Happy Mother’s Day!
Just like other milestones these past many weeks, we will need to celebrate Mother’s Day in a different way than we have in the past. We take this day to honor the mothers, mother figures, nurturers, and caregivers in our lives. I hope that all of you have people in your lives who you can turn to for some comfort, because – you – as a member of the human services workforce, are doing that for so many others across our state.
Many of us will be working today, because, we are the caregivers and many people are counting on us. Whether you are an administrator, nurse, physician, human resources professional, facility director, manager, direct service professional, or social worker – you play a critical role in the provision of care to those in Illinois who need it most.  People need IDHS and our partner organizations now more than ever.
Please know that we are here for you and that our leadership team is doing everything we can to keep you and those we serve and care for safe.  We thank you for everything you are doing.
On a personal note, I am celebrating my sixth Mother’s Day without my mom, and so this quote is especially meaningful to me. Further, as I see my two boys growing up into young men, it is also a reminder to cherish every moment. Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
Thank you,
Grace B. Hou
Secretary, IDHS
Op-Ed: 'Renters are under severe financial strain. Congress must help them
By Helaine Olen 
Opinion writer
Washington Post
May 7, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. CDT

Democrats in Congress are planning to release their own stimulus plan, one that will finally allow them to go on the offensive against nickel-and-diming Republicans. In contrast to previous rounds of legislation, it will likely be a wish list of Democratic priorities, including financial aid to cities and states.Here’s something else it needs to tackle head-on: our monthly rent.
An estimated 43 million households are renters. Even in good economic times, they report having a harder time than homeowners in coming up with the money to pay for basic and necessary expenses. Amidst a pandemic, they are under severe financial strain. In a recent survey conducted by Apartment Guide, 4 in 10 respondents said they worried about being able to pay their monthly rent bill within a few months.How many didn’t pay their rent on May 1 is unknown, but the number is almost certainly a large one. In April, a third hadn’t paid by the end of the first week of the month, though ultimately all but nine percent had paid up by May.
But the $1,200 stimulus check — which might well have been used by those who received it to cover the April rent — can only be spent once. And the temporary $600 weekly boost to unemployment payments (for those lucky enough to receive them; state unemployment systems remain backed up) is set to end on July 31. This will leave many unemployed renters facing dire choices. In Florida, for instance, the maximum weekly benefit is $275. In a month, that adds up to less than the amount needed to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Orlando.
Calls for a national rent strike point to increasing desperation. Yet so far, the only congressional action is a temporary halt to evicting tenants residing in properties with federally subsidized mortgages — which covers only 1 in 4 rentals.
The policy simply postpones what might be the inevitable without significant financial help. The same is true for the many state bans on evictions during the pandemic. “Someone who is spending $3,000 on rent, they don’t have work and they can’t pay it. A landlord says, ‘Great, you now owe me $6,000.’ It’s just impossible, and it’s not happening,” New York state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D), who is sponsoring rent forgiveness legislation in New York, told me.
With national action lacking, financially desperate renters are left to the vagaries of their particular locale. The D.C. Council passed legislation Tuesday requiring most landlords to negotiate individual long-term payment plans with tenants unable to pay their monthly bill because of the crisis. (Landlords with fewer than five units are exempt.) The Houston City Council voted Wednesday on a proposal to dedicate $15 million in federal aid money to help low-income city residents who couldn’t pay their April or May rent. In return for the money, landlords would need to agree to work with tenants on a payment plan for past-due rent. It sounds generous, but tenant advocates say it’s a drop in the bucket compared with the vast need. San Antonio, with a significantly lower population, has dedicated $25 million to helping families with rent, mortgage and utility bills.
But it’s also true that even the most functional, generous, well-intentioned states and municipalities can’t do it all. They themselves are financially reeling as a result of the pandemic, uncertain about what federal aid they will ultimately receive.
Congress is still thinking about the issue. On the left, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) recently introduced legislation that would suspend and cancel rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. (She would set up a separate fund to reimburse landlords and mortgage note holders.) On the right, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has suggested a two-month rent and utility moratorium for residential renters earning less than $75,000 and businesses with fewer than 250 employees, with repayment spread out over the course of a year.
But even if the most generous forgiveness plan was enacted tomorrow — and it won’t be — we’ve already failed a basic test. The rent is just one aspect of the problem. We shut down the economy to prevent death, but our politicians — of both parties — did nowhere near enough to prevent financial agony for millions and millions of Americans. If Washington had offered up wage and salary supports from the beginning (as did a number of European countries), we could have headed off much of this festering crisis.
No one should have to worry about the possibility of losing his or her home as a result of a global pandemic. It’s our shame as a nation we have so far refused to acknowledge that basic fact. The least we can do is try to fix the situation going forward. 


Federal Partners:             
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness: CLICK HERE 
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition: CLICK HERE
  • US Inter-agency Council On Homelessness: CLICK HERE
Since the start of this crisis, the FDIC has been developing resources that will make it easier for consumers without a bank account to find a bank that can open an account online and without going into a branch.  Last week we launched a new webpage dedicated to helping consumers get the information they need to receive economic impact payments (AKA stimulus checks) electronically. 

This FDIC webpage links directly to the Bank On Coalition’s list of banks that offer remote account opening with a $0 balance in anticipation of the Treasury deposit.  It also links to the American Banks Association and Independent Community Bankers of America lists of banks that offer remote account opening. Finally, the page includes additional resources for consumers.  We are building this as we go.
Once someone opens their account, they can provide the account information through the IRS portal to receive the payments electronically. 

Here is a list of resources and suggestions on how you can help.

FDIC’s Receiving Economic Impact Payment Page:
Would you add this link on your organization’s webpage dedicated to COVID-19?
I figured I would share our recent video as well (the pinned tweet): It is also here on YouTube:  If there is a chance you may retweet, that would be greatly appreciated.   
Just wanted to make sure you saw these articles
We are racing against the clock on this, but it is worth the effort to help as many consumers as possible to access a bank account.  Please share any or all these resources with your contacts and help us get the word out. 

News from Springfield:

Mike Thomson, Michael Weir, and Aaron Chambers of ThomsonWeir, LLC have since 2012 provided SHPA with government affairs and strategic communications services. They advocate for our interests and regularly share important information for our members. 
Illinois E-News:
Family Unification Program Funding Available 
All Chicago is pleased to announce that Chicago was awarded $942,576 for the Family Unification Program (FUP). This funding provides Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) vouchers for two groups:
  • Families with Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) involvement who are unable to secure affordable housing for their children or dependents; and 
  • Former foster youth experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness who left care or will be leaving care in the upcoming 90 days
Please review the attached FUP one pager for more information on how to refer a family and/or youth for the FUP program. If families or youth are unsure about their eligibility, please complete the referral and All Chicago will work with DCFS to verify. 

On May 11, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless will launch a mutual aid fund with the goal of providing one-time emergency grants of up to $500 to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The fund will be overseen and led by a committee of grassroots leaders with lived experience of homelessness. We hope to quickly process applications and distribute funds to those hit hardest by COVID-19 and its economic impact.
Individuals interested in applying can apply online or over the phone beginning Monday, May 11 at 9 a.m. through Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. To apply over the phone, individuals can call (312) 641-4148 between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The online application is available in Spanish and Spanish-speaking phone operators can be reached at the above number. If applicants call outside that time frame or are unable to reach an operator, they can leave a voicemail with contact information to receive a callback.
Please see the attached documents or to access the application and more information about eligibility. We've also included a flier to distribute to clients.
We hope to increase the number of families and individuals we reach through the fund. Please help us by circulating our donation page.
Identifying SOAR Applicants

Identifying adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness who may be eligible for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is an integral aspect of the SOAR model.  While we do not want to discourage anyone from applying for SSA benefits, this tool can help you identify individuals that most need your assistance with their application.
SOAR is designed to serve individuals who are able to apply for disability benefits as an adult under SSA rules. This includes persons 18 years of age or older as well as individuals who are within one month (180 days* for youth who are aging out of the foster care system) of their 18th birthday.  Individuals age 65 or over with low income and resources may be eligible for SSI based on age or be eligible for retirement benefits based on their work history (Individuals aged 62-67, depending on year of birth, may be eligible for early retirement benefits). 
Key Eligibility Criteria: The following 4 characteristics represent key eligibility criteria for SSA disability benefits
  • Applicant has a serious mental illness or exhibits symptoms and/or has serious physical illnesses that affect his/her ability to work at a substantial gainful level ($1,220/month in 2019)
  • The illness(es) or condition(s) have lasted or are expected to last for at least 12 months or are expected to result in death
  • Individual is currently exhibiting symptoms of mental illness or has periods with worsening of symptoms that prevents sustainable employment. For example:
    • Psychotic Symptoms (positive or negative)
    • Depressive Symptoms (decreased energy, lack of motivation, suicide attempts)
    • Manic Symptoms (racing thoughts, disorganized thoughts)
    • Anxious feelings (paranoia, nervousness)
    • Cognitive deficits (brain injury; problems with concentration, memory, etc.)
    • History of trauma (history of abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, etc.)
  • For applicants with mental illness, he/she has marked restrictions in at least 2 of these functional areas**:
    • Understand, remember, or apply information (memory, following instructions, solving problems, etc.)
    • Interact with others (getting along with others, anger, avoidance, etc.)
    • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (as they relate to the ability to complete tasks)
    • Adapt or manage oneself (hygiene, responding to change, setting realistic goals, etc.)
SOARing Over Lunch: Monthly Calls to Enhance Your SOAR Knowledge

SOARing Over Lunch! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
1:00 p.m. ET 

Our next SOARing Over Lunch call is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Please join us for this informal call to have your SOAR questions answered directly by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center! While there is no agenda set in advance for these calls, we do want your ideas! Please e-mail us at to submit any questions and/or topics that you would like us to discuss.
 ** These are listen-only calls.**
Participants will type questions into a chat box and listen to the presentation via computer speakers.
Choose Listen Only on the bottom right of the Join Audio Conference box.*
*If you don't have computer speakers, please contact us for phone access:
Add SOARing Over Lunch to Your Outlook Calendar
Continuum of Care News:
Come JOIN SHPA and be part of a strong coalition of Supportive Housing Providers who are committed to the expansion of supportive housing across the State of Illinois to address the issues of homelessness, unnecessary institutionalization, and persons with disabilities, advocating for the increase in resources for supportive services, and leading policy and systematic changes to benefit those we serve and the efficient and effective delivery of services. Click on the link above and contact David Esposito, Executive Director at

Not a Supportive Housing Provider, yet want to support our work, click here for our 2020 Sponsorship Opportunities. 

Want to get more involved with SHPA?
One of the best ways to stay in the know with all things SHPA and permanent supportive housing is to join our standing committees. All committees meet by phone so that members from all over the state are able to join.
Visit our website for committee descriptions:

SHPA Committee Meetings Scheduled:
Legislative Committee - Third Thursday of the Month @ 9:00a
Resident Committee - Fourth Wednesday of the Month @ 4:00p
Governance Committee - Fourth Tuesday of the Month @ 2:00p
Standards & Best Practices Committee - Fourth Monday of the Month @ 11:30a

(schedules subject to change as determined by committee chairs)

For more information on how to participate please contact SHPA staff at
(217) 321-2476
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Monday Memo is supported in part by:

The Woods Fund, Chicago Community Trust, Harris Family Foundation, and the
IL Department of Human Services

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Supportive Housing Providers Association · 6 Lawrence Square · Springfield, IL 62704 · USA

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