- New State Budget Makes Historic Investment in Ending Homelessness
- Increased ARPA Funding for Gap Financing of Affordable Rental Housing
- New Home Modification Funding
- Strengthened State Law on Local Planning for Affordable Housing
- Established Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force
- More Good Bills that Passed
New State Budget Makes Historic Investment in Ending Homelessness
We are very pleased that the final state budget, developed by the General Assembly in collaboration with Governor JB Pritzker, includes a new $200.3 million Home Illinois line item, which makes historic increased investments in preventing and ending homelessness. Within the Home Illinois line item, $85 million is new General Revenue Fund resources.
This final budget amount mirrors the funding proposed by Governor Pritzker in February, with additional details on how the funding will be used. The final budget was officially adopted when the General Assembly completed the 2023 Spring session early in the morning of Saturday, May 27.
Housing Action Illinois is glad to see significantly increased funding for priorities we advocated for, including record increases for the Emergency and Transitional Housing (ETH) Program ($40.7 million) and the Homeless Prevention Program ($10.8 million).
The ETH funding increase will help reduce the shortage of more than 4,550 emergency shelter beds statewide, as identified by the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness. This will reduce the number of individuals and families denied shelter due to shelters being full.
The increase for the Homeless Prevention Program almost doubles the current funding available. Based on past average grant amounts and households served, this increase in funding will assist more than 5,000 households, more than half of them families with children.
This Home Illinois funding also provides much-needed increases for existing services, such as supportive housing, youth homelessness, legal representation for tenants facing eviction, and rapid rehousing. New initiatives, such as shelter diversion and scattered site permanent supportive housing, will also be funded.
Critically, a significant percentage of the Home Illinois funding will be available to meet the shelter and housing needs of people who are recent arrivals to the United States, including people bused to Illinois from Texas and people seeking asylum.
Overall, this and other funding in the budget supports the state plan to reach functional zero homelessness, also called Home Illinois.
Many state legislators championed the funding, including Representative Michelle Mussman and Senator Adriane Johnson, who were the chief sponsors of state legislation in support of our budget requests. Several members of the House Housing Committee, chaired by State Representative Will Guzzardi, as well as many additional legislators in the House and Senate, also actively supported the effort.
We collaborated with many partners on our state budget advocacy, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Illinois Shelter Alliance, Supportive Housing Providers Association, as well as Continuums of Care and homeless service providers around the state. Before and during the General Assembly session, we advocated with both the governor’s office and state legislators to maximize the amount of funding appropriated.
Governor Pritzker will speak on the state plan at the Home Illinois Summit, being held on June 14 at Malcolm X College in Chicago. The full day event will showcase the innovations and progress made throughout the state through the dedicated investments. There will be an opportunity to have input on future plans so the State of Illinois continues to make progress and foster collaboration in the coming year.
Learn more and register for the HOME Illinois summit here »
Increased ARPA Funding for Gap Financing of Affordable Rental Housing
The state budget commits nearly $139 million in additional funding from the State of Illinois’ federal fiscal recovery funds, provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, for gap financing for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects.
Recent LIHTC projects have had higher than originally projected development costs due to a variety of factors, including increases in construction costs. The gap financing will help ensure that these affordable rental projects get completed. The Illinois Housing Council, Housing Action Illinois and others called for the state budget to make additional ARPA investments in affordable rental housing.
This brings the total State of Illinois investment of ARPA funds in affordable housing to approximately $403 million.
New Home Modification Funding
Congratulations to Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living and their members for successful advocacy efforts to increase funding for home modifications that assist people with disabilities stay in their homes and out of institutions, such as nursing homes. Next year’s state budget includes $7.5 million in new funding for this purpose, to be administered by Centers for Independent Living throughout the state.
Strengthened State Law on Local Planning for Affordable Housing
Housing Action Illinois worked with partners to advocate for improvements to the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act (AHPAA). This longstanding state law requires local governments with the lowest amounts of affordable housing–either for sale or for rent–to develop plans to increase their supply of affordable housing stock. These communities are also subject to having denials of proposed affordable housing reviewed and overturned by a State Housing Appeal Board, but this provision has never been utilized.
Senate Bill 1476 addresses AHPAA’s shortcomings by:
- Strengthening the requirements for affordable housing plans, both in terms of content and timelines. This includes identifying zoning restrictions and other local policies that do not affirmatively further fair housing and/or constrain the supply of affordable housing and a first-time requirement for plans to include timelines for action steps and reporting on implementation.
- Amending standards for filing an appeal to the State Housing Appeals Board so that any of the following parties can file: the developer, a person who would be eligible to apply for residency in the proposed affordable housing development, or a housing organization whose geographic focus area includes the municipality or county where the proposed affordable housing development is located.
- Updating the composition of the State Housing Appeals Board to reduce obstacles to identifying a chair and other members.
Thanks to our chief sponsors, Senator Ann Gillespie and Representative Abdelnasser Rashid.
Established Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force
The annual tax sale puts homeowners, especially seniors and those with disabilities, at risk of losing their home solely for delinquent property taxes that are purchased by investors motivated by profit, without regard for the long-term impact on families and communities.
Black and Brown communities are especially negatively impacted, as the current system makes it harder for households to transfer wealth, contributing to the racial wealth and homeownership gaps.
In response, Housing Action Illinois, Neighborhood Housing Services, and others developed Senate Bill 74. This legislation creates a task force to study and make recommendations for the implementation of a payment plan option to divert delinquent owner-occupied properties in Cook County from the annual tax sale.
The Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force will facilitate in-depth discussions with stakeholders in Cook County’s residential property tax process, including local taxing districts, county officials and administrators, taxpayer representatives, and housing advocates. The task force will produce a report based on their work in late 2023. Our goal is that the work of the task force will lead to the introduction of legislation creating a payment plan option for Cook County homeowners with delinquent property taxes in 2024.
Thanks to our chief sponsors, Senator Robert Peters and Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin.
More Good Bills that Passed
- House Bill 1541 provides that a utility shall not terminate gas or electric utility service to a residence for the nonpayment of bills on specified days when the forecasted temperature will be greater than or equal to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- House Bill 1628 provides that a landlord shall not require a tenant or prospective tenant to remit any amount due to the landlord under a residential lease, renewal, or extension agreement by means of an electronic funds transfer.
- House Bill 2217 creates a 90 day period upon entering a lease that testing and mitigation for radon can be conducted by a tenant. It allows a tenant to break a lease if they were never disclosed the required material on the dangers of radon, or the documented existence of radon on the property and their unit was discovered to be above the “Radon Hazard Level” and the property owner does not mitigate the hazard.
- House Bill 2562 provides that when a common interest community building, condominium building, or residential rental property has a cooling system or heating system that it shall comply with specified standards, including minimum temperatures depending on the time of year and outside temperature.
- Senate Bill 1741 eliminates the exemption that in a property with 4 or fewer units, a property owner who withholds any part of a security deposit from a tenant does not have to provide an itemized statement regarding the amount withheld.
- House Bill 2094 provides that any marketing materials from a mortgage company not connected to the consumer’s mortgage company must comply with specified requirements, including not using any language stating or implying that any response by a consumer who is not an existing customer is required.
- Senate Bill 201 allows certain foreclosure court records filed during the COVID-19 pandemic to be sealed.
Preventing and Ending Homelessness
- House Bill 2831 makes Governor Pritzker’s executive order creating the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness within the Department of Human Services, which coordinates state planning efforts, state law. We worked with the Supportive Housing Providers Association and others to pass this bill.
- House Bill 3116 requires that at least once every 2 years, a school board shall conduct in-service training on homelessness for all school personnel. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless worked with others to pass this bill.
- Senate Bill 1376 requires that referrals of a homeless family with school age children to a homeless shelter shall consider the military status of any member of the family to determine the family’s eligibility for State or federal benefits and other supportive services.
- Senate Bill 2005 requires Public Housing Authorities to develop and implement policies granting housing preferences to veterans who are homeless.
- Senate Bill 1817, an initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, adds fair housing protections based on immigration status to the Illinois Human Rights Act; clarifies that immigration status may be considered when required to comply with state or federal law; and prohibits discriminatory advertisements for room rentals (including short-term rentals).
- Senate Bill 1367 clarifies and strengthens state law originally passed in 2021, which created standards for Illinois’ Public Housing Authorities to use in the criminal background screening process, improving equity and access to affordable housing. Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless took the lead on passing this bill.
Housing and Community Development
- House Bill 3892 allows the Illinois Housing Development Authority to develop a program that provides incentives for the development of affordable housing projects that incorporate urban and suburban gardening programs.
- Senate Bill 40 requires new construction of single-family homes and multi-unit residential buildings to include basic infrastructure for electric vehicle charging in a certain number of parking spaces.
- Senate Bill 1484 creates the Cooperative Housing Fund, subject to appropriaiton, for the Illinois Housing Development Authority to use to award grants to various organizations for cooperative housing developments.
- Senate Bill 1675 reforms Illinois’ delinquent tax sale system and unleash development in communities with high rates of vacant properties. The Chicago Community Trust organized a coalition of supporters, including Housing Action Illinois, to pass the bill. The office of the Cook County Treasurer, Maria Pappas, was also a key leader to help develop the bill’s content and negotiate the bill with various stakeholders. This bill includes multiple positive provisions, including:
- Allowing local municipalities and counties to quickly intervene after one failed delinquent tax sale to save abandoned properties rather than allow them to cycle through the tax sale system for years;
- Reducing taxpayer-funded payouts to private tax buyers by narrowing “Sale in Error” loopholes;
- Cutting in half the monthly interest rate on delinquent taxes for homeowners and others in Cook County from 1.5% to 0.75% per month; and
- Making the Cook County Scavenger Sale optional, allowing alternatives for vacant or abandoned properties currently required to go to the Scavenger Sale.
- Senate Bill 2037 establishes the Community Land Trust Task Force to study the current use of community land trusts to create home ownership opportunities with permanent affordability, as well as to make recommendations for their expanded use statewide. Palenque LSNA and others advocated for the bill.
- Senate Bill 2368 requires local governments to update their building codes, including for residential properties, to modern international standards, so that newly built and substantially rehabbed properties are resilient to natural disasters such as snowstorms, high winds, tornadoes and flooding. This will help save lives and qualify Illinois for secure federal relief funds in the aftermath of natural disasters.