Agenda and Minutes - Interagency Working Group on Poverty and Economic Security, March 25, 2022

Friday, March 25, 2021

11:30AM - 1:00PM

WebEx Video Conference


  1. Illinois Department of Human Services- Chairperson, Secretary Grace Hou
  2. Illinois Department of Labor - Director Michael D. Kleinik
  3. Illinois State Board of Education - State Superintendent Carmen Ayala
  4. Illinois Department of Public Health- Assistant Director Amaal V.E. Tokars
  5. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity - Deputy Director Office of Policy Development, Planning & Research Jason Horwitz
  6. Illinois Department of Aging - Director Paula A. Basta
  7. Illinois Department of Corrections - Chief of Women and Family Services Tangenise Porter
  8. Illinois Department of Agriculture - Deputy Director Kristi Jones
  9. Illinois Governor's Office of Management and Budget - Deputy Director Marc Staley

Invited Members:

  1. Illinois Department of Employment Security - Labor Market Information Director George W. Putnam
  2. Illinois Housing Development Authority - Assistant Director of Policy and Research Megan Spitz
  3. Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services - Administrator Strategic Vendor Relationships Jenny Aguirre


  1. Welcome Roll Call (10 mins)
  2. Approval of December 16, 2021 Meeting Minutes (5 mins)
    • Roll Call Vote
  3. Public Comment - Open (5 mins)
    • Subject to written comment in advance
  4. Strategic Plan Roll Out (5 mins)
  5. Review of Strategic Plan Framework (30 mins)
    • Discussion
  6. Interagency Working Group Follow Up Needs (5 mins)
  7. Implementation and Future Interagency Working Group Work (10 mins)
  8. Next Steps and Adjournment (5 mins)


Interagency Working Group Members in Attendance:

  1. Assistant Director Amaal V.E. Tokars, Illinois Department of Public Health;
  2. Director Paula A. Basta, Illinois Department of Aging;
  3. Deputy Director Kristi Jones, Illinois Department of Agriculture;
  4. Deputy Director Marc Staley, Illinois Governor's Office of Management and Budget

Interagency Working Group Invited Members in Attendance:

  1. Carrie Thomas, Representative of Illinois Department of Employment Security;
  2. Assistant Director of Policy and Research Megan Spitz, Illinois Housing Development Authority;
  3. Colleen Burns, Representative of Illinois Commision to End Hunger;
  4. Jeremy Rosen, Representative of Shriver Center on Poverty Law;
  5. Awisi Bustos, Illinois Department of Human Services;
  6. Deputy Director Lora McCurdy, Illinois Department of Aging;
  7. Director Tim Verry, The Division of Family & Children Services;
  8. Special Assistant Glenda Corbett, Illinois Department of Aging in Community Engagement and Equity;
  9. Director Robin Fretwell Wilson, Institute of Government and Public Affairs

Administrators in Attendance:

  1. Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services;
  2. Dana Kelly, Senior Public Service Administrator, Illinois Department of Human Services

Guests: N/A

  1. Introductions
    • Secretary Hou welcomed the interagency working group members, invited members and guests. Before beginning, Secretary Hou proposes to simultaneously approve the December 16, 2021 minutes and take the roll call. Secretary entertains the motion to approve the December 16, 2021 minutes.
  2. Roll Call - Administrator Kelly took roll call and declared quorum.
  3. Approval of December 16, 2021 Meeting Minutes
    • Director Paula A. Basta motions to approve the December 16, 2021 minutes, seconded by Deputy Director Marc Staley seconds the motion.
  4. Public Comment
    • Secretary Hou opened the floor for public comment; none received. No written comment received in advance.
  5. Opening Remarks and Strategic Plan Roll Out
    • Secretary Hou thanks the members of the committee, commission members, and Administrator Kelly for the effort they put in to develop the strategic plan leading up to the March 31st deadline where they will submit the plan to the general assembly and the governor's office. Secretary Hou provides the plan to strategically request, from the poverty commission, the approval of the strategic pillars and tactics, which will serve as the framework for the implementation plan. However, there will be a more comprehensive strategic plan that reports the listening sessions and other information that guide the development of the report, which will be released and distributed by the end of April.
    • Administrator Kelly adds that the report roll out will be in tandem with the report to ending homelessness led by State Homelessness Chief, Christine Haley, which will be a greater launch of the two reports.
  6. Review of Strategic Plan Framework
    • Administrator Kelly presents the Strategic Plan brief to the interagency working group members.
    • Administrator Kelly provides the framework of the plan by signaling the mission and vision of the commission as stipulated by the intergenerational poverty act: end the intergenerational transmission of poverty by addressing the root causes of economic insecurity, racial disparities, and other contributing, social, economic, and cultural factors.
    • Administrator Kelly highlights that statutorily the strategic plan targets the first bullet point of reducing deep poverty in the state to 50% by 2026, and subsequently addressing and eliminating child poverty and all poverty thereafter.
    • Administrator Kelly states that in reading the plan keep in mind that there are about 630,000 individuals in Illinois living in deep poverty defined as 50% of the federal poverty line. For a household of 4 being the highest defined that, their income is 13,000 dollars or less. For a single individual, it's 6,000 dollars or less.
    • Administrator Kelly then proceeds to highlight the values of the plan which centers the experiences of those who experienced poverty, rooted in an antiracist and restorative approach to equity and racial justice, conscious of the complex nature of poverty, and focus on the strengths, assets, and potential of individuals living in poverty.
    • Administrator Kelly expands on the framework that the strategic plan will be motivated by. Administrator introduces the five pillars that this five year strategy will be guided in.
    • The first slide Pillar 1: Ensure IL is Best in Nation for Raising Families
      1. Ensure Access to High Quality Early Childhood Services
      2. Find a Method to Replicate the Federal Child Tax Credit for Families Raising Children
      3. Expand Access to Free and Reduced School Meals Increase Participation in WIC by Improving Accessibility for Those Who are Eligible
    • The next slide Pillar 2: Stabilize Homes and Communities
      1. End Homelessness and Ensure Housing Affordability and Accessibility
      2. Invest in High-Quality, Specialized Supports for Persons Experiencing Mental Health and Substance Use Related Crises
      3. Invest in Interventions that Address Cycles of Trauma and Violence in our Communities
    • The next slide Pillar 3: Ensure Just and Equitable Access to Economic Security Programs
      1. Create a Single, Accessible Platform for Individuals to Enroll in All State Benefits
      2. Increase Uptake, Access, and Value of Existing Public Benefits for Those in Extreme Poverty
      3. Deploy Direct Cash Assistance Programs to Lift Families Out of Deep Poverty
    • The next slide Pillar 4: Address Barriers to Paid Work, Education, and Advancement
      1. Address Barriers That Prevent Consistent Work at a Living Wage, by Investing in Transportation, Childcare, Paid Leave, Broadband, Legal Aid, Reentry Services, and Immigrant and Refugee Supports
      2. Invest in Apprenticeship, Work Based Learning, and Barrier Reduction Programs So Individuals Can Learn and Train While Supporting Their Family
      3. Expand Access to Legal Counsel for Illinoisans and Ensure Equitable Access to Court and Legal Processes
    • The next slide Pillar 5: Support Trusted Community Based Providers to Serve the Needs of those In Deep Poverty
    1. Support our Caregiving Workforce by Ensuring Equitable Wages and Meaningful Supports for Unpaid Caregivers
    2. Provide Consistent and Equitable Access to State Funding that Adequately Keeps Pace with Rising Costs
  7. Discussion of the Strategic Pillars
    • Megan Spitz poses a question regarding Pillar #2: Given the plan, ending homelessness by 2026, should we soften the language a little bit?
    • Administrator Kelly agrees with the suggestion.
    • Director Tokars addresses Pillar #2: We can think about trauma and violence as it relates to domestic violence, something to think about as we write up the report.
    • Administrator Kelly thanks Director Tokars for her input and states that trauma and violence is not specified to include violence such as firearm and domestic violence.
    • Director Tokars addresses Pillar #4: She provides a comment and is appreciative of the inclusion of refugees in the plan as barriers.
    • Administrator Kelly explains the measurement of the plan which she hopes will provide a meaningful impact.
  8. Implementation and Future Interagency Working Group Work
    • Administrator Kelly explains the next steps after the strategic plan is written and how the timeline for implementation will be rolled out. She explains that the plan is designed as recommendations to the Governor, General Assembly and People of Illinois. Then the Administration will develop a response that will include an implementation plan in concert with GOMB with a timeline of completion by August 1, 2022.
    • Next, the Commission and Interagency Working Groups will be forming committees based on the pillars, convene and launch regional councils, and prepare proposals for FY24 year.
    • Ms. Spitz adds that there is an Illinois Housing Task force that could be plugged in for the regional councils.
    • Administrator Kelly states that the Commission Committees will be comprised of commission members as chair, at least one per committee where they will invite interagency working group members, staff of the poverty policy committee and outside advocacy groups.
    • Administrator Kelly states the committees will convene quarterly and that they will receive a survey requesting which committee they would like to join.
  9. Next Steps - Administrator Kelly provides the next steps:
    • Review strategic report draft by April 12, 2022
    • Distribution of full and final report by end of April, 30, 2022
    • Share strategy and report within networks and communities
    • Attend May Launch Event
    • Respond to Survey
    • Convene in next commission meeting in August, 2022
  10. Adjournment
    • Deputy Director Marc Staley moved to adjourn the meeting and Deputy Director Kristi Jones seconded the motion and Assistant Director Amaal V.E. Tokars thirds the motion.
    • The meeting was adjourned at 12:18 p.m.