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Featured

The 2018 Illinois Poverty Update

April 19, 2018

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. 

Poverty
Featured

(WEBINAR) Work Requirements Don't Work: What's At Stake & What Can We Do?

March 21, 2018

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 

Safety Net & Human Services
Featured

Access to Secure Choice: Addressing the Barriers to Retirement Savings for Illinois Workers

November 28, 2017

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.

Asset Building & Financial Security
Featured

Cycle of Risk: The Intersection of Poverty, Violence, and Trauma

March 15, 2017

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

Sharing Data Across Systems: Leveraging Homeless Service and Public Workforce Systems Data to Support Jobseekers Experiencing Homelessness

November 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.

Subsidized Jobs Program Spotlight: Growing Home

October 7, 2021

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). 

Subsidized Jobs Program Spotlight: Bright Endeavors

October 7, 2021

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).   

The Fully Free Campaign

June 23, 2021

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.

Never Fully Free: The Scale and Impact of Permanent Punishments on People with Criminal Records in Illinois

June 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.

SNAP ET Proposed Rule Letter

June 17, 2020

Comments in response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Employment andTraining Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program RIN 0584-AE68

Comment on USDA’s Notice of Proposed Rule regarding Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowances.

December 3, 2019

On behalf of Heartland Alliance, we appreciate the opportunity to comment on USDA's Notice of Proposed Rule regarding Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowances. The proposed rule would exacerbate the struggles many of people experiencing poverty and with low incomes have paying for costs of both food and utilities. It would have harmful impacts on health and well-being as well as on the economy. The proposed rule is deeply flawed and should be withdrawn.

Comments in Opposition to Proposed Rulemaking: Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the SNAP Program

September 23, 2019

This is a response in opposition to proposed rulemaking that would make eligibility changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed changes would cause serious harm to Heartland Alliance participants, Illinoisans experiencing hunger and poverty—including hundreds of thousands of working Illinoisans who are not earning enough to make ends meet—and millions of people across the country. In addition to taking away food assistance from millions of individuals, this proposed rule would make it more difficult for low-income individuals to save for the future, inequitably harm people of color and especially women of color, and greatly increase administrative burdens on agencies already operating at capacity. For these reasons, we believe the proposed rule should be withdrawn.

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