IDHS ALL IN! Stakeholder Newsletter Issue 11

Message from the Secretary

Secretary Hou

Dear Partners,

IDHS leadership has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice (DEIRJ). We have demonstrated this in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with you, we have achieved and innovated to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of those we serve. Most recently, to help reach people with high barriers to health care access, IDHS initiated vaccination clinics in partnership with community providers and community members.

While we have hope that vaccinations will lead us through a path out of this pandemic, we share the sorrow and bear witness to the grief of those impacted by the tragedies in Atlanta and Boulder. These two tragedies are part of at least 7 mass shootings in the last 10-14 days which has made the past few weeks especially trying. This is a sad and sobering reminder of some of our country's most complex systemic challenges, exposing racism, gun violence, and mental health challenges. These are challenges we are working to address in many ways.

I believe that we can all find meaningful ways to understand and learn about those who are different from ourselves. As a Chinese American, an Asian American, I know what it feels like to be judged by how I look rather than by what I do. I know that there are narratives and stereotypes around who I am, and expectations of me that precede any of my actions or words, and I know that many of you often face similar - if not greater - challenges. The tragic murders in Atlanta served as painful reminders that misperceptions, differences, ignorance, and hate are devastating families and communities.

While we may not know the family and friends of those who lost their lives, I hope that we can take a moment to think of them and to reflect on the difficult times that these communities and others across the country as well as our own neighbors face. We can overcome this together, but positive change is only achieved through intentional action.

As part of this intentional action, I hope that we can continue to challenge our own prejudices and implicit biases, as we work together to increase racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion at IDHS and through IDHS, both for ourselves and for those we serve. Please take good care.



Grace B. Hou,
Secretary, IDHS

Grant Opportunities

IDHS issues many Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) throughout the year for our programs. Below is a list of all of the new NOFOs that were recently posted. You can also find a full list of funding opportunities on the IDHS Grant Opportunities web page.

Independent Living Services for Older Individuals

The purpose of the Older Blind Program is to provide services for individuals age 55 and older whose severe visual impairment makes competitive employment difficult to obtain, but for whom independent living goals are feasible. Services are designed to help persons served under this program to adjust to their blindness by increasing their ability to care for their individual needs. This application closes on March 24, 2021. For more information, click here:

Cluster Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

The PSH Cluster Housing model is designed to provide resource support to Class Members living in their own apartments. This is not a therapeutic environment and staff is not stationed in individual apartments. Direct care services, ACT, CST, or case management will be provided to the Class Members by one of the contracted Primes who provide Care Coordination for the Williams and Colbert Consent Decrees. These apartments are "clustered" in close proximity. For more information, click here:

Front Door Diversion

Front Door Diversion Program (FDDP) services are to be provided to an eligible person who, without such services, might be referred and/or admitted to a Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facility (SMHRF), and who have been assessed as appropriate for community-based services. Services are provided to allow individuals to live in the most integrated community-based setting. For more information, click here:

Juvenile Justice

Program functions as a point of contact between the Illinois Juvenile Court System, probation, schools, the community, and the MHJJ Liaison employed by a community Grantee. It is the responsibility of the MHJJ Liaison to build these collaborative relationships to identify and obtain referrals of youth with or at risk for mental health concerns. For more information, click here:

Housing Bridge Subsidy Administrators

The grantee will conduct the activities of Subsidy Administration on behalf of the Division of Mental Health (DMH) Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Bridge Subsidy Initiative. The DMH PSH Bridge Subsidy Initiative is a partnership that includes Subsidy Administrators (SA) and the DMH Statewide Housing Coordinator, which ultimately coordinates efforts to provide PSH opportunities to DMH eligible consumers in accordance with such mandates as the Williams Consent Decree. For more information, click here:

Community Support Team

The grantee will create and maintain additional capacity for Community Support Team (CST) services for Northwest Crisis Care System (NCCS) eligible consumers who are unfunded. NCCS's geographic area includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Winnebago, and Whiteside counties. The team will meet the CST staffing requirements based on Rule 132, Section 132.145, and Rule 140, Section 140.TABLE N(c)(1). For more information, click here:

Regions Rural Behavioral Health Access

The grantee under this Rural Behavioral Health Access (RBHA) grant will provide access to all Rule 140 services to individuals residing in Stark and Marshall counties. These services will be provided by 2 FTEs, 1 QMHP, and 1 MHP. Mental Health promotion, education, and advocacy will be provided through county-specific trainings including Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Intervention. For more information, click here:

Juvenile Inpatient Forensic Services

The grantee will operate an Inpatient Forensic Unit by licensed mental health professionals who will provide statewide forensic services for juveniles adjudicated Unfit to Stand Trial (UST) and Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) and are remanded to the Illinois Department of Human Services for treatment on an inpatient basis. These services shall include, but are not limited to, psychiatric, mental health, substance abuse, and dually-diagnosed intellectual disability treatment services, as well as, legal education, case management, transportation, court reporting, and court testimony. For more information, click here:

Regions Deaf Special Program

The grantee shall deliver mental health services to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind by utilizing a culturally affirmative approach. This approach will adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information, click here:

Regions IPS Trainers

The grantee will provide evidence-based Individual Placement and Supported Employment (IPS-SE) to assist persons with serious mental illness obtain mainstream competitive employment. For more information, click here:

Regions Extended MISA Detox

The grantee will provide hospital-based extended Mental Illness/Substance Abuse (MISA) detox. The grantee will serve clients from their own Emergency Department and the Emergency Department of other Community Hospitals and community service Grantees. After the clients have completed detox, the Grantee will refer the clients to community agencies for continued MISA services. For more information, click here:

Psychiatric Medications

The grantee will purchase psychiatric medications for consumers who are in emergent situations and are likely, without needed medications, to require more expensive and intensive services (such as hospitalization). An emergent situation is defined as an immediate need for psychiatric medication to prevent exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms for an individual who is without the funds to purchase them, and is not eligible for Medicaid, or if eligible for Medicaid, is not able to immediately access these medications using the Medicaid benefit. For more information, click here:

PATH Grant

The Grantee will operate the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) formula grant, providing flexible, community-based services throughout the State of Illinois to address the needs of adults ages 18-65+ and families, with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders, who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. For more information, click here:


The Grantee shall administer the Ambassador Program and maintain a network of ambassadors to deliver the activities described herein. Ambassadors are Williams or Colbert Consent Decree Class Members who have transitioned from Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities (SMHRFs) or Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) into community living and have completed a minimum of 20 hours of training specific to providing peer support services. The ambassadors visit the SMHRFs or SNFs to speak about hope, recovery, resilience, and their journey in transitioning to the community and conduct open question/answer discussion. For more information, click here:

Teen REACH Program

The Bureau of Youth Intervention Services is set to release a notice of funding opportunity for the Teen REACH program. Teen REACH is an out of school time program for at-risk youth ages 6-17. Core services include academic assistance, life skills, parental involvement, recreation, sports, and cultural and artistic activities. It also includes positive adult mentors, Service Learning, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. The goal of the Teen REACH program is to expand the youth's range of choices and opportunities to enable, empower and encourage them to achieve positive growth and development, improve expectations and capacities for future success, and avoid and/or reduce risk-taking behavior.

Interested applicants are invited to a non-mandatory, technical assistance conference, on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, from 10-11:30am. For more information about the conference and the NOFO click here:

IDHS Recognizes March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Governor JB Pritzker proclaimed March to be Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Illinois. In recognition, IDHS raised awareness for gambling disorder and partnered with providers to host virtual events across the state this month.

The purpose of the month was to increase awareness and understanding of problem gambling and to celebrate the people who recover. Awareness events included gambling screenings, gambling presentations, workshops, and other events. A full list of Recovery Month events can be found on the IDHS website:

Individuals who struggle with gambling disorder seldom seek help and often hide their behavior from family members. This month was an opportunity for IDHS and our providers to come together to continue to get the word out about the recovery support services that are available. Our goal for Problem Gambling Awareness Month is to increase the understanding of problem gambling and to let individuals know that "We Know the Feeling" through our hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER and website at

The IDHS Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) continues to work with gambling providers to expand outreach and to increase awareness about the problems that gambling can cause, the services that are available, and local service providers and organizations. SUPR has also helped providers to prepare for an increase in problem gamblers coming in for treatment. Over the past two years, there have been over 200 clinicians trained to provide gambling disorder treatment services in Illinois. This year, SUPR will provide monthly webinars focused on gambling disorder, as well as offer new opportunities for participation in the 30-hour Gambling Counselor Training.

Illinois residents are also invited to complete an anonymous survey about gambling in Illinois. The purpose of this survey is to help the State of Illinois understand the population's gambling behaviors, attitudes about gambling, and awareness of gambling services. If you have a friend, family member, or coworker who you think would be eligible for this survey, please feel free to forward this link:

To learn more about gambling disorder and to register for upcoming webinars, please visit If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling disorder, call 1-800-GAMBLER or text ILGAMB to 53342.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Roadmap to Address Hunger and Poverty Across the State

Governor JB Pritzker recently announced a new plan for ending food insecurity across the state put forward by the Illinois Commission to End Hunger earlier this month. The new plan, titled "From Food Insecurity to Food Equity: A Roadmap to End Hunger," advances a three-part strategy for connecting residents in need to nutrition assistance programs, while simultaneously promoting equitable access to food. The plan was compiled with input from various State agencies and stakeholders located across the state and will guide the administration's work to achieve meaningful progress towards ending hunger in the coming years. To view the complete plan, click

"The people of Illinois deserve good public schools, early childhood education, mental health services, quality healthcare, family supports, substance use treatment, affordable housing and more. We must take an integrative, holistic approach to addressing hunger and poverty," said Governor JB Pritzker. "This new report by the Illinois Commission to End Hunger is an encouraging step towards a future where food insecurity in Illinois is a thing of the past. I look forward to continuing to work with the Commission and with partners in the private and public sectors to help Illinois families meet their basic needs and lead better lives."

Strategies outlined in the plan include:

  • Leveraging technology to make it easier for people to apply for nutrition programs.
  • Harnessing innovation to improve access to nutrition programs and food retail.
  • Strengthening collaboration across State agencies and community partners to help enroll people in programs.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 1.6 million Illinoisans were participating in SNAP. During the initial months of the pandemic, SNAP applications soared to over 35,000 applications a week, up from an average of 9,000 weekly. In April 2020, food insecurity doubled in the population overall and tripled for Illinois households with kids. In addition, Illinois has seen a 60% increase in food insecurity for older adults during the pandemic.

To view the complete report from the Commission, go to

For more information on ending hunger in Illinois, please visit

Bright Spot: Britni Check

As you well know, our team includes many talented and passionate professionals committed to supporting Illinois residents in achieving independence. Each March, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), and our partners work together to highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.

This month, we were honored to recognize Britni Check, who was acknowledged by The ARC of Illinois for her outstanding dedication and work as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP)/Case Manager. Additionally, she will be honored at the The Arc of Illinois 71st Annual Convention on April 22nd.

Joining IDHS after earning a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Britni has been with us since November 2018. Britni was passionate about wanting to work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and started work at Shapiro Developmental Center. Britni has been an advocate for the young women on her unit and takes an active role in their daily lives, recruiting them to attend weekly WOW social and advocacy meetings.

The Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance developed meetings to offer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a social outlet and added support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Operated Developmental Centers (SODC) were invited to virtually attend these meetings, but many residents could not initially participate due to technology or equipment barriers. However, Britni was undeterred and found creative ways to ensure that the women she supports could participate. Britni helped residents all across the Shapiro campus attend.

Congratulations on your award, Britni!

Work for IDHS!

Join our team

IDHS is hiring! Please visit the Illinois State Jobs website for all of the IDHS positions that are currently available.

Please also see the list below for additional positions we have open.

If you or someone you know is interested in one of these positions, please email your resume to