5/29/20 - A Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: Illinois Budget & Restoring Illinois, Reinventing IDHS

Friday, May 29, 2020

Dear Partners,

I hope this message find you well.

There are two things that are top of mind for all of us right now: the FY2021 budget and Restoring Illinois. I want to share some information with you on both topics.

FY2021 Budget

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois General Assembly passed a Fiscal Year 2021 budget which now goes to the Governor for consideration. The budget reflects the priorities laid out in the Governor's introduced budget, and we look forward to continuing the good work begun in the first year of our administration. The budget includes much needed rate and cost of living increases, resources for the Olmstead consent decrees, and continued funding to maintain the critical human services system in Illinois.

Further, IDHS has additional appropriation authority in its budget to accommodate the increased needs of individuals, community members, and organizations impacted by COVID 19. In the face of this pandemic, our Governor will continue to advocate for federal funding to help cover state and local government revenue shortfalls.

IDHS is committed to working with you - our community partners, members of the General Assembly, our colleagues in the Governor's Office, and our sister agencies to meet our shared mission and goals. In the face of COVID 19, together, we will keep our staff and those in our care safe. As we complete our review and finalize implementation plans, we will share more details and answer questions you may have.

Restore Illinois, Reinvent IDHS

We have all been coping and adjusting to life and work under COVID-19; we had to swiftly transform our organization and workplaces to ensure maximum safety for all. The road to restoration will continue to prioritize the safety of our human services staff and those we serve.

As we continue through this unprecedented time together, we must re-imagine and re-invent what the phased-in "new normal" will look like across the Illinois Department of Human Services. While our planning will draw from and reflect elements of the Governor's Restore Illinois Plan, IDHS has to develop its own set of agency- and program-specific strategies.

While the COVID-19 crisis has been devastating for some and difficult for all, as the State begins to slowly and responsibly re-open, we have an opportunity to not only restore IDHS, but to reimagine many aspects of our agency.

At IDHS, one size does not fit all, so this process will be fluid and ongoing. Our restoration and reinvention will look different across divisions and potentially across geographic regions. Our goals are to successfully restore all divisions and programs at IDHS in a way that is responsive to the changed environment, ensures optimal safety of employees and customers, and leverages the opportunity to reinvent program models to reflect client and agency need.

In the coming days and weeks, I will share more.

Thank you, as always, for your continued resilience, creativity, and hard work, on behalf of IDHS and of the people we serve, during these challenging times.


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS