Chicago Coalition for the Homeless does not accept government funding. Instead, when CCH advocates for public support, it is for the programs that shelter, house and assist homeless youth, students, families, and vulnerable adults.
Illinois General Assembly concluded its 2018 legislative session on time this May. In its budget advocacy, CCH organizers brought 220 leaders and students to Springfield for 10 lobby days.
The budget bill (Senate Bill 108) funds homeless and housing services during FY19, which began July 1. Despite $44 million in cuts to other human service line items, the homeless youth programs received a $500,000 increase, to $6 million.
Also in the state budget, funds for emergency and transitional housing increased by $1 million, to $10.3 million. Funding of $4.9 million for homelessness prevention grants to households as well as supportive housing line items were unchanged from last year’s budget package.
CCH also advocated with Heartland Alliance and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law for on an increase to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash grant. The cash grant is meant to provide families living in extreme poverty assistance in meeting their basic needs.
The Illinois TANF program has increased monthly benefits only twice in the 20 years, with the last increase a decade ago. TANF is federally funded through the states. The Illinois grant has lost over 25% of its spending power because it has not kept up with inflation.
Through our advocacy, the first-year increase included in the Creating Opportunities for Illinoisans in Need Act (COIN Act, or SB3115) is included in the budgetary implementation for FY19. After asking families experiencing homelessness how this increase would help them, we were told it means being able to purchase new winter boots for their children.
The TANF increase raises the benefit level from 25% of the federal poverty line to 30% FPL, effective in October 2018. For a family of three, the monthly TANF grant will increase from $432/month to $520/month.
For more information, contact State Legislative Director Niya Kelly.