Interagency Working Group on Poverty and Economic Insecurity- Meeting Minutes

December 16th, 2021

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Members and Invited Members in Attendance:

Illinois Department of Human Services - Chairperson, Secretary Grace Hou

Illinois Department of Public Health - Assistant Director, Amaal V.E. Tokars

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity - Deputy Director Office of Policy Development, Planning & Research, Jason Horwitz

Illinois Department of Aging - Director, Paula A. Basta, M.Div.

Illinois Department of Corrections - Chief of Women and Family Services, Tangenise Porter

Illinois Governor's Office of Management and Budget - Deputy Director, Marc Staley

Illinois Housing Development Authority - Special Initiatives Manager, Megan Spitz

Illinois Department of Employment Security - Labor Market Information Director, George W. Putnam

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services - Administrator Strategic Vendor Relationships Jenny Aguirre

Members and Invited Members Absent:

Illinois State Board of Education - State Superintendent, Carmen Ayala

Illinois Department of Agriculture - Deputy Director Kristi Jones

Illinois Department of Labor -Director Michael D. Kleinik

Guests in Attendance:

Illinois Department of Human Services - Senior Public Service Administrator, Dana Kelly

Illinois Department of Human Services- Chief of Staff, Ryan Croke

Illinois Department of Human Services- Senior Policy Advisory, Awisi Bustos

Illinois Department of Human Services- Director, Division of Family and Community Services, Tim Verry

Illinois Department of Human Services - COVID Manager for Immigrant and Refugee Services, Ruth Lopez-McCarthy

Illinois Department of Aging - Senior Policy Analyst, Amy Lulich

Illinois Commission to End Hunger- Colleen Burns

Illinois Housing Development Authority- Senior Policy and Planning Officer, Deonna Wheeler

Governor's Office of Management and Budget - Budget Manager, Emily Howerton

Shriver Center on Poverty Law - Director of Economic Justice, Jeremy Noam Rosen

Heartland Alliance - Kimberly Drew, Legislative Advocacy Director

  • Thank you data always for your organization and leadership. There's a lot to report on. So, um, we look forward to a productive meeting.
  • So, I'm going to call the role starting with director from the Illinois Department of labor.
  • Present, thank you, uh, superintendent from Illinois State Board of education.
  • Doctor tow cars from the Illinois Department of public health.
  • Jason for what's the deputy director for the office of policy development? At D. C. E. O
  • Here, uh, director Basta, from the department on aging.
  • Chief tangenise Porter.
  • Deputy Director Christy Jones from the Department of agriculture.
  • Deputy director, Mark Staley from the governor's office of management and budget.
  • George Putnam here.
  • Megan spits from the Illinois housing development authority.
  • Jennifer Aguirre from HFS.
  • I see Colleen burns with DHS and the Illinois commission to end hunger.
  • Kim drew from hartland alliance.
  • LaTanya law from the Illinois Department, and the services.
  • Can other folks I, I can't see everyone, so if you could just take yourself off mute really quickly and introduce yourself. If I haven't already. I see Ruth Lopez McCarthy from Illinois Department, human services and.
  • In the interest of time, I'm going to keep us moving along Dana. Do we have enough members to approve the minutes?
  • I think so, because did we so we have Christy um, let me just go back to my.
  • Um, alright, here we have you, um, director clinic.
  • Great. So is there, I'm just going to go ahead and do that part if that's okay. Is there a motion to approve the minutes?
  • Approve okay I'll, I'll 2nd thing.
  • This morning thanks, Mark and Dr Porter.
  • By roll call vote the minutes were approved.
  • All right, so welcome to our quarterly meeting of the inner agency, working group on poverty and economic security.
  • There's been a lot of work that has happened over the course of the past several months. We're going to be focusing the content of today's meeting on.
  • Getting towards the completion of the poverty Commission, strategic plan, which thankfully now is due March 31st of this coming year many of, you know, that we've worked during veto session to extend that date.
  • As our strategic plan was originally due and November.
  • And we asked for that additional time in partnership, with the leaders in the general assembly, and folks who were on the poverty commission.
  • As the number of listening sessions that folks had wanted us to organize increased over time.
  • And so obviously we would did not want to embark on creating the strategic plan until we had finished those listening sessions.
  • Um, so Dana and other folks who are on the call have been a part of, uh, a lot of that work and we look forward to giving you more detail.
  • About that of about what we heard in addition.
  • We want to share some details about the format and the direction.
  • The structure of the plan and get your feedback on the critical elements that need to be included.
  • So, in terms of what we hope to accomplish today.
  • We want to give you an update on the results of our 8 listening sessions.
  • We also are so excited to introduce a university partnership Robin from has joined us and we'll share a little bit about the work ahead in that regard.
  • Uh, again, we want to share with you, the structure, the proposed structure of the strategic plan.
  • We want to get your feedback on the strategic planning elements and other stakeholder feedback that we think is probably going to be necessary.
  • And then set next steps for the development of the strategic plan.
  • Um, so with that.
  • I think we are going to open it up for.
  • Public comment, Dana, did anyone provide written comments in advance?
  • No, I did not receive anything in advance of the meeting. Okay.
  • And so does anyone present have public comments right now?
  • Okay, so hearing none before we dive in to the to the overview of the commission listening session findings, which I'll actually turn it over to Dana.
  • But I wanted to pause, um, briefly to see if folks had any questions.
  • Had any kind of proposed deviations for what we hope to accomplish today.
  • Just do a general check in to see how everybody's doing it.
  • We have new emojis here, which are really exciting.
  • The rabbit and turtle. Okay.
  • Would you mind walking us through what you heard in the listening sessions? So I think.
  • I can't express enough my gratitude to Dana, for all of her amazing work on that. She's worked with virtually every member.
  • Of the property commission to organize these we've heard from almost a 1000 people across the state on what they think we need to do in order to a previous, uh, improve outcomes for people.
  • And I think the other, the other thing that I wanted to add, um, was that we partnered with members of our.
  • The philanthropic community, and they provided funding so that we were able to provide stipends.
  • For community members to actually participate in the listening sessions. So we, we're really trying to.
  • Have an equitable and accessible process so, with that, Dana, I'm going to turn it over to you.
  • Great, thank you so much secretary. Um, so, yeah, as you as you mentioned, we, this is this is kind of an overview of the numbers and the people that we actually reach. So we did, um, sessions of 8 across the state you can see in different regions.
  • Um, we did 4 of those as a hybrid of in person and virtual, and the other 4 were strictly virtual.
  • Um, but we've always had a virtual component and so across those who attended in person, and those who attended by zoom, we reached nearly 775, total participants.
  • Um, each of the sessions was led a little differently through a combination of legislative leaders hosting and partner agencies hosting.
  • So, in terms of who was involved in the planning of this, we engage 29 community based organizations to help plan and 15 legislators participated in these sessions.
  • So, huge turnout, and I think that, um, those partners and the legislators that we're involved are really, um.
  • Heard a lot of great information also from their constituents.
  • So, I want to go into kind of the results and what I will say is we are putting all of this together into a report. Um, that should be larger that we can share. Um, it will be an appendix to the strategic plan that when it comes out.
  • So we can show the stakeholder input that we did receive. Um, and and the resulting impact on the strategic plan.
  • So, in terms of what we heard, this is a slide that just shows kind of the, um, main issues that came up in terms of volume wise.
  • Um, we are the most about 66 people, um, or 66 times it came up where lack of economic development investment was an issue came across in all geographies.
  • Um, community related needs were kind of more specific related to, um, you know, specific
  • Employment was an issue mental health and education all fell very high on the, um, on the list and then affordable housing as well. And so, uh, that just gives you an aggregate idea of what we heard.
  • So, we looked at things statewide and, um, in terms of the top 5 issues, uh, it was lack of economic development and investment.
  • The 2nd was employment issues, the 3rd was benefit access and then 4th education.
  • And 5th, mental health, you can see from some of these comments here. These are really, um.
  • You know, these were as verbatim as I could make them in a small way, but summarizing the real comments that were made. So, there was a lot of concern about resources that were coming, like, keep.
  • Even money that's invested in a community, um, is not staying in the community and resources are taken away. There's not enough investment in communities. Um, uh, gentrification came up a lot.
  • Um, there was also something within, um, the need for cash assistant or informal channels were documentation requirements. Resident residency requirements are not a factor.
  • For employment, I think it's really was about how hard it is to get a job that pays enough to afford what it takes to go to work. Um, affordable child care was an issue transportation. Um, and other costs associated with actually going to work.
  • Um, there were barriers related to background checks and, um, uh, that caused lack of opportunities for certain groups as well as lack of opportunity for you.
  • Um, and with benefits access, I think there was overall kind of a, um.
  • Concerned about, you know, making sure that our resources are more accessible and that people actually know about them. Uh, so that was that came up quite a bit.
  • Education, I think there's was general, um, consensus that certain neighborhoods received more investment than others.
  • Um, people brought up, um, some specific needs related to universal Pre K and a need for trade schools and then finally with mental health.
  • Um, really, I think coven shed light on the mental health struggles across these communities, but really there was a lot of focus on, um, the trauma that extreme poverty, um, brings to mental health and the need to address trauma.
  • Um, and, um, also lack of professionals to treat the need. I think lack of professionals came up everywhere, including child care and other places where, uh, social service um.
  • But people who work in social service, uh, jobs are have been.
  • Very hard to come by and those, and there's a lot of staffing stretch in those areas.
  • In terms of top issues by region, you can see what we saw.
  • lack of economic development came up a lot and then down down state,
  • it was education and Northwest,
  • Southern employment,
  • affordable housing,
  • champagne,
  • mental health and that's,
  • Consisted of and what I would say is the report that we do do will do a lot more slicing and dicing of what we saw on the regional level.
  • Top issues for Spanish speaking communities, this also came up we did do some sessions completely in Spanish. So that was, um, where we got a lot of feedback.
  • I think we're working to engage other, um, communities that, including the Arab community. Um, and other, um.
  • And other immigrant communities to make sure that we are really getting the, the full range of, um, the immigrant experience across Illinois.
  • So, as as far as additional stakeholder feedback that we're going to be engaged in, um, I think the secretary alluded to, you know, there's really never a point in which you have, you can stop getting feedback. Uh, we really are turning our attention to writing the plan though right now.
  • So, um, there are a couple of additional listening sessions smaller. I would call them. They're not I'm I'm not going to call them full blown sessions, but opportunities we want to do again.