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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.
In response to the economic devastation brought on by the COVID-19 recession and the persistent economic disparities faced by Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and other workers facing barriers to employment, the undersigned organizations call on Congressional leadership to ensure that the budget reconciliation bill being negotiated in Congress includes robust investments in workforcedevelopment and training, including a robust equity-centered national subsidized employment program.
There are hundreds of unique permanent punishment laws in Illinois. These state laws collectively act in ways impacting people's access to housing, education, employment, and other opportunities. The Fully Free Campaign works to end all permanent punishments in Illinois.
This advocacy resource makes the case for why Congress must enact an equity-centered national subsidized employment program as a part of COVID-19 economic recovery legislation, with a special focus on how subsidized employment strategies can benefit jobseekers experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. This resource was produced in partnership among Heartland Alliance, the Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), and the National Youth Employment Coalition. Subsidized employment advocates can use this resource to inform visits with elected officials about why subsidized employment must be a part of building back a better, stronger, and more inclusive and equitable economy in the wake of the COVID-19 recession.
This advocacy resource makes the case for why Congress must enact an equity-centered national subsidized employment programas a part of COVID-19 economic recovery legislation, as called for in the White House's proposed American Jobs Plan. This resource was produced in partnership among Heartland Alliance, the Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), and the National Youth Employment Coalition. Subsidized employment advocates can use this resource to inform visits with elected officials about why subsidized employment must be a part of building back a better, stronger, and more inclusive and equitable economy in the wake of the COVID-19 recession.
Letter to Congress to Include an Equity-Centered National Subsidized Employment Program in the American Jobs ActMay 6, 2021
Heartland Alliance joined the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the National Youth Employment Coalition, and nearly 100 national and local organizations calling on Congress to include an equity-centered national subsidized employment program as a part of the forthcoming recovery package as recommended by President Biden in his American Jobs Plan. Through large-scale federal demonstrations and Heartland Alliance's experience running subsidized employment programs, we know that subsidized employment is an effective strategy for getting people who would not otherwise be working rapidly connected to jobs and earning income. This includes workers who have been displaced due to economic downturns as well as those who face chronic unemployment even when the economy is growing.
In recent years, there has been a surge in Children's Savings Account (CSA) programs being planned and launched in Midwest communities by state and local governments, community foundations, and nonprofit organizations. This is no accident. Since 2017, Heartland Alliance has led targeted efforts to promote the spread of CSA programs in the Midwest through a collaborative regional approach.This report documents the development of the Midwest CSA Consortium, outlines the growth of CSAs in the region since the start of the Consortium in January 2017 through the end of 2020, and spotlights the diversity and variation in CSA programs throughout the region.
Never Fully Free: The Scale and Impact of Permanent Punishments on People with Criminal Records in IllinoisJune 29, 2020
This first-of-its-kind study confirms that more than 3.3 million people in Illinois could be impacted by permanent punishments as a result of prior "criminal justice system" involvement, which is more accurately referred to as the "criminal legal system" given the well-documented inequities that bring into question whether the system actually brings justice to people who come into contact with it."Never Fully Free: The Scale and Impact of Permanent Punishments on People with Criminal Records in Illinois," lifts up that permanent punishments are the numerous laws and barriers aimed at people with records that limit their human rights and restrict access to the crucial resources needed to re-build their lives, such as employment, housing, and education. The report recommends a broad dismantling of permanent punishments, so that those who have been involved with the criminal legal system have the opportunity to fully participate in society.The data illustrates the dramatic number of people who may be living with the stigma and limitations of a criminal record in Illinois. Since the advent of mass incarceration in 1979, there are an estimated 3.3 million adults who have been arrested or convicted of a crime in Illinois. Under current laws, these individuals have limited rights even after their criminal legal system involvement has ended. In fact, the report uncovered a vast web of 1,189 laws in Illinois that punish people with criminal records, often indefinitely.
Comments in response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Employment andTraining Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program RIN 0584-AE68
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