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Latino Policy Forum Response to Illinois FY24 Passed State Budget and Legislation

On Saturday, May 27, 2023, the Illinois General Assembly passed a $50.4 billion balanced budget for FY24. The Forum commends the efforts of the Illinois General Assembly and Governor in formulating the budget and recognizing the complex challenges involved in balancing competing priorities. The Forum appreciates the commitment to addressing the needs of Illinoisans.  

Please find below the Forum's  assessment of the budget highlighting strengths and areas that require attention. Overall, the Forum is pleased with key concerns that impact Latino and immigrant families.

  • Substantial investments made in the field of education that span the entire educational continuum.
  • Continued investments in Welcoming Centers, the Access to Justice program, and funding to support asylum seekers. 
  • Significant investments to the HOME Illinois plan to prevent and end homelessness. 

There are also areas where investment could have more fully addressed the needs of low-income immigrant families:  

  • Expanding health care coverage for low-income residents ages 19-41, regardless of immigration status. 
  • Funding to support suburban school districts receiving new immigrant students.
  • The Latino Policy Forum remains committed to actively engaging with policymakers, stakeholders, and the wider community to improve education outcomes, advocate for affordable housing, promote just immigration policies, and strengthen community leadership.   


The education investments mark significant milestones in creating equitable opportunities. Governor Pritzker has proposed a multiyear plan to transform early childhood education and care for the  youngest learners, followed by investments to build the K-12 teacher pipeline and expand access to higher education for Illinois students.  

The following are key highlights:  

Illinois State Board of Education: ECE-12TH

Areas That Require Further Attention
  • $75 Million increase for the Early Childhood Block Grant to put Illinois on a path to creating more than 20,000 new Pre-k slots. The Forum hopes the work to expand access to programming is complimented with quality improvement to programs, including expanding half-day slots to full-day preschool, increasing workforce compensation, and expanding the Prevention Initiative. This investment is especially critical given the timely research out of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research examining the impact of early childhood services on English Learners (ELs). For example, the Consortium found that ELs receiving full-day preschool for up to two years with specialized bilingual programming had better attendance, reading and math grades, and test scores and were more likely to demonstrate English proficiency in the third grade.   
  • $45 Million to launch a 3-year teacher pipeline project that will direct funding to 170 school districts.  These districts account for 80% of all unfilled teaching positions and affect 870,000 students.  The initiative includes school districts with high concentrations of English Learners and Latino students.  
  • $5 million in new funding to support the inclusion of preschoolers with disabilities and developmental delays within schools and community-based early childhood settings.  
  • K-12 Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) needs $550 Million investment, $200M more than what was allocated; the Forum commends the Illinois General Assembly for investing $350 million in Evidence-Based Funding. Additional investment will accelerate Illinois’ steps to fund schools adequately. The state has made meaningful progress to EBF; however, as of FY24, over half of the state’s students (more than one million) are still in districts where funding is below 75% of adequacy. 

Illinois Department of Human Services: Birth to Five 

  • $170 Million increase to the Child Care system to develop and fund workforce compensation contracts with providers to increase staff compensation and funding to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). These investments will help attract and retain high-quality early childhood educators and fairly compensate them. Adequate compensation is critical to investing in early childhood education services and promoting positive outcomes for children. In addition, investments in CCAP will help provide working families with assistance to cover the cost of childcare services and increase access to safe and reliable childcare while caregivers work or attend school.  
  • $40 Million increase for Early Intervention to increase provider reimbursement rates by at least 10%, address service coordination challenges, and provide additional funding to the Department to accommodate a growing caseload. Early Intervention helps identify and address developmental delays in infants and toddlers ages 0-3; this is a critical period for brain development and learning to promote optimal growth, development, and overall well-being. 
  • $5 Million increase for IDHS home visiting to provide services to approximately 500-650 additional families. These services provide critical at-home support to new and growing families, including parent education, health and wellness support, developmental screenings for children, early learning resources, and community resource sharing. 

Illinois Higher Education

  • Continued appropriations for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship to build incumbent ECE workforce capacity to attain degrees.  
  • $8 Million increased funding for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program. The increased investment enables the state to build the capacity of rising educators of color and sustains a set aside to support bilingual candidates of color.  
  • $100 Million increase for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) will help students with financial needs to receive grant assistance for tuition and fees.    


The Forum commends the State of Illinois and the Illinois General Assembly for their continued commitment to immigrant families by allocating much-needed investments to Welcoming Centers, the Access to Justice program, and funding for the nearly 10,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in the state. The Forum also commends the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the Resurrection Project, and the countless organizations that led the advocacy efforts on these issues. 

Additionally, in this legislative session, we witnessed the passing of two historic bills that strengthen the safety net of immigrant families and promote immigrant rights. One requires hospitals to screen uninsured patients to determine their eligibility for health coverage options and final assistance, thereby preventing and reducing medical debt. The other will enable drivers to get an IL driver’s license or ID that prevents discrimination based on immigration status and is valid for non-federal ID purposes. The Forum applauds the efforts of ICIRR, the Legal Council for Health Justice, and the Community Catalyst who worked to get these bills over the finish line.

While the state has made significant progress in ensuring healthcare coverage for individuals ages 42-64 and seniors (65+) regardless of their immigration status, the Forum is disappointed by the lack of expansion for low-income residents ages 19-41. The Forum applauds the efforts of the Healthy Illinois campaign to realize healthcare for all. Finally, the Forum will continue to advocate for linguistically and culturally sensitive community mental health support. In particular, the Forum expresses appreciation to the Latino Caucus for their leadership on the following wins.

Missed Opportunities 
  • $550 million for Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults & Seniors ages 42 and up. The Forum commends the Heathy Illinois campaign for championing this effort. This funding will benefit more than 50,000 immigrants. 
  • $25 million to Access to Justice (A2J): $12.5M to Westside Justice Center and $12.5M to Resurrection Project. The Forum commends the Resurrection Project for championing this effort. With $5 million in additional funding, A2J can continue providing legal education, expand its geographical reach, and increase its caseload.
  • $110 million to Illinois Welcoming Centers (WCs): $105M in General Revenue, ~$3.4M in State Coronavirus Appropriations, ~$1.6 M in State Coronavirus Appropriations to the United African Organization to continue funding and expanding the State’s 36 WCs which offer culturally and linguistically responsive comprehensive services for the integration of immigrants in Illinois.   
  • $42.5 million from General Revenue to IDHS for grants and expenses associated with asylum seekers in Chicago and other municipalities in Cook County to offer critical services, including emergency shelter, healthcare, legal representation, translation services, etc. 
  • $50.6 million to Refugee Resettlement. This funding will help the State continue supporting refugees from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine.
  • Expanding health care coverage for low-income residents ages 19-41, regardless of immigration status, is estimated to cover an additional 100,000 residents. 
  • $15 million increase to Immigrant Integration Services to assist the ongoing need of low-income families affected by the pandemic with cash assistance and to keep level funding for the New Americans Initiative (NAI) and Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP). 
  • The creation of a state Child Tax Credit, proven as an effective strategy to reduce child poverty and boost incomes for people who work but aren’t paid enough to make ends meet. This credit could benefit an approximate 1.5 million children and ITIN filers. 
  • $35 million to support New Student Arrivals. The Forum will continue supporting Ed Red in its advocacy for new funding to support suburban school districts receiving new immigrant students. This funding will support additional staffing, translation services, transportation, special education, etc.


The Forum commends the Illinois General Assembly's monumental commitment to prevent and end homelessness with the historic investment of more than $350 million in state and federal funding to the HOME Illinois plan. This plan represents a crucial opportunity to address the housing challenges faced by many in Illinois, including Latinos. By prioritizing the HOME Illinois plan, the state is poised to substantially impact at-risk and unhoused populations by significantly investing to support homeless prevention services, crisis response initiatives, affordable housing options, and fostering opportunities for stable and secure housing.  

In addition, Senate Bill 74, dedicated to establishing a Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force, passed the legislative session. The task force will guide the implementation of a payment plan option for delinquent Cook County homeowners on the annual tax sale. The Forum celebrates the leadership of partners Housing Action Illinois and Neighborhood Housing Services on the passage of this bill.   

The Forum would like to highlight the key takeaways of housing investments:  

  • $26 Million to expand homelessness prevention services for individuals and families at risk of becoming unhoused. Latino and Black families are more likely to live in deep poverty across Illinois, increasing their risk of becoming homeless. This investment can help families regain stability and avoid eviction.  
  • $40 Million to develop new permanent supportive housing units with an extension of wraparound services. This investment will help mitigate the affordable housing shortage and economic barriers limiting many Latino families' housing opportunities.   
  • $12.5 Million to create new scattered site permanent supportive housing units. The Forum applauds the novel investment into a scattered site model that will broaden housing and community choices for many individuals.  
  • $40.7 Million increase for the Emergency and Transitional Housing (ETH) Program to provide more emergency shelter beds across Illinois. The Forum congratulates the Illinois Shelter Alliance (ISA) coalition for their advocacy efforts in ensuring this increase made it to the final budget to serve more individuals at emergency shelters. 
  • Continued appropriations to IDHS' Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) have served many low-income households struggling to stay in their homes amidst rising housing costs.  

Analysis for this response was written by Rosario Hernandez, Dr. Rebecca Vonderlack- Navarro, Nina Sedeno, Dr. Anna Arzuaga, and Jose Marco-Paredes.