Dear Partners,

The summer months have been filled with moments of normalcy and reminders that we are still navigating the COVID-19 pandemic as many of us were able to visit with friends and family members, and are now confronting new challenges with increasing infections as people return to work and school.

I am pleased that the Pfizer COVID vaccine received final authorization from the FDA and hope that more of our neighbors and co-workers will accept the vaccine if they have not already; it is the only way to truly ensure we have a healthy path forward. In the meantime, we all must continue to be vigilant and cautious – even as we are optimistic.

IDHS and its partners play a critical role in the State’s recovery and restoration effort, and I want to share some new information on housing protections.

As many of you know, we have been working in close partnership with the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) on a Rental Assistance Program.

While a large majority of the funding is being issued by IHDA through its portal, IDHS has designed an equitable strategy, working with community-based organizations to reach the most vulnerable populations. We want to reach all eligible households and individuals, including those who are very low-income, Black, Latinx, immigrants with language barriers, persons with disabilities, and those without access to technology.

To respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s vacating the stay on the D.C. District Court’s ending of the CDC’s eviction moratorium and increased demand for rental assistance to prevent eviction, the State has and will:

  • Support and develop the network of legal assistance providers across the state.
  • Enhance the capacity of community agency partners to serve more vulnerable households by increasing funding from $28M in FY21 to $162M in FY22.
  • Launch a statewide Court-Based Rental Assistance Program in September 2021

For more information on this effort, please visit

Wishing you all a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable close to your summer.

Be safe and be well.



Grace B. Hou,

Secretary, IDHS

Grant Opportunities

IDHS issues many Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) throughout the year for our programs. You can find a full list of funding opportunities on the IDHS Grant Opportunities web page.

GATA Training – Learning Management System

We would like your help in spreading the word about the GATA learning management system, and how it can support organizations in the process of becoming GATA compliant.

The system is available for self-paced online learning that includes five modules. The estimated time to complete all modules is approximately 24 hours, but again, the system is available for self-paced online learning, broken into separate modules.

Click here to go directly to the GATA Training Course Learning Management System sign-in page.

Questions and Assistance:

Assistance with the system may be obtained by using the “Get Support” tab located under “Tools” on the GATA TA Learning Management System launch page.

Questions and assistance with the subject matter content may be addressed via email:

GATA Tip Corner

If you have questions regarding GATA, IDHS hosted one-hour sessions to provide a high-level overview of GATA in English and Spanish.

Click here for English:

Clicker here for Spanish:

Let’s Talk GATA

We are looking for input on your GATA experience and want your feedback. In the coming weeks, we will be looking to organize and plan meetings with community-based organizations, like you, strictly geared towards improving your experience with navigating GATA.

We would like to keep you informed as this develops further, so please reach out to Awisi Bustos at and provide us with your contact information so your organization can be reached! Please use “LET’S TALK GATA” in your email subject line.

Thank you in advance.

Call 4 Calm

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health administers a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.

Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0, or for Spanish, “HABLAR” to the same number: 5-5-2-0-2-0. Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous.

Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support. Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services.


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