2022 Year in Review
For 35 years, our coalition has brought together hundreds of organizations and supporters to work toward an Illinois where everyone has a stable, affordable place to call home. In 2022, while celebrating our 35th anniversary and reflecting on past accomplishments, we made critical progress on ending homelessness and expanding affordable housing for all.
Ashley Holiday Perez
Linoleum prints created in the Collaborative Resistance Printshop course at the UIC School of Art & Art History in the spring of 2022. Students in the course created works in response to questions posed by Housing Action Illinois about the future and importance of affordable housing.
35 Years of Positive Change
Since 1986, Housing Action Illinois has worked to expand and protect affordable housing and end homelessness in Illinois.
In 2022, we celebrated 35 years of success and used that solid foundation to make critical progress, as detailed below. Every day, on our own and through coalition work with partners, we continue to help low- to moderate-income homeowners, renters, and people experiencing homelessness.
This past year, we also finalized a new strategic plan and updated our mission statement to expressly include our understanding of expanding affordable housing as a matter of racial and economic justice.
Members of the Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing, who successfully advocated to pass statewide source of income protections for renters in 2022
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. In 2022, our key wins included expanding housing opportunities for renters and increasing state investments in affordable housing, and ending homelessness. We also celebrated Policy Director Bob Palmer’s 20th anniversary with Housing Action Illinois.
Securing Statewide Source of Income Fair Housing Protections
Source of income (SOI) discrimination is when someone is denied the opportunity to even apply for rental housing simply because they will pay rent with non-wage income, such as rental subsidiees, social security, retirement income, and public assistance.
After multiple campaigns over the course of almost 20 years, state legislation creating source of income (SOI) fair housing protections finally passed in Illinois in 2022. These protections were added to the Illinois Human Right Act pursuant to House Bill 2775.
The law went into effect on January 1, 2023, making Illinois the 20th state, plus the District of Columbia, to have SOI protections. This new law will level the playing field for all Illinoisans with non-wage 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 include 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.
Additional $150 Million in ARPA Funds for Affordable Housing
The General Assembly passed the fiscal year 2023 budget in April 2022, which included $150 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for affordable housing appropriated to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). Housing Action Illinois helped lead a coalition to advocate for these funds.
The $150 million will be focused on providing gap financing for affordable rental housing that is eligible for or receiving federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. This financing is necessary to complete shovel-ready affordable rental housing projects experiencing higher than expected construction costs and other funding gaps. Projects have been funded for a variety of different housing needs around the state, including housing for families, seniors, people with disabilities, and people who need supportive housing.
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.
$15 Million Increase in State Budget to Address Homelessness
The fiscal year 2023 state budget includes $15 million in new General Revenue Fund 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.
This investment comes in the wake of advocacy by Housing Action Illinois and our partners, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Supportive Housing Providers Association of Illinois (SHPA), 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.
In December 2022, IDHS dedicated $5 million of these funds to emergency shelter providers to help them expand their capacity to serve people during the winter months.
Housing Action Illinois Capacity Building team at the 2022 Housing Matters Conference: James Miller, Jennifer Pallas, David Young, Bibian Cristino & Wanda Collins
We build the capacity of housing nonprofits through individualized coaching and technical assistance, trainings, and pass-through funding, with a specific focus on supporting housing counseling agencies. These agencies offer no- or low-cost education and one-on-one counseling for families and individuals who are renting or buying homes. In 2022, we welcomed 609 participants at 26 trainings and received nearly $1.4 million from HUD to distribute to housing counseling agencies and continue our national trainings. We also celebrated Director of Capacity Building David Young’s 10th anniversary with Housing Action Illinois.
Housing Action Intermediary: Our Collective Impact
As an Intermediary, we secure funding from HUD and pass it on to an affiliate network of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in the Midwest. We help these agencies with administrative functions and assist each agency to ensure it meets program standards and client needs. We aid them in expanding funds, leveraging other resources, compiling reports, training staff, and staying abreast of new funding opportunities. With our support and resources, these agencies are able to help more families and create more change in their communities.
In 2022, HUD announced that it will award $1,147,942 to Housing Action Illinois for our Intermediary work, which we will distribute through subgrants to the 35 housing counseling agencies in our network. Learn more »
Nationwide Trainings for Housing Counselors
Housing Action Illinois was pleased to receive a second HUD Training Award in 2022. These funds will enable Housing Action to provide a robust lineup of trainings to help housing counseling agencies become more effective, expand their programs, and develop staff skills to meet changing needs. Housing counselors must keep up to date on a wide range of topics, such as how to access down payment assistance programs, manage mortgage delinquency, and avoid discriminatory or predatory lending practices.
Housing Action Illinois National Service Program Associate Mare Ralph & AmeriCorps Leader Petra Rodriguez Everson
Housing Action understands that many of our members have capacity building needs without the human capital to address those needs. This is why we manage an AmeriCorps national service program, matching AmeriCorps service members with community-based organizations across Illinois to help them build capacity.
In 2022, we placed 21 full-year and 9 summer-term AmeriCorps VISTA members with host organizations around Illinois to help them do more and do it better.
Spotlight on: Jack Susla, Serving at the Chicago Furniture Bank
During 2022, Jack Susla served as a full-year Housing Action AmeriCorps VISTA at the Chicago Furniture Bank (CFB). During his term of service, Jack worked with hundreds of clients to provide entire homes worth of furnishings for free, which allowed recipients to gain stability and put down roots in a home. He also recruited and managed volunteers and built significant long-term capacity for CFP to furnish homes through grant writing and developing an online catalog.
Jack’s specific capacity building activities included coordinating information sessions and hosting webinars on CFB’s programming and furnishing services—educational outreach that is vital to the organization’s future because it helps partners and clients understand and make full use of CFB’s services. He also added furniture items to the CFB’s online catalog, worked with a student coding group from DePaul University to create a map showing CFB’s partner agencies and areas served, oversaw a grants calendar, coordinated several large volunteer events, and maintained the CFB’s database of volunteers.
Jack’s efforts supported CFB in expanding its programming and getting closer to its ultimate goal of furnishing 10,000 homes per year.
Spotlight on: Molly McNamee, Serving at HOPE Fair Housing Center
Molly McNamee served as a full-year Housing Action AmeriCorps VISTA at HOPE Fair Housing Center during 2022. During her term of service, she updated a plan for HOPE to expand programming in southern Illinois and created educational materials for the organization to implement the plan. Molly also finalized new outreach materials, updated and expanded a contact list with new counties added to the plan, and identified outreach opportunities for HOPE to make more connections in communities throughout the state. She created a targeted presentation for HOPE’s outreach team to use for southern communities facing different fair housing issues than their counterparts in the Chicagoland area, researched potential community partners for hosting fair housing clinics, and began to approach the contacts. She successfully planned an event with the Northwestern IL Continuum of Care, and the team at HOPE Fair Housing is eager to use the foundation she laid to continue their expanded programming in southern Illinois.
HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Diane M. Shelley gives keynote remarks at the 2022 Housing Matters Conference
Public Education & Organizing
By sharing information and real-life stories with policymakers, nonprofit service providers, and the media, we build awareness about housing issues and the urgent need for more quality, affordable housing throughout the state. Our staff works to keep affordable housing in the headlines and make sure people understand our issues, building momentum to create change. In 2022, we were excited to reunite in person for our sold-out annual Housing Matters Conference.
Reuniting In Person for 2022 Housing Matters
We were thrilled to be back in person for our 2022 Housing Matters Conference in Bloomington this year. 251 participants from 141 organizations joined us to partake in critical conversations, build relationships, and gain new perspectives. Throughout the two days, we facilitated 12 breakout workshops covering topics related to affordable housing development, ending homelessness, housing counseling, and policy advocacy. We also networked, hosted a reception, and toasted to our long history of wins for affordable housing at our 35th Anniversary Gala Dinner.
We opened our event with a session featuring storyteller Emily Hooper Lansana, who discussed Storytelling Through Community by sharing what we’ve lost, learned, and gained during these challenging years; heard afternoon remarks from keynote speaker HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Diane M. Shelley, who shared HUD’s strategic priorities and how we can work together to address housing needs in our state and region; and closed our event by hearing from IDFPR Secretary Mario Treto, Jr., whose agency is charged with implementing critical new state laws, including the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act.
All of our programming helped participants return to their communities with more of the foundational skills, resources, and relationships needed to strengthen their impact and expand their outreach.
Save the date for our next Housing Matters Conference, which will take place back in Bloomington on October 19 & 20, 2023.
Raising Awareness & Shaping Narratives
We partnered with the National Low Income Housing Coalition to release two reports on housing access. The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes finds that there are only 36 available and affordable homes per 100 low-income renter households in Illinois. Out of Reach shares critical housing affordability data, finding that renters working full-time must earn $22.80 per hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in Illinois.
We continued to speak up to change the narrative on affordable housing in the media. Visit our In the Media page to read articles written by or quoting our staff and pieces on our programs or proposed legislation.
More than 250 participants joined us for the 2022 Housing Matters to dig into the issues, hear from experts, and build relationships (Photographer: Pamela Cather)
We are always grateful for all of our supporters, both new and returning. Your support strengthens our efforts to expand access to affordable housing in every community.
Contribute to our mission to create an Illinois where everyone has a good, affordable place to call home: