In this condensed General Assembly session, which ended on April 8, Housing Action Illinois and our partners had three significant victories that further our mission.
Securing Statewide Source of Income Fair Housing Protections
After multiple campaigns over the course of almost 20 years, state legislation creating source of income (SOI) fair housing protections finally passed. House Bill 2775 adds these protections to the Illinois Human Right Act.
SOI protections make housing more accessible to families with nonwage income. Over half of Illinois households have been susceptible to source of income discrimination because they earn non-wage income, such as social security, retirement income and public assistance. In addition, about 99,000 households who use Housing Choice Vouchers to pay their rent often experience source of income discrimination.
For rental housing applicants, HB 2775 provides the opportunity for individuals and families currently shut out of housing opportunities to make their case to a landlord that they will be a good tenant. While not guaranteeing housing, or requiring any landlord to rent to any specific applicant, this legislation will level the playing field for all Illinoisans with nonwage income to access a fuller range of housing options.
Housing Action Illinois is a proud member of the Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing, which came together to work on this issue. With more than 130 organizational endorsers, other key members of the coalition have been Access Living, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, HOPE Fair Housing Center, Housing Choice Partners, Illinois Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-IL), Northside Community Resources, Shriver Center on Poverty Law and Working Family Solidarity.
Many thanks to our chief sponsors, State Representative LaShawn Ford and State Senator Ram Villivalam, as well as supporters in the state legislature and everyone who took some action to support this effort.
We urge Governor Pritzker to sign HB 2775 into law as soon as possible. Once the bill become law, Illinois will be the 20th state, plus the District of Columbia, with source of income protections.
Additional $150 Million in ARPA Funds for Affordable Housing
The General Assembly passed the fiscal year 2023 budget just before 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, after an all night session. The final budget included $150 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for affordable housing from the State of Illinois’ remaining federal fiscal recovery funds. The funds have been appropriated to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).
In combination with the $114 million in APRA funds appropriated last year, this brings the total State of Illinois investment of ARPA funds in affordable housing to $264 million.
The legislative language focuses on spending the $150 million on affordable rental housing that is eligible for or receiving federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, including projects that need gap financing to be completed. However, a legislative intent statement read into the record during the House vote was intended to make it clear that funding can also be used for additional complementary purposes. These include supportive and transitional housing, resources for returning residents, loan assistance for existing homeowners, outreach for homelessness prevention, and funding programs that preserve community integrity. Stakeholders will be working with IHDA to develop and advocate for specific plans to use these funds.
Our champions in the General Assembly all deserve a great deal of thanks, especially Representative Will Guzzardi, Representative Delia Ramirez and all other members of the House Progressive Caucus. In the Senate, Senator Ann Gillespie, Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Senator Mattie Hunter and Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas were among our champions.
Of course, along with Housing Action Illinois, many other organizations were key advocates for these funds. There are too many to name everyone, but the list includes Illinois Housing Council, Supportive Housing Providers Association, Illinois Justice Project, Housing Authority of Cook County, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Here to Stay Community Land Trust, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.
$15 Million Increase in State Budget to Address Homelessness
We are very glad that the fiscal year 2023 state budget includes $15 million in new General Revenue Fund (GRF) funding for Homelessness Prevention and to support the State of Illinois new plan to prevent and end homelessness. This plan is in the process of being finalized by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and other state agencies.
These $15 million in GRF funds were essentially reallocated from funding committed in the current fiscal year to support IDHS’ eviction prevention work with nonprofit service providers. These efforts include distributing federal emergency rent assistance and funding eviction-related legal representation and other services through evictionhelpillinois.org. These services will continue in the next fiscal year at a lower funding amount, $10 million next year compared to $25 million this year, as most federal ERA funds have been spent.
This reallocation comes in the wake of advocacy by Housing Action Illinois and our partners, including Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Supportive Housing Providers Association of Illinois, for reinvesting funding for COVID-19-related eviction mitigation into homeless services.
As with the ARPA funds, Housing Action Illinois, our partners and other stakeholders will be working with IDHS to develop and advocate for specific plans to use these funds.
Partner Wins: Celebrating Allies’ Accomplishments
Several other positive pieces of affordable housing-related legislation that Housng Action Illinois supported by various means passed during the General Assembly session. Thanks to our all that worked on the these bills, especially the chief sponsors and supporting organizations.
Homeless Service Providers are Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (HB 3949)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. La Shawn Ford and Sen. Antonio Muñoz
This bill requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to consider homeless service providers to be essential critical infrastructure workers who qualify for the same priority benefits (such as personal protective equipment and vaccinations) afforded to frontline workers during a federally-designated public health emergency or disaster.
Consumer Fraud Related to Utility Company Names and Logos (HB 4281)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Anne Stava-Murray and Sen. Ann Gillespie
To address a deceptive marketing tactic, this bill amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to state that no non-utility individual, business, or entity shall use a public utility name or logo in any manner to market, solicit, sell, or bill for home insurance, maintenance and or a warranty product. Thanks to the Citizens Utility Board for advocating for this legislation.
Lead Poisoning Prevention (HB 4369)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Lakesia Collins and Sen. Mike Simmons
This legislation amends the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. It requires that the Department of Public Health or its delegate agency shall (rather than may) conduct a follow-up inspection of any dwelling unit for which a mitigation notice was issued.
Real Estate Valuation Task Force (HB 4410)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Lamont Robinson and Sen. Mattie Hunter
This bill establishes the Real Estate Valuation Task Force to address harmful consequences of discrimination related to real estate appraisals. Task force duties include identifying specific causes of racial disparities in appraisals and (i) adopting changes to address such causes; or (ii) if the Task Force determines that additional statutory authority is needed to adopt such changes, issuing a report to the General Assembly describing the needed statutory authority.
Collecting Data on Veterans Use of Homeless Services and Supportive Housing (HB 4998)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Mark Luft and Sen. Sally Turner
This legislation requires the Department of Human Services’ Bureau of Homeless Services and Supportive Housing to annually review and collect data on the number of military veterans receiving services or benefits under the Emergency and Transitional Housing Program, the Emergency Food Program, the Homeless Prevention Program, the Supporting Housing Program, and the Prince Home at Manteno administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Cook County Housing Trust Fund (HB 5018)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Marcus Evans and Sen. Laura Fine
This legislation creates the Cook County Housing Trust Fund, to be managed by the Housing Authority of Cook County. It provides that the Fund may receive moneys from appropriations from the State for use by the Housing Authority of Cook County, as well as loan repayments, cash distributions from equity investments, and similar cash payments generated by a funded project that may be redeposited into the Fund and used for additional projects. Thanks to the Housing Authority of Cook County for advocating for the bill. We are also glad the the Cook County Housing Trust Fund received $13 million in appropriations from state capital budget funds.
Banking Development Districts (HB 5194)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. La Shawn K. Ford and Sen. Doris Turner
This bill allows the governing board of a local government, in conjunction with a depository institution, to submit an application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for the designation of a banking development district. The purpose of these designations is to encourage the establishment of banking branches in geographic locations where there are the greatest underbanked and unbanked populations. When investing or depositing State funds, the State Treasurer and local governments may give preference to depository institutions that have an approved banking development district application.
Facilitating Equity in Education for Students (HB 5265)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Will Guzzardi and Sen. Ann Gillespie
This legislation provides access to fines and fee waivers for students who are eligible for free lunch in both public and charter schools. It also ensures that students’ transcripts and diplomas cannot be withheld because of outstanding fees. Congratulations to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, who advocated for this bill.
Property Tax Exemptions for Land Banks (HB 5532)
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Lakesia Collins and Sen. Steve Stadelman
This legislation creates property tax exemptions for the Cook County Land Bank, South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority and the Northern Illinois Land Bank Authority for properties held for future development. Contains additional provisions.
Senior Housing Residents’ Advisory Council (SB 702)
Chief Sponsors: Sen. Mike Simmons and Rep. Dagmara Avelar
This bill creates the Senior Housing Residents’ Advisory Council as a space and opportunity for senior Illinoisans to connect with each other, meet with representatives from the Department on Aging and the Department of Public Health, and share their ideas on how the State can improve the quality of life for its senior residents.
Rent Projections and other Lease Changes for Manufactured Home Owners (SB 1097)
Chief Sponsors: Sen. Laura Murphy and Rep. Anna Moeller
This legislation makes various changes to benefit manufactured home owners renting lots in manufactured home parks. It establishes that when leases include three-year rent projections, any formula used shall include the total fixed amount, including any applicable “not to exceed” amount, stated in a clear dollar figure. It also includes requires that leases include the contact information of the legal entity that owns the park and a statement notifying the tenant that their right to trial by jury shall not be waived. It also restricts a park owner from charging or imposing a pet fee upon a resident that owns the home, unless a service related to the pet is offered by the park owner and accepted by the resident. Congratulations to the Manufactured Home Owners Association of Illinois, who advocated for this bill.
Property Tax Exemptions (SB 1975)
Chief Sponsors: Sen. Robert Martwick and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit
This bill makes various change to Property Tax Extension Limitation Law in the Property Tax Code. It makes certain increases to the general homestead exemption and senior citizens homestead exemption, provides that the interest rate under the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act is reduced from 6% to 3% (starting with tax year 2023), and allows for automatic renewal of the homestead exemption for qualified people with disabilities. Congratulations to Access Living, who advocated for the provision benefiting people with disabilities.
Since 2021, Housing Action Illinois and others had been advocating that the interest rate on the Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program be lowered and we are pleased that this policy change was made this year.
Changes to Affordable Rental Housing Property Tax Incentives (SB 3895)
Chief Sponsors: Sen. Ann Gillespie and Rep. Will Guzzardi
In order to increase the amount of affordable housing developed using the affordable rental housing property tax incentives passed in 2021, this bill changes the definition of base year to mean the assessed value used to calculate the tax bill, as certified by the Board of Review, for the tax year immediately prior to the tax year in which the building permit is issued. It also establishes that under certain circumstances, weighted averages can be sued to determine maximum rents and income limits.