Advocacy Update and Action Alert
March 22, 2012
In This Issue
According to a Out of Reach 2012: America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis, released on March 13, the Housing Wage for Illinois is $16.78. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn—working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year—to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest two-bedroom apartment in the private housing market. The National Housing Wage is $18.25 in 2012.
An estimated 54% of renters in Illinois do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit. The average renter in Illinois earns $13.95, which is $2.82 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.
Jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Action Illinois, the report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area and county in the country.
Across the state the Housing Wage ranges from $18.94 in the Kendall County metropolitan area to $11.23 in the Macoupin County metropolitan area. The Housing Wage in the Chicago metropolitan area is $18.42.
The high cost of rental housing is why we continue to advocate for state and federal budgets that better address the affordability problem. Particularly for extremely low-income households, the amount that people can afford to pay for rent is much lower than the rents available in the unsubsidized private market.
For the complete Out of Reach report, visit http://www.nlihc.org/oor/2012.
Housing Action Illinois is focusing our fiscal year 2013 state budget advocacy efforts on two line items: the Emergency and Transitional Housing Program and the Homeless Prevention Program. The General Assembly must approve their own version of the state budget by May 31. Please take note of our action alert on the proposed 52% cut to the Emergency and Transitional Housing Program that you can respond to at this link:
Emergency and Transitional Housing Program
Less that three months after the Illinois General Assembly voted to restore a 52% state funding cut to agencies providing shelter and transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness, Governor Pat Quinn is proposing to slash this funding again as part of his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal released in February.
A November 29, 2011 vote by the Illinois General Assembly restored a $4.7 million cut for fiscal year 2012 to more than 100 nonprofit organizations in all parts of the state funded by the Emergency and Transitional Housing Program. Governor Quinn had originally made the cut in his budget proposal earlier in the year.
The Emergency and Transitional Housing Program provides temporary housing and critical supportive services to get adults back on their feet and help prevent future instability.
During fiscal year 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, the program served 40,542 people, 30% of them below the age of 18. As in past years, however, the need for assistance was far greater than the availability, as people were turned away 45,673 times.
Last year, funded agencies responded to the proposed cuts by planning to reduce the number of beds they make available, reducing the number of people served and/or laying off staff who provide case management and other services. In addition, some agencies were at-risk of closing unless the cuts were restored.
It estimated that an additional 6,746 more people could end up on the streets if the proposed cuts go forward.
Please help us oppose this proposed cut once again by contacting your state legislators via our action alert at http://www.housingmatters.net/takeaction.asp?aaid=5879.
Homeless Prevention Program
The Homeless Prevention Program provides one-time rental assistance grants, utility assistance grants and supportive services that prevent and end homelessness. Our budget request is to increase funding from $1.5 million to $5 million, which would still be far below the high funding level of $11 million in fiscal year 2008.
Since 2000, the program has helped 96,231 Illinois households. The average grant in FY 2011 was $938, and 90% of recipients reported they remained housed four months after getting the grant.
To date, the impact of the cut has been mitigated by the availability of $71 million in federal Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) funds. However, those funds are already exhausted in many parts of the state and will be totally gone early in FY 2013.
Governor Quinn’s proposed budget of $1.5 million in funding will only assist approximately 1,500 households. However, $5 million in funding will prevent homelessness for more than 5,000 households.
March 30 is the deadline in both the House and the Senate to pass bills through through their originating chamber. Housing Action Illinois is supporting the following bills:
More information is available at http://www.ilga.gov.
Housing Action Illinois' federal budget work is focused on advocating for fiscal year 2013 budget increases for McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and housing counseling funding.
We're working with the National Alliance to End Homelessness to secure $2.231 billion for HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in FY 2013. The funding level of $2.231 billion would include:
The funding increase is particularly important to make sure that all existing permanent supportive housing projects can be renewed and to provide level funding for the ESG program. Now that Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing (HPRP) funds from the recovery act have been exhausted, ESG is the lone federal resource for homeless prevention and rapid rehousing activities.
On our other priority, we are working with the national Coalition of HUD Housing Counseling Intermediaries, to secure $87.5 million for the Housing Counseling Assistance Program in FY 2013. In FY 2010, housing counseling received $87.5 million in funding. In FY 2011, however, it received $0. In FY 2012, housing counseling funded at $45 million. The Administration's request was for $55 million.
With foreclosure rates of single and multifamily properties at all time highs, individuals have turned to HUD-approved counseling agencies This demand for various services is in addition to the traditional demand for services such as pre-purchase counseling, counseling for reverse mortgages and homelessness assistance. Making an investment in the Housing Counseling Assistance Program is an investment in our nation’s hardworking families and one of the most effective solutions to the foreclosure crisis and our nation’s continued economic recovery.
Thanks to Representatives Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez Jesse Jackson, Jr., Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky for signing on to Dear Colleague letters in support of both requests. Thanks also to Senator Dick Durbin for signing on to a Dear Colleague letter requesting robust funding for McKinney Vento.
We'll be in Washington, D.C. next week at the National Low Income Housing Coalition annual conference and coordinating the Illinois contingent on lobby day, where we'll continue talking to our members of Congress about these and other issues.
Get more information at http://nlihc.org/issues/budget.
Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network is sponsoring a free workshop on Saturday, March 31 at Morton West High School in Berwyn between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
People are encouraged to attend if they are:
The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network is a free, one-stop resource to connect homeowners with important tools. More information is available at http://keepyourhomeillinois.org.
For more information contact Bob Palmer, Housing Action Illinois, 312-939-6074 x. 206 or email@example.com.
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