Illinois Legislative Wrap Up: 2023

The Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its spring session this past Friday evening/Saturday morning (depending on if you think of the glass half full or empty).  Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) worked on several legislative initiatives to best support people experiencing homelessness. With fiscal concerns fueled by an unexpected drop in projected revenue, the budgeteers were a bit more cautious in allocating funding to new and additional services.  

This year Chicago Coalition for the Homeless asked for additional funding for four-line items.

These items directly address housing security including homelessness prevention, homeless youth, permanent supportive housing, and emergency and transitional housing. Service providers struggle with the hard decisions around making cuts to services and turning people and families away when there isn’t enough space or funding to provide them with help. In addition, CCH asked for an increase in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant program.  

In the Governor’s proposed budget, he laid the way for his plan to end homelessness in Illinois under the new initiative Home Illinois

The program has $85 million in new money to support homeless services.

After budget negotiation these funds will be allocated as follows: $40.7 million to support Emergency and Transition Housing, $10.8 million to Homelessness Prevention Programming, $6 million to Permanent Supportive Housing, and $3 million for Homeless Youth Programming. The plan also includes funds for asylum seekers, as well as federal funds for rapid rehousing, eviction support, triage shelters, and pilot programs. We are excited about the additional funding opportunities for providers and the people and communities they serve.  

CCH worked on passing legislation that will remove structural barriers.

For students experiencing housing insecurity, school is often the only place where things are stable for homeless students. Schools are required to provide services and assistance to students who are experiencing housing insecurity, but sometimes students aren’t aware that help is available and sometimes teachers are unsure of how to identify or provide aid to these students. Helping these students remain enrolled and engaged is critical for their futures. House Bill 3116 (Representative Katie Stuart and Senator Karina Villa) will require all school personnel to complete a training to help them identify and know the supports for these students.  

CCH worked in collaboration with Cabrini Green Legal Aid

on Senate Bill 1367 (Senator Christopher Belt and Representative Lilian Jimenez). In 2020 our organizations successfully worked on the Public Housing Access Bill (PHAB) creating standards for Illinois Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to make sure returning citizens have access to public housing.  It created a standardization for the criminal background screening process, improved equity, and access to affordable housing for individuals with records. To provide additional clarity and provide greater access SB 1367 shortened the look-back periods, expands public housing to any program that receives federal funding and provides applicants with an opportunity to present mitigating circumstances before being denied due to their background.  This legislation also clarifies data collection.  

TANF cash assistance did receive an increase.

Our advocacy for an increase to the TANF cash assistance did result in an increase, but not to the level families need. We asked for a 20% increase, to move the cash assistance from 30% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) (where the support has been for the last six years) to 50%., The Governor’s office requested an increase to 40%, and the final budget implementation bill increased the assistance by only 5% to 35% FPL.  With the federal government looking to put more restrictions and barriers in the way of families receiving TANF in their compromise over the debt ceiling, making sure that we are providing families with an increased grant amount will be a continued goal at CCH.    

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless would like to thank our partners in this work.

alongside the advocates who worked with us this year including the sponsors listed above as well as Representative Michelle Mussman and Senator Adriane Johnson who carried the housing budget ask legislation, Representative Will Guzzardi, chair of the Housing Committee, Senator Robert Peters and Senator Sara Feigenholtz for their advocacy for the Homeless Youth line item and Leader Elgie Sims and Leader Jehan Gordan-Booth the chief budgeteers in both chambers.  

If you would like to learn more about what CCH was advocating for in Springfield this season check out our State Legislation page:

Get Ready to Renew Your Medicaid Coverage

Medicaid customers have not had to renew their Medicaid coverage since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Medicaid pays for healthcare, like doctor visits, prescription medicine, and urgent emergency services.  

Now Illinois is starting renewals again to see if people are still eligible. Everybody’s renewal date is different, so it is critical that you get ready to renew.  

Don’t risk losing your Medicaid Coverage! Here is what you need to do:  

Click Manage My Case at to: 

  • Verify your mailing address under “contact us.” 
  • Find your due date (also called redetermination date) in your “benefit details.”

Watch your mail and complete your renewal right away. 

You can also update your mailing address and find your Medicaid redetermination date by calling 1-800-843-6154.

If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, connect to coverage at work or through the official Affordable Care Act marketplace for Illinois,

Need assistance? Contact CCH Public Benefits Specialist Venus Rivera at

Preschool Enrollment Support

Early childhood education is a crucial component to a child’s development and future academic success. Studies show that children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and stay out of the criminal legal system.

Chicago families with preschool-age children can enroll in preschool starting April 11 for the 2023-24 school year.

If your child is four years old on or before September 1, 2023, they are eligible for CPS full-day and half-day programs. If your child is three years old on or before September 1, 2023, they are eligible for CPS half-day programs and Community Based Programs.

Families can apply online and get information about early learning on the CPS website or by phone, at (312) 229-1690.

CPS gives priority placement in preschool for children in families experiencing homelessness.

Still, it is important to apply as early as possible to avoid being placed on a waitlist.

Children experiencing homelessness can be enrolled in preschool without proof of address, income, guardianship or other documents normally needed for enrollment. This includes children living in shelters, those sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing or economic hardship (“doubled-up”), or those living in other temporary living situations.

Families experiencing homelessness should indicate their living situation on the application and notify the person assisting them with preschool enrollment.

If you submit the application during the Initial Application Period (April 11– May 2) you’ll receive your child’s placement by May 19th. If the application is submitted after May 2, the child’s placement will be sent on a rolling basis. You can log into the portal or call the hotline to find out your child’s placement.

After submitting the application and receiving your child’s placement, you must verify your child’s spot at your assigned preschool program within two weeks or at a Family Resource Center. If you are in a temporary living situation, you can receive transportation to verify your child’s spot.

You can apply to more than one preschool program.

You can accept a spot at a preschool program and remain on the waitlist at another preschool program.

If your child is attending a Chicago Public Schools preschool program, your child has a right to transportation services. If your child is attending a community-based preschool program, you should check with the individual program to determine what supports are available for students in temporary living situations.

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is available to answer questions and help families by phone with completing the application for preschool enrollment.

Call Education Attorney Alyssa Phillips at 872-588-6800 if you need assistance with preschool enrollment.

Community Care During Crisis: CCH Mutual Aid Fund Impact Report

At the onset of the COVID–19 pandemic, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless launched the Edrika Fulford Mutual Aid Fund and has distributed more than $450,000 in emergency cash to over 900 households facing homelessness.

In collaboration with the Mutual Aid Fund Governance Committee and researchers at the Inclusive Economy Lab of University of Chicago, the Community Care During Crisis: Mutual Aid Fund Impact Report webinar was hosted on Thursday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. Learn more about the Mutual Aid Fund model and how the program has been working to meet survival needs and build coalition by watching the recording and reviewing the presentation below.

Watch the recording here.

Help us continue to provide emergency care to households facing homelessness.

Hidden Homelessness in the United States

Why Congress must change the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homelessness to align with other federal agencies

An FAQ created by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Family Promise, National Network for Youth, and SchoolHouse Connection. 

What is HUD’s role and how does it define and measure homelessness? 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal agency that oversees national policy and programs related to housing needs and fair housing laws. This includes programs intended to address homelessness, such as rental assistance, housing vouchers, public and subsidized housing, and funding for emergency shelters and wrap-around services. 

HUD defines homeless as “a person who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”  

To estimate the number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States, HUD conducts an annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count on a designated night in January. The PIT count tallies people staying at shelters, transitional housing programs, or a place not meant for habitation, such as a park or car.  

Continue reading Hidden Homelessness in the United States

SB1367 Public Housing Access Bill

The Public Housing Access Bill (PHAB) created standards for Illinois Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to use in the criminal background screening process, improving equity and access to affordable housing for individuals with criminal records. The bill shortened look-back periods and provides applicants with an opportunity to present mitigating circumstances before being denied due to their background.      

The current legislation will clarify data collection and the programs covered by PHAB.  

Sponsors: Sen. Belt, Sen. Peters, and Sen. Simmons

Updated May 30: Passed Both Houses

Community Comments:

As organizers gather in Springfield and Witness Slips are submitted we will keep you up to date with community comments and opportunities to take action.

Return to CCH’s 2023 Legislative

HB2481 / SB2241: Commit to Funding and Ending Homelessness in Illinois 

The recently completed state plan required by Governor Pritzker’s executive order, Home Illinois, creates a framework for achieving functional zero homelessness. The shortage of affordable housing compounded by losing employment, chronic physical and/or mental health problems, domestic violence, or a family turning away a child are just some of the circumstances that result in homelessness.  

State-funded programs to prevent and end homelessness receive deeply inadequate funding to achieve the goals of the plan. Providers have continuously stepped up to serve more people in crisis during the pandemic. Providers continue to struggle with: 

  • Increasing rents in the private market, making it harder to help people maintain or find a home.  
  • Agencies unable to pay competitive wages to retain and recruit qualified staff. 
  • Shelters losing donated spaces and volunteers due to COVID-19 concerns. 

This legislation will increase the housing and homeless service line items. These funds will help support the development of new housing opportunities, keep people on the brink of homelessness to maintain their housing, provide supportive services and make sure that staff in these programs are provided with a living wage.  

Supportive Housing Services  

  • Current Funding: $42.59 million 
  • Total Increased Funding Need: $17.9 million 

The Homeless Youth Program 

  • Current Funding: $7.28 million 
  • Total Increased Funding Need: $5 million 

The Homelessness Prevention Program  

  • Current Funding: $10 million 
  • Increased Funding Need: $5 million 

The Emergency and Transitional Housing Program 

  • Current Funding: $10.38 million 
  • Increased Funding Need: $51 million 

Sponsors: Rep. Mussman and Sen. Johnson

Update: March 14, 2023 – Committee Deadline Extended

Community Comments:

As organizers gather in Springfield and Witness Slips are submitted we will keep you up to date with community comments and opportunities to take action.

Return to CCH’s 2023 Legislative

HB2302 / SB1580: Creating Opportunities For Illinoisans in Need II (COIN II Act)

In 1996, Congress changed public benefits providing states with block grants to assist people living in extreme poverty. States are permitted to use the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant in the way they see fit, though the main purpose of the grant is to provide cash assistance to families. Of the billion dollars Illinois has in TANF funds, we use 4% on cash assistance.  The monthly grant for a family of 3, a parent and their two children, living in Illinois is $549. Parents share that the grant is not enough to meet their basic needs, including rent, utilities, clothing, personal hygiene products, diapers, transportation, etc. 

This legislation will increase monthly TANF grants to 50% of the FPL. Increasing the cash grant amount to at least 50% of FPL would lift a quarter of Illinois children living in extreme poverty out of extreme poverty, which would lead to improved economic, health, and educational outcomes. 

Sponsors: Rep. Evans and Sen. Johnson  

Update: March 10, 2023 – House: Committee/3rd Reading Deadline Extended-Rule May 19th, 2023

Community Comments:

As organizers gather in Springfield and Witness Slips are submitted we will keep you up to date with community comments and opportunities to take action.

Return to CCH’s 2023 Legislative

HB 3116: Learning to Support Students Experiencing Homelessness

For students experiencing housing insecurity, school is often the only place where things are stable and provide some form of normalcy. Maintaining their presence and consistent attendance is critical for their futures. Experiencing homelessness as an adult can be traumatic but can be more so for young children and teens. 

This legislation will provide training to teachers and staff to assist and support students experiencing homelessness.

Sponsors: Rep. Stuart and Sen. Villa

Updated May 30: Passed Both Houses

Return to CCH’s 2023 Legislative

SNAP Emergency Allotments Ending

En Español

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has announced that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will return to pre-pandemic levels beginning in March 2023. Illinois will sustain emergency SNAP benefits through February, but the federal increases will end on March 1, 2023. 

With the end of emergency benefits, SNAP participants will see benefits reduced. The reduction in SNAP benefits is a result of a federal policy change, not because of changes in individual SNAP cases. 

Since April 2020, all Illinois SNAP households received both the regular monthly benefit and an emergency SNAP allotment. Beginning on March 1, 2023, each SNAP household will only receive benefits based on factors like household size, income, and deductions. This means that the decrease in the benefit amounts will depend on each household’s size and financial circumstances. 

All SNAP recipient households will receive a client notice listing the amount of benefits they will receive. 

IDHS has also put together a resource page to help SNAP households with the transition. Customers will receive their regular normal SNAP benefits through their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card beginning in March 2023 on their regularly scheduled issuance date. 

To prepare for this change, IDHS recommends SNAP customers visit and update their account if there is a change in address, increase in housing costs, or decrease in income. This will ensure that SNAP households are receiving their maximum benefits. 

If you have any questions regarding public benefits such as SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid, please contact Venus Rivera, Public Benefits Specialist at the CCH Law Project, by email at or call (312) 720-1800. 

Find a Food Pantry

Sobre el fin de las asignaciones de emergencia de SNAP (borrador)

Febrero de 2023

El Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Illinois (Illinois Department of Human Services, IDHS) ha anunciado que los beneficios del Programa Suplementario de Asistencia Nutricional (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP) volverán a los niveles anteriores a la pandemia a partir de marzo de 2023. Illinois mantendrá los beneficios de emergencia del SNAP hasta febrero, pero los aumentos federales finalizarán el 1 de marzo de 2023.

Con el fin de los beneficios de urgencia, los participantes del SNAP verán reducidos sus beneficios. La reducción de los beneficios del SNAP se debe a un cambio en la política federal, no a cambios en los casos individuales del SNAP.

Desde abril de 2020, todos los hogares SNAP de Illinois recibieron tanto el beneficio mensual regular como una asignación SNAP de emergencia. A partir del 1 de marzo de 2023, cada hogar SNAP sólo recibirá beneficios basados en factores como el tamaño del hogar, los ingresos y las deducciones. Esto significa que la reducción del monto de los beneficios dependerá del tamaño de cada hogar y de sus circunstancias económicas.

Todos los hogares beneficiarios del SNAP recibirán un aviso de cliente en el que se indicará el monto de los beneficios que recibirán.

El IDHS también ha creado una página de recursos para ayudar a los hogares SNAP con la transición. Los clientes recibirán sus beneficios normales de SNAP a través de su tarjeta de Transferencia Electrónica de Beneficios (Electronic Benefit Transfer, EBT) a partir de marzo de 2023 en su fecha de emisión regular programada.

Para prepararse para este cambio, el IDHS recomienda a los clientes de SNAP visitar y actualizar su cuenta si hay un cambio de dirección, aumento de los costos de vivienda o disminución de los ingresos. Esto garantizará que los hogares beneficiarios del SNAP reciban el beneficio máximo.

Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre beneficios públicos como SNAP, TANF o Medicaid, póngase en contacto con Venus Rivera, Especialista en Prestaciones Públicas del CCH Law Project, por correo electrónico en la dirección venus@chicagohomeless.orgo por teléfono al(312) 720-1800.

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