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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.
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.
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.
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