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Heartland Alliance's Illinois Poverty Update indicates that millions of people in Illinois are experiencing poverty or are on the cusp. Rooted in inequity, poverty prevents people from meeting basic needs, improving their quality of life, and creates barriers to opportunities including quality education, stable employment, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods. The update sheds light on who is most likely to experience poverty in Illinois: Women, people of color, and children have the highest poverty rates.In addition to the Illinois Poverty Update, Heartland Alliance also released state legislative district poverty fact sheets.These releases are the first of a series Heartland Alliance is publishing on poverty in Illinois this year. Local- and county-level data books will be published this summer, and an in-depth exploration of the forces that contribute to gender-based poverty inequity will be released in the fall.
This webinar outlined the current and potential threats to basic assistance programs with a specific focus on work requirements; provided an on-the-ground perspective about how imposing work requirements in exchange for basic supports will hurt low-income individuals and especially people of color; and shared communications tools and tactics for how to reframe the work requirements narrative and advocate for positive strategies to end chronic unemployment and poverty.Moderator: Melissa Young of Heartland Alliance's National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity Panelists: Elizabeth Lower-Basch of Center on Law and Social Policy, Ronald Johnson of Heartland Alliance Health, and Rebecca Vallas of Center for American Progress
Illinois is among the first states in the nation to pass retirement savings legislation in the form of Secure Choice. With the implementation of Secure Choice, workers in Illinois at qualifying businesses without access to an employment-based retirement plan will be automatically enrolled in a retirement savings program. An estimated 1.3 million Illinoisans who currently do not have access to workplace retirement plans will be potentially impacted by Secure Choice. As Illinois moves toward Secure Choice implementation, however, there are a number of key questions that should be answered to help ensure that the program is addressing barriers to participation, especially among low-income workers, women, immigrants, and workers of color. This research is aimed at better understanding these barriers.
Chicago is currently facing a devastating surge in lethal violence in addition to staggering rates of poverty across Illinois. Policymakers and community leaders are struggling with finding short- and long-term solutions to stem the violence and allow neighborhoods to heal. In the meantime, communities are fearing for their own safety and grieving over lost parents, children, friends, and leaders every day. The stakes forgetting the solutions right could not be higher. Poverty and violence often intersect, feed one another, and share root causes. Neighborhoods with high levels of violence are also characterized by high levels of poverty, lack of adequate public services and educational opportunity, poorer health outcomes, asset and income inequality, and more. The underlying socioeconomic conditions in these neighborhoods perpetuate both violence and poverty. Furthermore, trauma can result from both violence and poverty. Unaddressed trauma worsens quality of life, makes it hard to rise out of poverty by posing barriers to success at school and work, and raises the likelihood of aggressive behavior. In this way, untreated trauma—coupled with easy gun availability and other factors—feeds the cycle of poverty and violence.
Poverty rates increased and household incomes were stagnant inIllinois from 2019 to 2021. This data reflects 2021, when COVID-19 pandemic-related government assistance provided some relief, suggesting that the financial picture is likely much worse today.
Sharing Data Across Systems: Leveraging Homeless Service and Public Workforce Systems Data to Support Jobseekers Experiencing HomelessnessNovember 30, 2021
Employment success and housing stability go hand in hand. Although the public workforce and homeless service systems both serve homeless and unstably housed jobseekers, these systems work in silos in many communities. Collaboration is critical for these two systems to achieve their interrelated goals.One promising systems collaboration strategy is cross-system data sharing. This resource provides an overview of data sharing, explains how it can be used to better understand and meet the needs of workforce and homeless service populations in your community, and lifts up how Chicago and Detroit have successfully operationalized this strategy.
These comments were provided in response to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness' request for feedback on the revised Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. In crafting our response, staff from Heartland Alliance's Impact Division gathered input from 17 staff members across the Alliance's companies, including staff with lived experience of homelessness, staff working directly with adults and youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and staff working on policy and systems-level solutions to prevent and end homelessness.
Across the country, Goodwill rapidly engages economically marginalized jobseekers with employment, using subsidized jobs programs and other workforce development strategies. Based in Atlanta and the surrounding metro area, Goodwill of North Georgia's subsidized jobs program, operating since 1925, connects jobseekers to immediate, wage-paid employment, paired with a contextualized learning environment and individualized supportive services. This program spotlight discusses Goodwill of North Georgia's subsidized jobs model and its impact and calls for federal investments in subsidized jobs to support jobseekers facing structural barriers to employment. Goodwill of North Georgia's headquarters is located in the 4th Congressional district of Georgia. The representative for this district is Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr. (D). The Senators for Georgia are Senators Raphael Warnock (D) and Senator Jon Ossoff (D).
Growing Home is an urban farm that has run a subsidized jobs program in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood since 2005. The program serves individuals who face structural barriers to employment and engages them in immediate, wage-paid employment on the farm. This program spotlight discusses Growing Home's subsidized jobs model and its impact and calls for federal investments in subsidized jobs to support jobseekers facing structural barriers to employment. Growing Home is located in the 1st Congressional district of Illinois. The representative for this district is Bobby L. Rush (D).
Based in Chicago, Illinois, New Moms provides services and supports to young moms, primarily women of color, who are experiencing poverty or homelessness. New Moms' participants have the opportunity to engage in a workforce development program, which includes hands-on experience at a subsidized job via their employment social enterprise, Bright Endeavors. This program spotlight discusses Bright Endeavors' subsidized jobs model and its impact and calls for federal investments in subsidized jobs to support jobseekers facing structural barriers to employment. Bright Endeavors is located in the 7th Congressional district of Illinois. The representative for this district is Danny K. Davis (D).
Extensive research has shown subsidized employment to be a highly successful strategy for rapidly helping large numbers of people who would not otherwise be working access employment and earned income. Subsidized jobs have been successfully used during times of high unemployment to help displaced workers earn income and to support small businessesimpacted by recession. Equally important, subsidized jobs also offer jobseekers facing structural barriers to employment—such as homelessness, a record, or chronic unemployment—a critical opportunity to access work opportunities from which they would be otherwise excluded.
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) works to reduce recidivism and increase employment among people impacted by the criminal legal system. CEO has branches in 31 cities across 12 states. CEO New Orleans launched in Louisiana in October2019. This program spotlight discusses CEO's subsidized jobs model and its impact and calls for federal investments in subsidized jobs to support jobseekers facing structural barriers to employment.
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