2013 Annual Conference Session Descriptions

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Post Conference Update: Scroll down to the plenary and workshop descriptions to to download selected materials distributed during the conference.


In addition to our opening rally and keynote speakers, we’ll be offering workshop sessions in four different tracks.  Get the specifics about each part of the conference through the following links:

Opening Rally
Keynote Speaker
Closing Plenary Session
Public Policy Advocacy Workshops
Shelter, Services and Housing Workshops
Affordable Housing Development and Management Workshops
Housing Counseling Workshops


Opening Rally


At our opening rally, we’ll provide an opportunity for our members and allies to share their most significant experience during the past year that we can learn from and/or be inspired by as we work on housing issues in the future. We’ll also update you on some of the good work that Housing Action has done with others during the past year.

(Tuesday 10:00-11:30)


Keynote Speaker 


Our keynote speaker on the first day of the conference will be Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition,  who will help us understand both the importance of and strategy behind the United for Homes Campaign to fund the National Housing Trust Fund through reform of the mortgage interest deduction.

As the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Sheila heads a membership organization dedicated solely to ending the affordable housing crisis in America. She joined the staff in December 1998, after two decades in Richmond, Virginia in organizational leadership, direct service, policy advocacy, and scholarship. She is a social worker with a bachelor’s (1976), master’s (1978), and Ph.D. (1998) from the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an adjunct faculty member for the VCU School of Social Work and for George Mason University Department of Social Work, teaching social policy, social justice, policy advocacy, and community and organizational practice. She was the 1996-1997 Social Work Congressional Fellow, where she served on the Democratic staff of the Housing Subcommittee of the United States Senate Banking Committee. From 1984-1992, she was the Executive Director of The Daily Planet, a multipurpose homeless service and advocacy organization in Richmond.

Click here to download PDF of Crowley presentation.

Click here to watch a 2 minute video on the United for Homes campaign.

(Tuesday 4:30-5:30)


Closing Plenary Session: Telling Our Stories to the Media to Engage, Educate and Advocate

Staff for community-based organizations all have stories that illustrate the successes and challenges faced by the people they serve and the larger community. The outcomes of these stories are often impacted by bigger societal issues, such as federal and state budget cuts, the foreclosure crisis, homelessness and the overall shortage of affordable housing. When told in the media, these narratives have the power to engage the public and policy makers, build support for our work and contribute to success on advocacy efforts. But how can we effectively use our limited time and resources to pitch our stories to journalists who are looking for a new or fresh angle on an existing issue? At this session, a panel of reporters will give us tips on how to do this, and attendees will have the opportunity to get feedback on their current story telling methods.

The session will be facilitated by Thom Clark, President of the Community Media Workshop (CMW). CMW works annually with over 2,000 nonprofit communicators and hundreds of journalists in and around the Midwest to promote news that matters. During his 35 years as an editor, photojournalist and social enterprise entrepreneur in Chicago’s nonprofit sector, Clark has developed affordable housing; co-founded and directed the Chicago Rehab Network; served as editor of award-winning monthly, The Neighborhood Works published by the Center for Neighborhood Technology; and operated a freelance business as a newsletter editor and photojournalist, before co-founding the CMW in 1989. Among his honors and awards he was recently named one of Business and Professional People’s “40 Who’ve Made a Difference” and he received a Studs Terkel Community Media Award from the Workshop for his journalistic leadership. In 2009, he co-authored The NEWnews: Journalism We Want & Need for the Chicago Community Trust.

Our panel of reporters will be Kim Behrens, WMBD-TV 31 Peoria/Bloomington; Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times; Willis Kern, WGLT-NPR for Central Illinois; Mark Pickering, The Pantagraph

As a result of the HOPE Fair Housing Center connecting with Mark Brown at the session, this column regarding a fair housing-related legal action HOPE is taking against a supportive living facility appeared in the November 11 Chicago Sun-Times.

(Wednesday 12:45-2:15)


Public Policy Advocacy Workshops


Committing the State Budget to Support Housing for All

Tuesday 1:00-2:30

We’ll take a look at the current state budget situation from two perspectives. The first will be our efforts to maintain and expand funding for the main programs addressing affordable housing and homelessness, including Emergency and Transitional Housing, Homeless Prevention, Supportive Housing Services, Rental Housing Support Program and the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. We’ll also talk about why we support the campaign, A Better Illinois, to restore our state’s commitment to accountability, fairness and a strong middle class by creating a fair tax system with lower rates for people with lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes.

Speakers: Jennifer Cushman, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Neil McMenamin, Hesed House; Bob Palmer, Housing Action Illinois; Peter Starszynski, A Better Illinois

Click here to download PDF of Cushman presentation.

Visit the A Better Illinois website for information on the campaign.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

Tuesday 2:45-4:15

In July 2013, the federal government published the long-awaited proposed rule intended to improve the obligation of communities to affirmatively further fair housing by requiring HUD program participants to take steps to actively overcome historic patterns of segregation and promote fair housing choice. This workshop will provide an overview of the proposed rule, and how it differs from the existing obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, as well as provide practical information about how you can engage your local government in preparing for higher compliance standards, which will include using HUD-provided data, getting meaningful community input and setting goals for mitigating or addressing the most significant factors causing fair housing disparities in your community.

Speakers: Maurice McGough, US. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development; Michael Seng, John Marshall Law School; Joel Williams, PADS Lake County

Click here to download PDF of Williams presentation.

Click here to download PDF of McGough presentation.

Click here to download PDF of Chicago Segregation Study recommendations.

Click here to download PDF of citizen participation requirements.

Rethinking National Housing Policy

Wednesday 9:00-10:30

The impact of the foreclosure crisis and the great recession has caused a rethinking of our nation’s housing priorities, from reevaluating the importance of home ownership to the role of housing in promoting the well-being of individuals, families and communities. At this session, we’ll provide some background on how this discussion is happening “inside the beltway” of policy makers and elected officials and provide attendees with an opportunity to discuss the current and potential impact on your work.

Speakers: Sheila Crowley, National Low Income Housing Coalition; Richard Monocchio, Housing Authority of Cook County; Bob Palmer, Housing Action Illinois

Rebalancing Illinois’ Long Term Care System Update

Wednesday 10:45-12:15

Since settling three class action lawsuits, the State of Illinois has been more fully engaged in efforts to comply with the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision mandating that, whenever possible, states provide housing for people with disabilities in community based settings rather than in institutions. At this session, we’ll discuss lessons learned and current work in a variety of areas, including ongoing efforts to further reduce Illinois’ reliance on institutional based care, create quality scattered site supportive housing, and increase the number of landlords and communities that embrace participating in the rebalancing effort.

Speakers: Adam Ballard, Access Living; David Esposito, Thresholds; Lindsey Bishop-Gilmore, Corporation for Supportive Housing; Tara Peele, IFF


Shelter, Services and Housing Workshops


Successful Discharge Planning to Prevent Homelessness

Tuesday 1:00-2:30

Effective coordination of local resources can reduce homelessness amongst individuals leaving jails, prisons, hospitals, and the foster care system. During this session, panelists will discuss strategies that are working in their communities.

Speakers: John Cheney Egan, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; John Fallon, Corporation for Supportive Housing; Mark Heyrman, Mental Health Summit; Dr. Thomas Kim, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice; Pamela Ward, Illinois Department of Corrections

Click here to download PDF of Egan presentation.

Coordinated Assessment and Entry

Tuesday 2:45-4:15

To comply with new federal standards, Continuums of Care are working to implement systems to ensure coordinated assessment and entry to homeless service programs. At this session, housing specialists from around the state will share their experiences implementing these systems, and we’ll discuss some of the more complex issues, such as managing strict individual program eligibility requirements and wait lists.

Speakers: Lore Baker, Supportive Housing Providers Association; Jamie Ewing, Corporation for Supportive Housing; Todd Fuller, Will County Center for Community Concerns; Loren Seeger, Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County

Click here to download PDF of presentation.

Click here to download PDF of Coordinated Assessment Form.

Dealing with Budget Limitations in the NOFA Funding Competition

Wednesday 9:00-10:30

In the program registration NOFA for the fiscal year 2013 Continuum of Care funding competition, HUD stated that funding will be insufficient to fund all projects eligible for renewal. As a result, the only chance of funding new applications will be through a reallocation of existing resources. At this session, we’ll provide a forum for Continuums to strategically think about available options and share how they are responding to these challenges, while also implementing other new program requirements.

Speakers: Lore Baker, Supportive Housing Providers Association; Lindsey Bishop-Gilmore, Corporation for Supportive Housing

Domestic Violence and Affordable Housing

Wednesday 10:45-12:15

This session will provide an overview of the housing laws specific to domestic violence and provide an opportunity to discuss strategies to overcome the difficulties of helping survivors of domestic violence find housing.

Speakers: Kelly Goodall, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Angie Hunt, HOPE of East Central Illinois

Click here to download PDF of Goodall presentation.

Click here to download PDF of Hunt materials.


Affordable Housing Development and Management Workshops


Scattered Site Rentals

Tuesday 1:00-2:30

Non-profit developers can help stabilize neighborhoods by purchasing, rehabilitating and holding single-family homes as long-term rentals. This workshop covers what organizations should consider before embarking on purchasing scattered site rentals and how managing scattered site rentals is different from single-site rental properties.

Speaker: Bob Wahlgren, Equity Sharing Partners, NFP

Click here to download PDF of Wahlgren materials.

Tools for Your Community Inventory

Tuesday 2:45-4:15

This workshop will present a survey of available tools to assist organizations to collect important data in their communities. Tools such as LocalData.com can assist organizations to better understand current neighborhood conditions and plan redevelopment activities for maximum impact.

Speaker: Carol Brown, University of Chicago; Matt Campbell  & Prashant Singh, LocalData

Update on the Attorney General’s National Foreclosure Settlement Awards

Wednesday 9:00-10:30

This joint session will provide National Foreclosure Settlement (NFS) grantees and others working in affected communities with information regarding the scope of projects funded and updates on implementation procedures and schedules. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office and NFS-funded experts will be in attendance to discuss their roles in assisting grantees with their projects. In addition to learning critical information, this session will provide an opportunity for grantees and others to put faces to names and to begin the peer-to-peer networking that will be essential for successful program implementation.

Speakers: Robin Snyderman & Karen Muchin, BRicK Partners LLC

Click here to download PDF of presentations.

CHDO Collaboratives

Wednesday 10:45-12:15

This workshop highlights collaboration strategies for smaller organizations seeking to meet the new HOME rules requirement of having at least one paid staff member with development and/or management experience.

Speakers: Ron Clewer, Rockford Housing Authority; Vicki Manson, Rockford Department of Community and Economic Development

Click here to download PDF of Brewer presentation.


Housing Counseling Workshops


Working with HUD Intermediaries

Tuesday 1:00-2:30

Housing Action Illinois is considering becoming a HUD Housing Counseling Intermediary. This workshop will explain the purpose of an Intermediary and how working with one could benefit your housing counseling organization.

Speaker: Angela Frazier, Mid Central Community Action; David Young, Housing Action Illinois

Click here to download PDF of Young presentation.

Updates from HUD (Office of Housing Counseling)

Tuesday 2:45-4:15

Learn the latest about individual housing counseling certification requirements and other program developments from a representative from HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling.

Speakers: Joel Ibañez, Robin Penick and Hazel McLemore, all US. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development

Click here to download PDF of presentation.

Update on the Attorney General’s National Foreclosure Settlement Awards

Wednesday 9:00-10:30

This joint session will provide National Foreclosure Settlement (NFS) grantees and others working in affected communities with information regarding the scope of projects funded and updates on implementation procedures and schedules. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office and NFS-funded experts will be in attendance to discuss their roles in assisting grantees with their projects. In addition to learning critical information, this session will provide an opportunity for grantees and others to put faces to names and to begin the peer-to-peer networking that will be essential for successful program implementation.

Speakers: Robin Snyderman & Karen Muchin, BRicK Partners LLC

Click here to download PDF of presentations.

Developing a Financial Education Program

Wednesday 10:45-12:15

Studies show that people receiving financial education beyond housing counseling make more informed financial choices. This workshop is designed to introduce your housing counseling agency to comprehensive financial education and present strategies for helping your agency and counselors to emphasize lifelong financial education.

Speaker: Cheryll Boswell, METEC; Megan Kursik, Coordinator, Michigan Communities for Financial Empowerment

Click here to download PDF of Boswell presentation.

Click here to download PDF of Kursik presentation.


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