CCH does not accept government funding. Instead, when we advocate for public support, it is on behalf of programs that shelter, house and assist families, children and youth, and vulnerable adults who are homeless and at-risk.
In spring 2013, CCH helped persuade the Illinois General Assembly to protect critical funding for homeless services and prevention during a legislative session that was overshadowed by a continuing state budget crisis. State officials focused on where to make cutbacks in FY 2014, but programs assisting homeless people secured increases in two key areas:
* $9.4 million to emergency shelter and transitional housing in the budget year that began July 2013. This is an increase of $300,000 (3.3%) from FY13’s $9.1 million appropriation. This funds life-saving shelter to more than 40,000 adults and children in Illinois each year.
* $4 million to homeless prevention grants, level funding from FY13. One-time state grants are given to families on the verge of losing their housing. Grants averaged $864 in FY12 and state studies show more than 90% remained housed four to 12 months later.
* $4.6 million for homeless youth services. A $500,000 increase (12%) from $4.1 million (FY13) restores annual cutbacks begun five years earlier. It funds outreach, shelter and longer-term housing for unaccompanied youth who are homeless and living on their own, without parent or guardian. The restored funds will support proposals that demonstrate expanded services to as many additional youth as possible.
During six advocacy days in Springfield, CCH organizers trained and transported more than 250 shelter residents and staff from Aurora, Chicago, Lake County, Maywood, Naperville, Rockford, and Wheaton. Also working with us were Housing Action Illinois, Supportive Housing Providers Association, Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, and Heartland Alliance.
Our 2013 work continues a record of effective advocacy: For FY12 and FY13, CCH helped persuade legislators to drop 52% cutbacks (of $4.7 million) to shelters and transitional housing programs across Illinois.
Next year, CCH will work to restore support for the state’s cost-effective homeless prevention grant program. A CCH housing campaign, It Takes a Home to Raise a Child, proposed and advocated for this program that has assisted more than 100,000 households since 2000. Funding peaked at $11 million in FY08.
CCH will continue to advocate that Illinois restore $3 million in FY09 grants to schools for tutoring and outreach services to homeless students – their enrollment rose 8% in 2012-13, to 51,638 children and teens.
As an early partner in the Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC), CCH recognizes that budgets are a reflection of government priorities. In July 2013, CCH and many other RBC members joined in the launch of A Better Illinois, a campaign that seeks to create a graduated state income tax instead of the current flat-rate tax. This would increase the state’s financial resources for funding human services, public schools, public safety and health care.
For more information, contact Policy Specialist Jennifer Cushman at (312) 641-4140.