Interagency Working Group on Poverty and Economic Security


As part of the Intergenerational Poverty Act (IPA) passed in the spring of 2020, the Interagency Working Group on Poverty and Economic Security was created to advance the work of the Illinois Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security by studying systems that perpetuate poverty, improve interagency coordination, and implement policies and programs that break the cycle of poverty.

Guiding Principles:

  • Engage and listen to those with lived experience
  • Employ an equity lens (gender, race, geography, age, ability, etc.)
  • Focus on systemic change to both reduce and prevent poverty
  • Promote asset-based instead of deficit-based social supports
  • Ensure policies are data-informed and evidence-based
  • Leverage innovation and social impact
  • Cultivate collaboration across the public and private sectors
  • Evaluate impact and adapt strategies as needed


  • Work with the Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security to:
    • Reduce deep poverty in this State by 50 percent by 2026;
    • Eliminate child poverty in this State by 2031;
    • Eliminate all poverty in this State by 2036
  • Accomplish this by:
    • Understanding the root causes of intergenerational poverty and economic insecurity, including contributing social, economic, and cultural factors;
    • Assisting the Commission in the development of a strategic plan, including sharing data and information;
    • Implementing the strategic plan adopted by the Commission.



Name Organization
Director Paula A. Basta Illinois Department on Aging
Deputy Director Kristi Jones Illinois Department of Agriculture
Deputy Director, Office of Policy Development, Planning, and Research Jason Horwitz Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Chief of Women and Family Services Tangenise Porter Illinois Department of Corrections
Assistant Director of Policy and Research Megan Spitz Illinois Housing Development Authority
State Superintendent Carmen Ayala Illinois State Board of Education
Labor Market Information Director George W. Putnam Illinois Department of Employment Security
Administrator Strategic Vendor Relationships Jenny Aguirre Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Chairperson, Secretary Grace Hou Illinois Department of Human Services
TBD Illinois Department of Labor
Deputy Director Marc Staley Illinois Governor's Office of Management and Budget
Assistant Director Amaal V.E. Tokars Illinois Department of Public Health


Interagency Working Group on Poverty and Economic Security Interim Report (pdf)

IDHS Administrative Support

Working Group Administrative Contact: Dana Kelly -

Ethics Office Contact Information: