Landscape for Affordable Housing

On December 1, NLIHC hosted a webinar on what issues we should be concerned about and advocating for in the changing post-election landscape for affordable housing. The webinar slides and recording are available here. NLIHC’s memo to the Trump administration’s transition team, which goes into greater detail about the issues covered in the webinar, is available here.

State Advocacy Update

Stopgap Budget Expires December 31: Facebook Live and Stranded by the State

The State of Illinois’ “stopgap” budget expires on December 31. After that date, many state-funded programs will not receive any additional state funding until another budget is passed. Permanent supportive housing providers and providers serving homeless youth will be particularly impacted, as the money for their budget line items primarily comes from General Revenue Funds, not dedicated funds, such as the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Most dedicated funds, including federal funds, were appropriated for the entire fiscal year in the stopgap budget.

Housing Action Illinois continues to work as part of the Responsible Budget Coalition to demand a fully funded yearlong budget with adequate revenue to pay for the services that all Illinoisans need to thrive.

On December 1, we held a Facebook Live event prior to Governor Rauner’s own scheduled Facebook Live event. The first announcement of Governor Rauner’s event listed “what it’s like living in the executive mansion” among the discussion topics. We called on Governor Rauner to discuss much more important topics, including cuts to homeless services and how the budget impasse is leaving some families without homes or safety net services during the holiday season. Read our statement here and watch our video here.

Governor Rauner postponed his event that evening “because of the work that’s going on in Springfield” and promised to reschedule. We look forward to his eventual response to our question: “With so many people, including many children, experiencing homelessness in Illinois, why do you continue to hold up passage of a fully funded budget with adequate revenue based on your non-budget “turnaround agenda” demands?”

Housing Action Illinois also provided some of the data used in the third episode of Stranded by the State, a documentary series highlighting the human impact of the budget impasse by In These Times and Kartemquin. The third episode, released on December 7, focuses on the work of La Casa Norte, a state-funded homeless service provider in Chicago.

New Permanent Supportive Housing Resources

On December 1, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) announced they are accepting applications for two programs to fund the development and operation of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for special needs populations and persons with disabilities, including residents who are transitioning out of nursing homes and into community living.

This round of IHDA’s PSH Development Program will fund developments serving low-income persons with disabilities, persons experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations. Eligible developments may contain no more than 25 units and are required to set aside a minimum of 10 percent of the units for referrals through the Statewide Referral Network. Funding will be awarded to the highest scoring applications. PSH applications may be submitted to IHDA until February 27, 2017 (note extended deadline).

Funding for the PSH Development Program, which has up to $22.3 million available, comes from three different State of Illinois resources (the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund and two different Build Illinois Bond resources), as well as one federal resource, the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The $4.5 million from the NHTF is from Illinois’ first NHTF allocation after many years of advocacy to create and fund the program.

IHDA is also seeking applications from property owners for rental subsidies under the Long Term Operating Support Program (LTOS). Rental subsidies will be provided over 15 years to eligible landlords serving households referred through the Statewide Referral Network. LTOS grants will be awarded to the highest scoring applications to bridge the gap between the contract rent and what extremely low-income households can afford to pay. Eligible developments must be located outside the City of Chicago, meet the accessibility requirements listed in the Request for Application, and commit to accepting tenants referred through the Statewide Referral Network in order to be considered. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until further notice.

Funding for the LTOS Program comes from the Rental Housing Support Program, which is funded through a state surcharge on the recordation of real estate documents.

More information, including links to application materials, is available here.

Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit Extension Passes General Assembly

During the recent Illinois General Assembly Veto Session, both the House and Senate passed legislation, Senate Bill 2921, extending the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit (IAHTC)—aka the State Donation Tax Credit—for another five years. Since its passage in 2001, the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit has:

  • Motivated the donation of $360 million in assets like land, buildings, and long- term leases from private sources for affordable housing development in Illinois.
  • Provided key financing for property-tax paying developments representing over $3.3 billion in investment statewide.
  • Preserved or created over 17,000 homes stabilizing seniors, families, veterans and people with disabilities in communities across Illinois.
  • Supported more than 25,000 jobs with over $1 billion in wages and business income.

The Chicago Rehab Network led the renewal effort with assistance from the Illinois Housing Council, Housing Action Illinois and others. Key legislators who assisted with passage of the bill include Senator James Clayborne, Senator Toi Hutchinson, Representative Art Turner and Representative Barbara Flynn Currie.

The legislation next goes to Governor Rauner for his consideration. We ask him to sign the bill into law.

Housing Action Illinois Conference Materials Available

More than 225 housing advocates and practitioners joined us on October 27 & 28 in Bloomington to learn, discuss, and network. Thanks to those of you who joined us!

Check out our workshop descriptions, speakers, and selected presentations.