State Budget Advocacy
CCH does not accept government funding.
Instead, when we advocate for public support it is for the programs that shelter, house and assist homeless youth, students, families and vulnerable adults.
Responsible Budget Coalition
A leader in the Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC), CCH recognizes that budgets are a reflection of government priorities. In the 2014 legislative session, RBC partners advocated for graduated income tax rates based on income earned that are fairer and create the revenue needed by public schools, human services, public safety and health care.
RBC also advocated for legislation to extend a 5% state income tax rate, but the General Assembly failed to act. Without an extension, the income tax rate dropped to 3.75% in January 2015, creating a $4 billion shortfall. This budget crisis seriously threatens human services, schools and other critical public agencies. CCH and RBC partners continue to push for a responsible state budget in FY16 that includes new revenue support.
For the state’s last budget, FY15, CCH succeeded in advocating against more than $7 million in proposed cutbacks to homeless programs. Instead, Illinois maintained level funding for homeless programs, with a $1 million increase in youth funding. This was achieved despite a legislative session embroiled in a deepening state budget crisis:
$5.6 million for homeless youth – $1 million increase brought youth funding to its highest level in Illinois. It funded outreach, shelter and longer-term housing for unaccompanied youth who are homeless and living on their own, without parent or guardian. These funds supported programs that demonstrated expanded services to as many additional youth as possible.
$30.5 million for supportive housing – A $2.7 million increase for supportive housing services. With it, 12,000 more vulnerable adults were able to live in community settings with needed intensive services. Illinois saved millions in institutionalization costs.
$4 million for homeless prevention grants – No increase from FY14. CCH sought a $2 million increase in a program that saw its funding peak at $11 million. A state program conceived by CCH, in 14 years more than 105,000 households were helped with grants that in FY13 averaged $1,048; 88% of recipients remain housed four months later. To advocate for funding, CCH hosted its first display of art by homeless children and youth at the state capitol.
$9.4 million to emergency shelters and transitional housing – No increase from FY14. It funds life-saving shelter to more than 40,000 adults and children in Illinois.
With 19 advocacy days in Springfield during 2014, CCH organizers trained and transported 382 shelter residents and staff from Aurora, Chicago, Maywood, Naperville, Rockford, Springfield and Waukegan. They advocated for funding, adequate tax revenues and substantive legislation, including a CCH-drafted bill that will allows unaccompanied minors to consent to their own non-emergency medical care.
CCH advocated with ally groups including Housing Action Illinois, Supportive Housing Providers Association, Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, and Heartland Alliance, with leadership from legislators such as State Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans (both D-Chicago).
In Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013, CCH and its allies stopping proposed cutbacks of 52% ($4.7 million) to shelters and transitional housing programs across Illinois.
Homeless education funding
In FY14, CCH began a campaign to restore $3 million in homeless school services in the FY15 state budget. Proposed by CCH in the only year these services were state funded (FY09), CCH sought to resume grants to school programs that ensure the enrollment, attendance and success of homeless students.
Homeless enrollment in Illinois public schools grows yearly, with a 7% increase to 59,112 homeless students in 2013-14. After hearing from CCH leaders and advocates, the Illinois State Board of Education and governor’s office both included a $3 million allocation in their recommended budget plans.
Funding was not restored by legislators in the final budget OK’d in May 2014, but the campaign gained momentum. Legislators inserted a placeholder line for homeless education in the final FY15 budget, though they failed to allocate funds in the November 2014 veto session. Then-Gov. Pat Quinn proclaimed May 2014 Homeless Students Educational Rights Month, and legislators in the Black Caucus named homeless education to be a funding priority. CCH also released a statewide study on school service gaps to homeless students.
For more information, contact Policy Specialist Jennifer Cushman at (312) 641-4140.