September 14, 2023, The Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness

The Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness

September 14, 2023

9:00AM to 10:30AM

Meeting Minutes:

  1. Introductions: Welcome by Christine Haley
    1. Task Force Members Present:
      • Christine Haley, Chief Homelessness Officer, Office to Prevent & End Homelessness
      • Marc Staley, Deputy Director, Governor's Office of Management & Budget
      • Grace Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services
      • Sameer Voher, Director, Illinois Department of Public Health
      • Latoya Hughes, Acting Director, Illinois Department of Corrections
      • Jeff Arranowski, Illinois State Board of Education
      • Glenda Corbett, Illinois Department of Aging
      • Senator Adriane Johnson, Illinois General Assembly
      • Rep Lilian Jimenez, Illinois General Assembly
      • Derek Michael, Illinois Department for Employment Security
      • Khama Sharp, Assistant Director, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
      • Janice Phillips, Assistant Director, Illinois Department of Public Health
      • Ashley Lewis, Illinois Board of Higher Education
      • Millicent McCoy, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
      • Gabriela Maloney, Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services
      • Guests asked to check in through the chat.
    2. Meeting agenda review. Will begin with thanking Deputy Governor Sol Flores for her service, especially in our Interagency Task Force on Homelessness. We will also be welcoming incoming Deputy Governor Hou.
      1. Want to acknowledge the work of Deputy Governor Sol Flores as an advocate, service provider, leader in providing housing and support to those experiencing homelessness or housing insecurities. She played a key role in the development of the executive order to fight homelessness. We thank her for her work.
    3. Deputy Sol Flores: So thankful for all your work on this Task Force. While I was working in the homeless field many years ago, we would often say wouldn't it be great if it was a statewide effort for this work. The Pritzker administration has done it. Very fortunate to bring on Christine Haley and to work with many of you directly or indirectly.
      1. We have a really unique opportunity over the next 3 years to make some significant progress. The FY24 budget is a significant downpayment toward getting that progress done. How do we think about tearing down silos and create a more collaborative interagency approach to help the most vulnerable population.
      2. My last day is October 13th and happy to share personal information to stay in touch. I hope to be in contact with you all in pushing this work. So excited for Deputy Governor Grace Hou who comes with significant state work leading one of the largest state agencies. During our transition planning we have discussed this work and strategic planning of all the interagency work. We know that when we are most collaborative is when we are most productive. Until you work in state government then you don't know how state government is. I leave this administration as a huge champion for who you are as public sector employees who work hard and need the support of the public.
    4. Our Secretary Grace Hou will be stepping in as our next Deputy Governor of the Health and Human Services portfolio. Incoming Deputy Governor Hou is a deep advocate in this work who will help to support and advance our work in our goals of ending homelessness. Thankful for her leadership and vision in our collective work.
    5. Secretary Hou: I have been in different training grounds to take on the next challenge and am a champion for public service. The media and public are happy to point out what is wrong, but there is so much in the state that is going right. I am excited about DHS being the homebase to Home IL's vision and know how. There has already been so much amazing progress and I want to continue to lift up the amazing leadership of our Chief Homelessness Officer Christine in partnership with the amazing Deputy Governor Sol Flores. Also excited and thrilled to say that we have another amazing partner, soon to be Secretary Dulce Quintero who is already very familiar with this work. I will continue to work with you all because we serve the same communities and people.
    6. We would like to welcome four new members of the Task Force.
      1. Representative Lilian Jimenez: Excited to work together and be on this Task Force. Was formerly at IDHS as a director for the warming centers. I am excited to come full circle. In this role as a state representative, as of last January being sworn in, my district is Humboldt Park areas. We have a huge homeless encampment in Humboldt Park, and we want to be able to wrap people around with the proper services, treating them with dignity and respect. My work has been around immigration advocate rights, but I have had exposure to housing and rental assistance as a part of the work for the welcoming center program. Looking to build an infrastructure that is inclusive of all of our communities.
      2. Senator Adriane Johnson: Thanks to Christine for the work and leading all of these efforts. Thank you to all of the task force members for all of the work you have done thus far. Thanks to Deputy Sol Flores and Secretary Hou for your work. It is an honor to serve on this committee and to be a part of the ongoing solutions. For my district in the northern part of the city, we have homeless issues and sometimes the northern eastern area is not included so thankful we're taking a holistic and statewide approach to address this problem.
      3. Director Latoya Hughes: I want to echo the statements that have been made as it relates to Secretary Hou and Deputy Sol Flores. So glad to be able to continue working with you and learning with you incoming Deputy Governor Hou. Would like to thank Jennifer Parrack for her leadership and work in the Department of Corrections. Looking forward to working with all of you.
      4. Secretary Dulce Quintero: I am beyond moved and inspired by this whole amazing group of leaders. A lot of my experience and background has been around working with people who are unhoused individuals here in Chicago and in California. I personally had to move around a lot because my father was a farmer. I am a big strong advocate. I look forward to getting to know you all. A huge thanks to Christine for all of the work that she does.
  2. Office to Prevent & End Homelessness Update
    1. We have new staff members within our team so expect to hear from us in the implementation of this work.
      1. Kylon Hooks, Deputy Chief Homelessness Officer. Jeri Bond, Statewide Referral Network Waitlist Manager. LaTonya Butts, Communication Specialist. Billy (Wang) Lau, Technical Assistant. Nikita Robinson, Administrative Assistant. Kevin Roth, Data Analyst. Anna Spreitzer, Special Projects Coordinator.
      2. Will be creating Home Illinois Fellows at IHDA, HFS, IDOC, & IDPH.
      3. Chris Hammond, Project Manager; Arloa Sutter, Senior Policy Advisor; Ngoan Le, Senior Project Manager have been on assignment to support our work in the office also.
    2. We had a busy summer and want to highlight some of the key activities.
      1. Launch of Home Illinois, budget announcement of $85M new GRF.
      2. Home Illinois Summit, first state conference on homelessness.
      3. Signing of HB2831, codifies ITFH, CACH, & OPEH. 
    3. With the new legislation, it calls for CACH recommendations to be submitted to the Task Force by November 15.
      1. We have our Home Illinois Annual Report due on December 1. OPEH team will be reaching out to your staff to complete progress report. Will ask for FY23 spending on line items in the plan. We want to understand what we have for FY23 and what is anticipated for FY24.
    4. Home Illinois Plan FY25 and FY26.
      1. Our Home IL is a 2-year plan. We have started looking at what steps we will take to start the planning of a new plan. We will start this with our listening sessions. One will be at the Housing Action Illinois conference in Bloomington. If you have recommendations, suggestions of targeted areas for listening sessions, or specific questions to ask please let us know so we can incorporate that.
      2. Any feedback or questions on listening sessions of the delegates or directors?
        1. Has Humboldt Park been a site?
          1. In the first plan we did two on the westside and one on the southside. We can reach out to complete a listening session in Humboldt Park.
        2. How should agencies submit questions for consideration to be included in the listening sessions?
      3. We will start a Home Illinois quarterly newsletter. Please contact if you would add anything to the Home Illinois quarterly newsletter.
      4. Interagency work group on encampments: IDOT, IDHS, IDPH, ISP, GO. Intent is to have a policy and procedure guide when it is an encampment is on state property or that the state has been called to address. Please reach out to Christine Haley if you are interested in your agency joining the work group.
      5. Interagency Development of Workforce Development RFP: DCEO, IDES. Funding for collaboration between the traditional workforce system and homeless service agencies.
      6. Racial Equity Roundtables: Black Homelessness and Latine Homelessness. Within the Racial Equity Roundtable on Black Homelessness the UIC Institute for Research on Race & Public Policy has completed an analysis. We will be working with agency directors to discuss this data in October. In March the next Racial Equity Roundtable for Latine. Please let Christine know if you have any suggestions of involvement. 
      7. Capacity Building: Medical Respite Capacity Building Initiative with Illinois Public Health Institute. Intent is to create more capacity to support those who are literally homeless who are patients have inpatient hospitalization stays.
      8. Illinois Training & Technical Assistance Center, housed with Supportive Housing Providers Association (SHPA)
        1. Supporting Integration of Homeless System and New Arrivals Crisis with City of Chicago
        2. 100-Day Challenges to address encampments with Re!nstitute
        3. SHPA will continue Peer/Lived experience leadership development
        4. Quality Data Cohort with Community Solutions that will help understanding of how to support communities and improving their data on the ground level to understand who is experiencing homelessness
        5. Will be bringing the Evicted Exhibit to Illinois. Soon as we are able to identify spaces to holding the exhibit then we will start it. We are interested in engaging public universities for the exhibit. Looking at 4 to 6 sites to hold the exhibit.
        6. Home Illinois Summit 2024: Maybe in Spring in Springfield. If you know of other conflicts, please contact
    5. Our next meeting will be December 14th, 2023 at 1pm.
  3. Public Comment
    1. N/A
  4. Rural Homelessness Report. We will have a conversation with the Housing Assistance Council to help us understand the state of rural homelessness. When we completed our listening sessions, we learned that what may work in urban areas does not necessarily work in rural communities. We also launched our 100-day challenge with over 30 rural counties participated in the challenge to understand what type of interventions could be used to reduce homelessness. I would like to welcome Johnathan Harwitz & Mandi LaPorte to lead us in this discussion on what their findings were.
    1. Johnathan Harwitz: I want to echo the importance of this meeting. My first stint in the nonprofit world was helping to approve a grant to the Supportive Housing Providers Association and have been lucky enough to do more in nonprofit and the public sector. I would like to thank Deputy Governor Sol Flores for her service and all of you for your service. I was able to work in the legislative branch and at HUD where I gained invaluable experiences. Exciting to be here and to discuss the work we did in moving the work forward.
    2. Ending Homelessness in Rural Illinois Presentation:
      1. Jonathan serves as the Policy Director at the Housing Assistance Council (HAC). We have four lines of business/ ways in which we help communities: Research and Information, Training and Technical Assistance, Lending, and Rural Policy.
      2. What are we trying to accomplish and why?
        1. Our team was from research and information, policy, and technical assistance and training. We drew on 3 of our silos to examine rural homelessness. The challenge is that rural homelessness is different, and we needed to be able to address it. This was not a one off, it was feeding into and providing additional insight a great interagency process.
    3. Our approach included information collection, listening sessions, targeted interviews, supply side assessment, synthesis and analysis, policy recommendations - action plan.
    4. There were 5 predominantly rural Continuums of Care in Illinois:
      1. Bloomington/Central Illinois
      2. Southern Illinois
      3. Rock Island, Moline/Northwestern Illinois
      4. South Central Illinois
      5. Western Illinois.
    5. We took a look at Homelessness across Rural CoCs across the USA. Rural Homelessness has been increasing nationally around 6%.
    6. Listening sessions:
      1. 5-hour hybrid listening sessions hosted in Bloomington IL
      2. 68 rural CoC representative and service provides registered
      3. Focus on rural capacities, resources, and policies.
    7. Target Interviews: 6 follow-up interviews were conducted looking at best practices, local services, and resource discrepancies.
    8. Findings:
      1. What is working?
        1. Rural CoCs are community experts. They are familiar with the populations they work with, the interventions that work for them, and they are extremely collaborative. Rural CoCs are meeting clients where they are. Rapid rehousing works in rural Illinois. Staff dedicated to landlord outreach and risk mitigation was really effective in getting landlords to rent o populations facing homelessness.
        2. Collaboration provides a holistic approach. Professional development opportunities. Programming for transportation through Covid-19 Funds.
      2. What is Missing?
        1. Rural CoCs are covering larger areas with fewer staff. Resources form Covid-relief funding are ending. Broadband access is limited, creating barriers to services. Rural homelessness looks different than in urban areas - making it challenging to identify.
        2. Rural CoC need more resources for mental health. Limited spaces for shelters. Rural CoCs do not have the funds or capacity to provide supportive services. Ex-offenders re-entering their communities in rural areas do not have access to housing, supportive services, and other programs.
      3. Did an assessment on what services were offered and can see a need in servicing the reentry population.
    9. Policy Recommendations, Strategies, and Solutions
      1. Increased Rural CoC Capacity and Coordination through dedicated staff.
      2. Modify funding structures to include CoCs as eligible grantees.
      3. Support expansion of successful rural housing navigation, landlord outreach, and risk mitigation strategies. Essential to get private landlords more involved.
      4. Expand the range of eligible populations and activities in rural areas for some of its targeted homelessness funding. The definition of homelessness often comes up around HUD funding. At the federal level it may not change, but in rural areas the HUD definition of literal homelessness and the at risk of homelessness differs. Recognizing the capacity challenges of rural areas.
      5. Expand its "211" coverage to the entire state.
      6. Illinois should provide resources to rural CoCs to support their ability to:
        1. Access accurate, real-time homelessness data more frequently than the annual PIT
        2. Identify the "hidden homeless"/ at risk.
      7. Illinois should provide funding for transportation in rural CoCs to connect client experiencing homelessness to needed supportive services.
      8. Illinois should target supportive services funding to close the housing stability-focused case management "gap" in rural communities.
      9. Illinois should invest increased and targeted housing resources into rural communities.
      10. Illinois should consider expanding additional housing resources to farmworkers.
    10. Save the Date Build Rural October 24 - 27 conference
    11. Questions?
      1. Could you highlight on the loss opportunities for rural homelessness opportunities that came from HUD and Illinois ability to apply for those resources. What we were eligible to receive and what we did receive?
        1. Yes, this was a 55M NOFO. Illinois received maybe 800,000 in total across the CoCs. Really a bandwidth issue of being able to do different application. Suggestion is try to supplement the capacity at the state level. Federal funds in this case may have been left on the table.
      2. I heard you say that we aren't going to solve this with non-profit intervention, are you suggesting that more for profit is needed for solutions?
        1. Both and. It is critical to be able to access through vouchers, rental assistance, existing private landlords in the rural areas. Yes, we need to involve for profit developers. It is critically important to develop nonprofit development capacity. If you broke ground today it would take like 2 to 3 years to get It up and running. We need both for and nonprofit developers. Don't care about the intent but if the incentives are right then they are happy to serve this population.
      3. Do rural counties have housing authority vouchers in the same way?
        1. Yes and no. Yes, they have vouchers. They face challenges of scale. In a rural PHA you may have 1 employee to do the outreach. They are operating at a smaller scale.
      4. What is the farmer worker scale currently in IL?
        1. We can follow up on what that portfolio looks like in IL. It is over subscribed. May be able to replicate to a certain extent. Will need to follow up.
      5. In a slide I saw that Rapid Rehousing works in rural areas, could you provide insight on contributing success factors?
        1. In the rural context, the notion of rapid housing with a small shot of funding has proven effective. The dynamic between rural and urban rapid rehousing works for both. If the housing system as a whole is becoming less and less affordable the stability of housing, they would be moving into would be further kicking the can more down the road. Rapid rehousing works in both rural and urban settings.
      6. Thank you to Johnathan and your team and for helping us understand. If you have a focus item for the next meeting in December, please let us know.
  5. Closing

Meeting Recording:

September 14, 2023 Recording

Meeting Presentation: