COVID-19 Update: Access Living Employees Working from Home; Building Closed

Illinois Action Alert for Housing Relief

 

May 26, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Action Needed in Illinois TODAY

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Today’s update is about an important bill for those of you in ILLINOIS. Right now, our state legislature is in special session to work on our state budget and a number of other priority items. One of the key issues at stake is relief for housing. As we know, access to stable housing is a crucial issue for thousands of people with disabilities in our state, and lack of housing opens the door to institutionalization.

Earlier this week, Access Living’s Housing and Transportation Policy Analyst, Adam Ballard, shared about the COVID-19 and Economic Recovery Emergency Renter and Homeowner Protection Act. As with the original bill, the purpose is to help Illinois renters, homeowners and people who need housing. The lead House sponsor is Illinois State Representative Delia Ramirez, and in the Illinois State Senate, the lead sponsor is State Senator Robert Peters. After a great deal of negotiations, that bill is stalled but the effort is re-vamped as Senate Bill 3066 House Floor Amendment 2 (SB 3066 HFA 2). The bill text is here.

The amended version of the new bill includes these key protections:

  • Creation of a rental and mortgage relief fund to be created by IHDA within 30 days;
  • Expands the current moratorium on evictions for 60 additional days to prevent eviction notices, not allow rent accruing since the disaster declaration through the end of the moratorium to be a basis for an eviction case, and only allowing eviction cases where one tenant poses an imminent threat of violence against another; and
  • When courts reopen, significantly expands the sealing of eviction court records to ensure that the eviction filing doesn’t harm tenants’ long term housing options.

If you live in Illinois, we need your help TODAY! An important way to help this effort is to file an online witness slip at this link. A witness slip is a way to show that you support passing this bill/amendment. When you go to the link, fill out your contact info. If you represent an organization, you can say which organization; if you are representing yourself, just say “self.” Under the “Position” section, check the box for “Proponent” (this means you support the amendment). Under the “Testimony” section, check “Record of Appearance Only.”

The Illinois legislature expects to wrap up late today. Hopefully all key business will be accomplished, including passage of a state budget, a big bill on hospital assessments, a new vote by mail measure, and other key items, especially those related to Covid-19 relief and recovery. This is a very unusual special session in a time of great stress; while we know that legislators are looking to make sure human services don’t get impacted, and in fact get support during the pandemic, our State still remains in a precarious financial situation so there will be a great deal of work to do in the coming months.

For now, please take action if you live in Illinois. Thank you for your advocacy.