Housing Action Illinois



Who We Are

Housing Action Illinois is a statewide coalition of 160+ member organizations united in our work to create an Illinois where everyone has access to an affordable home.

Our Mission

To increase and preserve the supply of quality, affordable, accessible homes in Illinois for low-and moderate-income individuals and families.

Our Values

Housing is a human right. We believe in a society that promotes basic human needs such as decent and safe housing for all of its members. Public policy and government spending should ensure that the basic housing needs of all people are met. Housing Action Illinois is committed to work that focuses on advancing equitable community development and affirmatively furthering racial justice.

OUr Vision

To create an environment where all Illinois residents, particularly people with the lowest incomes, have a voice in housing policy and community development. We seek to bring together community stakeholders such as residents, businesses, and government to work together to increase the supply and availability of affordable housing across the state.

Public Policy Advocacy

We advocate for policies and investments that will bring us closer to an Illinois where everyone has a good, affordable place to call home. Below are some of the key ways we succeeded in 2021.

Passing Landmark State Legislation to Create Affordable Housing & Address Eviction

State Senators Feigenholtz, Hunter, and Gillespie

Legislative champions, such as Senators Feigenholtz, Hunter, & Gillespie, helped us secure passage of the landmark Affordable Housing Omnibus Bill

The landmark Affordable Housing Omnibus (HB 2621) bill creates new resources to develop affordable rental housing and establishes property tax policies to help owners invest in rental properties and keep rents affordable. It also strengthens requirements for community plans to address affordable housing shortages.

“This policy is a one-stop-shop to address affordable rental needs in both higher cost and lower cost neighborhoods.”

Stacie Young
President, Community Investment Corp.

The hard-won COVID-19 Emergency Housing Act (HB 2877) creates strong protections for Illinoisans struggling to pay their rent or mortgages due to the pandemic.

It helps ensure that people with the most severe housing needs can access federal rent assistance. It also includes provisions to seal all eviction records between March 2020 and March 2022 upon filing.

Govenor JP Pritzker and various other legislators at a Bill signing

Gov. Pritzker signs the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Act into law, next to key legislative champion, Representative Ramirez.

Establishing Renter Protections in Cook County

Housing Action Illinois helped lead the coalition that successfully advocated for the Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO), which passed unanimously in January 2021 and took effect on June 1.

The RTLO creates basic requirements for landlord conduct that have existed for more than 30 years in Chicago, Evanston, and Mount Prospect. Landlords who foster good working relationships with their tenants are already doing what it requires—offering fair lease terms, ensuring safe living conditions, and respecting tenants’ dignity and privacy.


Cook County renters protected by the RTLO

“As a Chicago resident and victim of retaliatory action by my landlord, I speak up for the suburban Cook County residents whose voices are silenced because they do not have protection from retaliation … All county residents deserve safe and habitable housing and protection against retaliation when they advocate for a safe home.”

Charlotte Starks
Tenant & Activist

Govenor JP Pritzker and various other legislators at a Bill signing

Members of the coalition that successfully advocated for the passage of the RTLO accept an award for their work from Housing Choice Partners

Ensuring more equitable investment in Illinois communities

Housing Action, Woodstock Institute, and our allies successfully advocated for the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act (IL CRA), which was signed into law in March 2021.

With this historic victory, Illinois became the second state with an oversight system to ensure that residents are equitably served by the mortgage lending market, including institutions not covered by the federal CRA.

“Like the federal Community Reinvestment Act—which also originated with activists here in Illinois—the IL CRA is fundamentally a civil rights bill.”

Brent Adams
Senior Vice President of Policy & Communication, Woodstock Institute


ensures that state-regulated financial institutions better meet the needs of low- and moderate-income households & neighborhoods


of mortgages are originated by institutions not covered by the federal CRA

Capacity Building

Housing Action Illinois supports housing nonprofits, including housing counseling agencies, to help them serve more families and build thriving communities.



Housing counseling programs help guide households facing housing instability, including eviction, foreclosure, loss of income, or homelessness.

In 2021, as a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Intermediary, Housing Action Illinois supported 34 housing counseling agencies in the Midwest by distributing funding and providing technical assistance, including assisting them to maintain their HUD approval status. With our support and resources, these agencies are able to help more families and create more positive change in their communities.

In addition, Housing Action Illinois was awarded $1,051,776 in Housing Stability Counseling Program (HSCP) funding through NeighborWorks America, which we subgranted to organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri to support housing counseling programs.

Graphic showing impact numbers of Intermediary for FY21

$4 million +

in total HSCP funding received by Illinois as part of the $100 million for housing counseling included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

“The HSCP funding we received is pivotal for us to continue this work helping disabled people navigate with the tools and resources they need to make good housing choices that work well for them, especially after the impact of COVID-19.”

Wanda Lopez
Housing Counselor, Access Living

EDUCATING housing counselors

In 2021, we hosted 18 trainings to help housing professionals stay equipped to meet their communities’ needs. A total of 751 participants joined us to build their skills and knowledge.

Housing Action Illinois’ trainings included three rounds of our Online Study Group, which we launched in 2018 to help housing counselors prepare for the HUD Individual Certification Exam—a new federally-required professional standard for the field. As of August 2021, all individuals providing housing counseling in connection with a HUD program must pass the exam. More than 1,000 participants have joined our Online Study Group over the past 4 years.


of housing counseling agencies in Illinois had at least one HUD-certified counselor on staff by the August 2021 deadline (compared to 26% in June 2019)

Building Capacity and fighting poverty through AmeriCorps

In 2021, 24 full-year AmeriCorps members and 21 AmeriCorps Summer Associates served at organizations across the state through Housing Action Illinois’ national service program. From organizing virtual design workshops for youth to moderating roundtable discussions with local nonprofit leaders, our VISTAs continued building member organizational capacity and working to meet the needs of communities all over Illinois.

Our AmeriCorps members helped bring in $616,457 in cash and in-kind donations and recruited or managed 1,311 volunteers.

“I think as a society, we don’t place enough emphasis on public service. AmeriCorps really reinforced my commitment to public service and solidified that this is what I want to do for a career.”

Dan Kallio
Former AmeriCorps VISTA at Center for Elder and Disability Law, now Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General

Public Education & Organizing

Through our Public Education & Organizing Program, we build awareness and activate change by sharing information and real-life stories with policymakers, nonprofit service providers, and the media.



246 participants from 148 organizations joined us for the 2021 Housing Matters Conference, which we held virtually for the second year in a row.

Once again, we joined our national partners to bring our conference as part of Resilient Communities: The National Forum. In addition to robust Illinois programming, participants attended workshops from our state partners and national sessions with top speakers—including Resilient Communities Keynote Speaker, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge.


participants joined us for the 2021 Housing Matters Conference

“Thank you for all the work you’ve engaged in over the past 18, 19 months … Your advocacy, your commitment, your partnership, your advice and guidance during the very, very turbulent times was critically important.”

Grace B. Hou
Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services
Addressing participants during the 2021 Housing Matters Conference

Sharon Legenza and Grace B. Hou at the Housing Matters Keynote

Photo: Housing Action Executive Director Sharon Legenza and IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou during the Illinois Keynote Session at the 2021 Housing Matters Conference

Building Awareness about Critical housing Issues

By sharing information and real-life stories with policymakers, nonprofit service providers, and the media, we build awareness about housing issues. Our staff works to keep affordable housing in the headlines and make sure people understand our issues, building momentum to create change. See media coverage of our issues »

In addition to securing media placements, we also share analysis and research. In November 2021, we released Racial Disparities and Cook County Tax Sale Evictions, a report finding that 73% of people identify as Black in the zip codes with the most tax sale evictions. In contrast, in zip codes with no tax sale evictions, 82% of people identify as white.


media placements secured in 2021

Our Members

Housing Action Illinois has more than 160 members, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations, all committed to protecting and expanding the availability of quality, affordable housing.

Access Living, Chicago
AGORA Community Services Corporation, Chicago
All Chicago Making Homelessness History, Chicago
Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, Hillside
Ameren Illinois, Peoria
Apna Ghar, Chicago
Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, Chicago
Architreasures, Chicago
Association for Individual Development, Elgin
BCMW Community Services, Centralia
Binational Institute of Human Development, Chicago
Brightpoint, Fort Wayne
Carbondale Warming Center, Carbondale
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago
Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet, Downers Grove
Catholic Urban Programs, East St. Louis
CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation, Effingham
Center for Disability and Elder Law, Chicago
Central Illinois Land Bank Authority, Danville
Centro Romero, Chicago
Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union, Champaign
Chicago 400 Alliance, Chicago
Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Chicago
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago
Chicago Community Land Trust, Chicago
Chicago Community Loan Fund, Chicago
Chicago Furniture Bank, Chicago
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Chicago
Chicago Rehab Network, Chicago
Chicago Urban League, Chicago
Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, Chicago
Chinese American Service League, Chicago
Cinnaire, Madison
City of Evanston, Evanston
City of Kankakee Economic & Community Development Agency, Kankakee
City of Rockford, Rockford
City of Urbana, Urbana
Community & Economic Development Association of Cook County, Chicago
Community Investment Corporation of Decatur, Decatur
Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Highland Park
Community Service Council of Northern Will County, Bolingbrook
Connections for the Homeless, Evanston
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Northern Illinois, Woodstock
Cornerstone Community Development Corporation, Ford Heights
CSH, Chicago
Cunningham Township, Urbana
DeLaCerda House, Rock Island
Dove, Inc., Decatur
DuPage County Continuum of Care, Wheaton
DuPage Habitat for Humanity, Wheaton
Economic Growth Corporation, Rock Island
Embarras River Basin Agency, Greenup
Enterprise Community Partners, Chicago
Ezio Community Development Services, Joliet
Facing Forward to End Homelessness, Chicago
Far South Community Development Corporation, Chicago
Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Chicago
Freeport Area Church Cooperative, Freeport
Full Circle Communities, Chicago
Garfield Park Community Council, Chicago
Grass Roots Organizing Works, Rock Island
Great Lakes Credit Union, Chicago
Greater Peoria Empowerment, Peoria
Grundy County Housing Authority, Morris
Habitat for Humanity Chicago, Chicago
Habitat for Humanity Lake County, Waukegan
Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County, Champaign
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley, Elgin
HANA Center, Chicago
Harris Family Foundation, Chicago
Helping Hands of Springfield, Springfield
Hesed House, Aurora
HOME DuPage, Wheaton
HOPE Fair Housing Center, Wheaton
Hope Haven of DeKalb, DeKalb
HOPE of East Central Illinois, Charleston
Housing Authority of Cook County, Chicago
Housing Choice Partners, Chicago
Housing Forward, Maywood
Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly, Chicago
Housing Opportunities for Women, Chicago
Humility Homes and Services, Davenport
IFF, Chicago
Illinois Housing Council, Chicago
Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, Springfield
Illinois Valley Economic Development Corporation, Gillespie
Impact Behavioral Health Partners, Evanston
IMPACT Center for Independent Living, Alton
Inland Home Mortgage, Villa Park
The Journey Forward, Chicago
Justine PETERSEN Housing and Reinvestment Corporation, Granite City
Kankakee County Housing Authority, Kankakee
La Casa Norte, Chicago
Lake County Housing Authority, Grayslake
Latin United Community Housing Association, Chicago
Latino Policy Forum, Chicago
Lawyers’ Committee For Better Housing, Chicago
Lazarus House, St. Charles
League of Women Voters of Glenview and Glencoe, Glenview
LIFE Center for Independent Living, Bloomington
LINC Inc., Swansea
Manufactured Homeowners Association of Illinois, Des Plaines
Menard County Housing Authority, Petersburg
Meraki House of Illinois, Chicago
Mercy Housing Lakefront, Chicago
METEC Resource Center, Peoria
Metropolitan Family Services | Legal Aid Society, Chicago
Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago
Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Chicago
Mid Central Community Action, Bloomington
Midland States Bank, Chesterfield
Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Evanston
MorningStar Mission Ministries, Joliet
National Public Housing Museum, Chicago
Navicore Solutions, Manalapan
Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Chicago
Neighbors for Affordable Housing, Chicago
The Neighbor Project, Aurora
NeighborScapes, Chicago
North Suburban Legal Aid, Highland Park
North West Housing Partnership, Schaumburg
N/NW Suburban Task Force on Supportive Housing, Wheeling
Northern Illinois Regional Affordable Community Housing, Rockford
Northside Community Development Corporation, Chicago
Northwest Compass, Mount Prospect
Northwest Center, Chicago
NW HomeStart, Freeport
Oak Park Regional Housing Center, Oak Park
Open Communities, Evanston
Over the Rainbow Association, Evanston
PADS Lake County, North Chicago
PADS of Elgin, Elgin
PASO, Melrose Park
People’s Resource Center, Wheaton
Peoria Housing Authority, Peoria
Peoria Opportunities Foundation, Peoria
Phoenix Community Development Services, Peoria
Preservation of Affordable Housing, Chicago
Progress Center for Independent Living, Forest Park
Red Stone Equity Partners, Chicago
Regions Bank, Chicago
Renaissance Social Services, Inc., Chicago
Resources for Community Living, Rolling Meadows
Respond Now, Chicago Heights
Restoration America, Inc., Crystal Lake
Restoration Urban Ministries, Champaign
ReVive Center for Housing and Healing, Chicago
Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity, Loves Park
Rockford Housing Authority, Rockford
Sarah’s Circle, Chicago
Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Chicago
Share Our Spare, Chicago
South Side Community Federal Credit Union, Chicago
South Suburban Housing Center, Homewood
South Suburban PADS, Chicago Heights
Southwestern Illinois Development Authority, Collinsville
Spanish Coalition for Housing, Chicago
Spanish Community Center, Joliet
Springfield Housing Authority, Springfield
Springfield Quality Housing Coalition, Springfield
Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois, Springfield
StreetWise, Chicago
Supportive Housing Providers Association, Springfield
Territory, Chicago
Thresholds, Chicago
Thrive Housing, Normal
Together We Cope, Tinley Park
Total Resource Community Development Organization, Chicago
Tri-County Opportunities Council, Rock Falls
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., St. Louis
Volunteers of America – Illinois, Chicago
Warehouse Workers for Justice, Chicago
Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council, Inc., Steeleville
Will County Center for Community Concerns, Joliet
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago
ZION Development Corporation, Rockford


Board of Directors
Executive Committee

Darsonya Switzer · Co-Chair
Dove Inc., Decatur

Carl Wolf · Co-Chair
Respond Now, Chicago

Niccole Clements · Secretary
PNC, Springfield

Kurt Kuyawa · Treasurer
Citizens Bank NA, Chicago


Shalonda Bedenfield-Causey
Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Chicago

Bob Campbell
Zion Development Corporation, Rockford

John S. Herring, Sr.
Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, Springfield

Dottie Johnson
Chicago Commons, Chicago

Jackie L. Newman
Springfield Housing Authority, Springfieldo

David Noble
Midland States Bank, Effingham

Laura Olvera
Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Libertyville

Shelly Richardson
The Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois, Springfield

Margaret Wooten
Chicago Urban League, Chicago



Sharon Legenza
Executive Director

David Young
Director of Capacity Building

Wanda Collins
Capacity Building Specialist

Bibian Cristino
Capacity Building Specialist

Jennifer Pallas
Capacity Building Specialist

James Miller
Capacity Building Associate

Bob Palmer
Policy Director

Foluke Akanni
Housing Policy Organizer

Sheila Sutton
Housing Policy Organizer

Willie Heineke
National Service Program Manager

Brandon Grigsby
National Service Program Associate

Mare Ralph
National Service Program Associate

Jeremy Cowart
AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

Kristin Ginger
Communications Manager

Amina Farha
Development Associate

Kaitlyn Greenholt
Communications & Membership AmeriCorps VISTA


The generous support of our funders makes our work possible. Housing Action Illinois extends our sincerest thanks to all of the sponsors and funders listed below, and to those who wish to remain anonymous, for supporting our work this year.

Ameren Illinois
Anonymous Family Foundation
Associated Bank
The Chicago Community Trust
Citizens Bank
Corporation for National & Community Service
Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
Fifth Third Chicagoland Foundation
First Midwest Bank
Freddie Mac
Harris Family Foundation
Housing Stability Counseling Program
Huntington Bank Foundation
JPMorgan Chase
The Lawrence and Nancy Wojcik Fund of the Vanguard Charitable Fund
Midland States Bank
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Housing Resource Center
Neighborhood Stabilization Corp.
Peoples Gas Community Fund
Polk Bros. Foundation
Providence Bank & Trust
Regions Bank
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action
Schwab Charitable Fund
Second Federal / Self-Help Federal Credit Union
U.S. Bank Foundation
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
Woods Fund Chicago


Revenue: $2,882,437

  • Government Grants: $1,940,595
  • Foundation Grants: $564,669
  • Corporate Contributions: $165,600
  • Membership Dues: $37,425
  • Other: $174,148

Expenses: $2,570,632

  • Programs: $2,382,141
  •    ⇒ Subgrants/Stipends: $1,348,196
  •     Comprised 57% of program expenses
  • Fundraising: $67,116
  • Management and General: $121,375

Total Assets: $2,345,366

        • Current Liabilities: $1,066,162
        • Total Net Assets: $1,279,204