Each year, Housing Action Illinois works on a broad range of issues aligned with our core mission of creating an Illinois where everyone has a good, affordable place to call home. Below are some of our priorities for the 2019 Illinois General Assembly session, as well as local and federal level work—measures that we believe will help families and communities across Illinois thrive.
Expand State Investments in Affordable Housing & Ending Homelessness
- Secure $1 billion in capital budget funds to build 10,000 affordable rental homes for working families, seniors, veterans and people who need supportive housing; create 16,000 jobs in the first year alone; and generate $755 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments and $3.9 billion in local income over the course of 15 years. See fact sheet.
- Secure $17 million in the FY 2020 budget, including a $6 million increase in General Revenue Funds, to implement new lead poisoning protections for children. We advocated for recently approved, significantly stronger state lead poisoning prevention rules. About 6,000 additional children will be eligible for nurse case management and environmental follow-up. See fact sheet.
- Restore funding for the Homelessness Prevention Program to $11 million from the current $4.9 million. By providing modest rental and utility assistance, this program has helped prevent more than 115,000 Illinois households from homelessness since 1999. Its funding has been slashed significantly since 2008, the last time it was at $11 million.
- Put a Fair Tax referendum on the November 2020 election ballot. Because our state constitution requires a flat income tax, Illinois has been unable to adequately support areas that strengthen communities, including education, healthcare and housing. Illinoisans should be able to vote whether to amend our constitution to allow for a fair, progressive income tax. We will continue to work with the Responsible Budget Coalition towards this end.
Pass State Legislation to Benefit Homeowners and Renters
- Establish a new property tax incentive for affordable rental homes that will encourage investment in residential rental properties in higher and lower cost markets. Eligible buildings would have six or more units that are new construction or undertake qualifying rehabilitation and keep a portion of the rental units affordable. See fact sheet.
- Allow nonprofits working with CDFIs to operate resale programs for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. This will offer relief from existing arms-length affidavit requirements that keep nonprofits from negotiating short sales with lenders to help those facing foreclosure stay in their home through a new, sustainable loan. See fact sheet.
- Expand opportunities to seal tenant eviction records to help people secure a home. Having an eviction filing on your record is a serious obstacle to finding housing, even if the court didn’t decide the case against you. Updating Illinois’ current strict standards to allow for more types of eviction records to be sealed will help people find housing. See fact sheet.
- Update the Homelessness Prevention Program to better serve those most in need by increasing the total assistance a recipient can receive to 6 months of total rent or mortgage payments and allowing nonprofit providers to cover a portion of the case management and/or administrative costs using program funds. See fact sheet.
Pass a Cook County Ordinance to Expand Access to Stable Housing for People with Criminal Records
- We co-chair the Just Housing Initiative, a coalition of individuals with criminal records, service providers, community organizers and others. We are working to pass a Cook County ordinance ensuring that people with an arrest record or criminal record have equal access to stable housing opportunities.
Invest in Affordable Housing & Ending Homelessness at Federal Level
- Working with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and others around the county we work to maximize funding for key federal housing programs, including Housing Choice Vouchers, Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8 Contracts, Homeless Assistance Grants and Housing Counseling.
- Advocate against any further government shutdowns. The shutdown that ended in January, put tens of thousands of our country’s lowest-income and most vulnerable renters at risk through threats of rent increases, evictions or not being able to find shelter when you are experiencing homelessness.
Want to help us make this agenda a reality? Sign up for our policy alerts or get in touch with Bob Palmer, our Policy Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 939-6075).