CCH’s Response to Governor Pritzker’s FY25 Budget Address 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is mindful of the state’s budget constraints and Governor Pritzker’s focus on putting the state in good economic standing. With the cost of housing and other essentials rising, the state has a responsibility to prioritize the needs of the unhoused.  

Photo of IL Gov JB Pritzker

We laud the Governor’s continued commitment to the Home Illinois initiative, which addresses homelessness through a holistic approach, and understand there are several pipeline pathways needed to support people to maintain stable housing. This initiative is helping Illinois make progress in our efforts to end homelessness across the state.   

We fully support the state’s intentional focus on addressing Black homelessness. The disproportionate number of Black Illinoisans who face homelessness is one more area where we see the manifestation of systemic racism. As part of our advocacy to address this inequity, CCH will advocate for increases in funding to important, ongoing work, such as funding homeless youth, supportive housing, homelessness prevention and emergency shelters, while also dedicating $5 million in the Illinois State Board of Education budget to support the needs of students experiencing homelessness. 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report: Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates, conducted in January 2023, homelessness increased by 12% from 2022. In Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) reported 58,498 students experiencing homelessness during the 2022-23 school year, a 22% increase from the year before. As of January 31, 2024, Chicago Public Schools identified 22,777 students experiencing homelessness. This represents a 57% one-year increase and the highest number ever identified at this point in the school year. School districts statewide need funding to provide services and supports to students, especially as American Rescue Plan funds are coming to an end.    

In his address, Governor Pritzker shared the story of Jasmine, a pregnant mother of five in Oak Park experiencing homelessness. Jasmine was able to receive the wraparound services her family needed through Housing Forward and is currently stably housed. He is correct in stating, “There are many hundreds of people like Jasmine out there in need of help.” CCH’s grassroots leaders and homeless and housing service providers would go further and say there are thousands of families facing similar predicaments. This is why we continue to advocate for increases in the established line items. As we have seen over the last year, not including funding in their designated line items has caused delays to service providers receiving contracts, which delays funding and being able to provide much-needed services. It means families who could have remained housed experience homelessness, it means families like Jasmine’s are sleeping in unsafe places because shelter beds are unavailable, it means a shelter hoping to hire a new staff person to support youth in their programs kept that position open for an additional six months awaiting the contracting process. Home Illinois is a great initiative, but its goal of eradicating homelessness is undermined when providers are unable to provide services due to administrative delays.  

We commend the Governor’s understanding that housing is truly a human right and that a person’s citizenship status should not determine whether they have access to safe and affordable housing. The additional $182 million in funding for migrant services in his budget proposal makes this commitment clear. The Governor and the General Assembly have shown through their actions over the past few years that they want to invest in the needs of those who are too often pushed to the margins. We look forward to working with them this year to enact a 2025 budget that continues to support all Illinoisans.  

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 June 9: Signed Into Law

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 June 9 : Signed Into Law

Return to CCH’s 2023 Legislative

Budget Address

Illinois state building sits on a dark blue background with white text above it that reads "CCH's Response to the Governor's Budget Address
By Doug Schenkelberg, Executive Director, February 15th 2023

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) appreciates Governor Pritzker’s focus on addressing homelessness, housing, and poverty in his budget address and proposed Fiscal Year 2024 State of Illinois Budget. As the Governor stated in his address, “…we will have failed everyone in Illinois if we don’t place a higher priority on tackling poverty…” This proposed budget is a step in the right direction. 

The Home Illinois initiative puts needed focus on addressing the needs of those experiencing homelessness and poverty. As the Governor noted, “In Illinois, Black people are eight times more likely to experience homelessness than white people…” and underlined tackling homelessness is fundamental to advancing racial equity. Moreover, he included people living doubled-up in his description of homelessness, which aligns with CCH’s annual estimate of homelessness for Illinois.  

We are encouraged by the proposed investment in new funding to tackle homelessness. We look forward to working with the legislature and governor’s office to ensure the final budget includes increased funding for Emergency and Transitional Housing, Youth Homelessness, and Supportive Housing services. These funds can be used to make sure every person living in Illinois has a safe place to call their own along with supportive services to allow them to live independently. Homeless and housing providers have weathered the pandemic, changing their model to keep their clients, who are likely to be high-risk, safer. They have lost staff due to COVID as well as their inability to pay competitive wages. 

The Governor’s proposal to increase the TANF monthly grant amount to 40% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a step in the right direction toward ending familial poverty in Illinois. The need is growing for Illinoisan families with the cost of living and prices soaring on basic but necessary items, and with the end of the emergency SNAP allotment families are looking for relief, especially those living in deep poverty. We encourage the legislature to work with the Governor’s office to include an increase in TANF to 50% of FPL to provide additional funds to pay off debt, to save, and to make the necessary purchases for their families.   

The Governor and the General Assembly have shown through their actions over the past few years they want to invest in the needs of those that are too often pushed to the margins. We look forward to working with them this year to enact a 2024 budget that continues this work. 

Read more about the state work CCH is doing.

CCH advocacy leads to passage of three bills, increased funding for housing programs

By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation

During this successful legislative session, CCH policy and organizing staff, alongside our grassroots leaders, worked on various initiatives to remove barriers for people experiencing homelessness.

Shared advocacy and organizing in Springfield resulted in increased funding for housing programs in the FY23 state budget as well as the passage of HB 5265, HB 4242, and HB 2775, bills that will support K-12 students, increase access to child care, and ban source of income discrimination for renters.

Continue reading CCH advocacy leads to passage of three bills, increased funding for housing programs

Springfield advocacy: CCH’s 2022 state legislative agenda

By Niya K. Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation

This year the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is advocating for several statewide measures that would remove barriers for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. CCH policy and organizing staff, along with our grassroots leaders, are leading efforts to pass four bills that will impact students experiencing homelessness, extremely low-income families and children, and people using rental assistance or housing vouchers.

CCH is advocating for the following legislation: 

HB 5265: Financial Equity in Education for Students (FEES)

Illinois school districts are permitted to charge students and their families annual mandatory fees. Fees can include textbooks, instructional materials, and school activities. These fees can add up quickly, putting a strain on low-income parents and guardians who are trying to make ends meet. Fortunately, public school students experiencing homelessness or whose families are classified as low-income have access to fee waivers. Charter schools are obligated to waive fees for students who are experiencing homelessness under the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act but are not required to waive fees for low-income students and their families. 

HB 5265 will create parity between students at public schools and charter schools to ensure students and families living in poverty are not burdened by financial barriers to their educations. 

Continue reading Springfield advocacy: CCH’s 2022 state legislative agenda

Learn about our recent victories in our 2021 Annual Report

CCH grassroots leaders and staff, clad in bright yellow CCH t-shirts, standing with fists raised in front of the Illinois state capitol building. Text includes the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo and the words 2021 Annual Report.

We are grateful for the strong coalition of people with lived experience, community members, direct-service and advocacy organizations, institutional partners, donors, and volunteers who are working every single day to prevent and end homelessness.

Five blocks in a row. Block 1: Photo of a young woman wearing a hijab, standing, speaking to a Black woman in a trucker hat, seated. Block 2: Blue square that reads: 3,000 people who experienced homelessness were reached by our community organizers and legal aid attorneys. Block 3: photo of a white man speaking to a crowd with a bullhorn. The man is wearing a yellow t-shirt with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo. Block 4: Blue square that reads: 408 legal aid cases were closed by the Law Project, representing 319 clients. Block 5: two young women with brown hair from behind, seated in front of a laptop.

Strong community support contributed to CCH’s many accomplishments over the last year. Read more about our shared victories during Calendar Year 2021 in our annual report.

Blue box with white letters: Read our annual report now

Take Action for Illinois Families

The Illinois House Appropriations-Human Services Committee will vote on HB4423 this Thursday, February 24 at 8 a.m.

HB4423 would support families living in extreme poverty by increasing the cash assistance families receive each month. This increase would ensure families are able to meet their basic needs including paying rent, purchasing clothing, hygiene products, and maintaining transportation. This legislation would also ensure that when a noncustodial parent pays child support that the money goes directly to the family. Currently, the state and federal government are given a portion of the child support payment.

Please file a witness slip on behalf of your organization or yourself to indicate your support for an increase in the TANF Cash Grant amount and ensure that child support payments go directly to the child.

How to fill out the online witness slip: 

  1. Go to this link.
  2. If you can file a slip on behalf of your organization, include your organization name under “Representation.” If you do not represent a firm or organization, please write “NA” in the Firm/Business Or Agency and Title fields and “Self” under Representation. 
  3. To indicate your support of the bill, please click “Proponent.”
  4. Under Testimony, select “Record of Appearance Only.”
  5. Agree to the Terms of Agreement and click on the “Create(Slip)” button.