Springfield breakfast explains budget issues, bills to help homeless people

From left, Flora Koppel, Niya Kelly, Mercedes Gonzalez, Laura McNeece; back, Wayne Richard, Gloria Davis, and Doug Schenkelberg

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless hosted another successful annual Legislative Breakfast at the State Capitol. Members of the General Assembly were invited to talk with homeless service providers, CCH grassroots leaders, and staff at the April 11 event.

Laura McNeece from Aurora’s Hesed House and Flora Koppel from Unity Parenting & Counseling in Chicago discussed funding homeless and housing services in Illinois. They talked about the need to return homeless youth program funding to $5.6 million, now at $5.5 million. They also explained why homeless prevention grants should increase by $2 million, to $6.9 million.

Staff and leaders also spoke with legislators regarding CCH’s legislative priorities for the year. These bills include House Bill 5135/SB3115 to increase benefits for working families under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Senate Bill 351 would extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to community college students in vocational programs, and two reentry bills.

CCH is a partner in a reentry coalition, Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois. RROCI is advocating two bills to allow people to seal their criminal records regardless of any outstanding fines/fees (HB5341) and to establish standards for how employers should consider background checks (HB5334).

We would like to express much gratitude to the 16 legislators who attended our event and of course the service providers and leaders who volunteered their time.

– Mercedes González, Policy Specialist