By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation
The General Assembly wrapped up its lame-duck session by passing legislation that will help remove barriers for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness, as well as providing additional support and funding.
Senate Bill 1720- Supplemental Budget Implementation Bill- Child Support Passthrough
Each year the General Assembly passes both a budget bill as well as a bill that serves as a guide to spending the funding included in the budget called the budget implementation bill (BIMP). During the lame-duck session, members worked on a supplemental BIMP. Remarkably, this supplemental legislation includes language to end the twenty-six-year-old antiquated policy of retaining child support collected on behalf of public benefits recipient families.
Under regular circumstances when a noncustodial parent pays child support the state passes through the total amount to the parent in the household with the child to support the child’s needs. But federal law provides that families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must cooperate with child support enforcement efforts and are mandated to assign their rights to child support payments to the state. In 2020, noncustodial parents paid over $56.6 million in child support, the state kept over $54 million and passed $2.4 million to the families. Families on TANF live below the federal poverty level and often struggle to meet their basic needs. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless alongside Heartland Alliance worked over the last year to end this practice. With the passage of SB1720 Illinois will join California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Minnesota in ensuring child support paid goes to supporting children.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless would like to thank Leader Marcus Evans, Senator Adriane Johnson, Leader Greg Harris, Leader Elgie Sims, House and Senate Leadership, and the Governor’s Office for their advocacy in moving this policy change.
House Bill 969- Supplemental Budget
As housing and homeless service providers continue to support people in their communities struggling with housing insecurity advocates worked to make sure additional American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars were included in HB969 for housing needs. With the ongoing pandemic, emergency shelter providers have had to change the service model to best keep their clients and staff safe. We have also heard from providers that retaining and hiring new staff is challenging. One of the keys to making sure people find and maintain housing is building and retaining relationships between clients and support services staff. Constant staff turnover leaves clients with additional instability and cycling in and out of services. The additional funding in HB969 will also support creating permanent supportive housing and landlord mitigation programming.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless would like to thank Representative Will Guzzardi, Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Leader Greg Harris, Leader Elgie Sims and Housing Action Illinois for their advocacy.
House Bill 3878- Illinois Rental Housing Support Program
HB 3878 addresses the critical problem of a lack of affordable rental units available for the working poor. HB 3878 increases funding for the Rental Housing Support Program (RHSP), the State’s primary vehicle for providing rental housing support. RHSP serves households earning at or below 15% and 30% of the Area Median Income (i.e. $27,300 for a family of four in Chicago or $24,700 in Springfield). Populations with incomes in this range are often the most difficult to house. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Illinois has a deficit of more than 131,000 housing units affordable to households at this income. The Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) Affordable Rental Unit Survey shows that only 7.6% of existing rental units in Illinois are affordable to households making 30% AMI or lower. Meanwhile, cost-burdened renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
HB 3878 increases support for the RHSP with a modest increase of $10 for every recordation.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless would like to thank Representative Curtis Tarver, Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Representative Denyse Stoneback, Senator Omar Aquino, Representative Will Guzzardi, the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, and Housing Action Illinois for their advocacy.
House Bill 2542- Name Change
An initiative of the ACLU- IL. Illinoisans with felony convictions cannot change their name until ten years after the end of their sentence. HB 2542 brings IL law in line with the majority of other states and helps trans and gender-expansive people and survivors of human trafficking live safer and more authentic lives by:
- Removing the ten-year waiting period for people with felony convictions
- Removing the lifetime ban for people with identity theft convictions
Senate Bill 208- Paid Family Leave
An initiative of SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and Women Employed. This legislation grants private-sector workers statewide a minimum of five days a year (40 hours) of paid leave for illness or other personal reasons, it also provides that employees may carry over any unused time into the next year.
As we enter the 103rd General Assembly we are excited about our upcoming agenda and look forward to continuing to advocate for ending homelessness in the state of Illinois.