Heartland Alliance

A Year of Big Change.

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Public Charge Ruling

On October 15, a rule put out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that was referred to as “public charge” was supposed to go into effect. The rule would have made it easier for the Trump administration to reject green card and visa applications filed by low-income immigrants under the argument they might become a burden to taxpayers by using public benefits and programs.

However, days before the effective date, judges in five different cases provided preliminary injunction orders, blocking the rule from going into effect.

Read the full update to learn more.

Spotlight on data: Learn more about public assistance

Wondering how public benefits help your community? You can use our local data portal to get an overview of how many people are using public assistance near you. Our interactive Chicago map and data tables show the percent of households receiving public assistance (such as TANF) and SNAP. Let us know how you’re using the data!


Nearly 50,000 Illinois licenses are suspended each year because drivers can’t pay tickets, fines, or fees and for other non-moving violations – reasons that have nothing to do with driving. Lets pass the License to Work Act and change that!


Help Us Pass the License to Work Act 

Next week, Illinois Legislative Veto session begins in Springfield, Illinois and our team will be at the Capitol continuing to push for legislation that furthers equity and opportunity for all in Illinois. One of our biggest initiatives: getting the License to Work Act passed! We are determined to get this bill over the finish line and onto the Governor’s desk and you can help us do it by taking action and calling your representative today! Tell them to vote “yes” on SB1786 and to end license suspension for non-driving violations in Illinois!

Get Your Representative’s Contact Information & Take Action!


Together, we can end gender-based, intimate partner and domestic violence and make a safer future for ALL if we come together to provide equitable access to services, investment in healing, and holistic support for survivors.


Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and at Heartland Alliance, we are committed to supporting survivors by working towards solutions through research, providing services, working to pass legislation that supports survivors and standing with them during their journey to safety and opportunity. It is an issue that affects us ALL. While a large number of survivors identify as women, anyone of any race, age, socioeconomic status, gender identity or religion can be impacted.

Learn more about the availability of resources to survivors in our Domestic Violence Needs Assessment of Chicago, the impact of DV in our latest poverty report, The Gender Disadvantage, and learn more about Heartland Alliance’s Violence Recovery Services.


“This new role has been a dream job because Heartland Alliance is filled with people who are excited to get to work and passionate about changing systems.”


Look Inside: Rachel Ruttenberg, Director of Policy

Heartland Alliance Research & Policy is so excited to welcome our newest staff member, Rachel Ruttenburg to the team. Rachel comes to Heartland Alliance with a passion for education, policy, equity and her family and we look forward to all of the amazing ways she will help us further our mission of creating equity and opportunity for all.

Meet Rachel Ruttenberg!


Building a More Just Future: Heartland Alliance at the Smart on Crime Conference

Earlier this month, Heartland Alliance staff had the opportunity to join researchers, advocates, activists, government officials, funders, individuals with lived experience in the criminal justice system, and others from throughout the nation for the Smart on Crime Innovations Conference. Research & Policy Campaign Manager, Quintin Williams, is sharing more about his experience at the event and the panel he led. One of his biggest takeaways: That people with lived experience must be actively involved in the fight for reform. Read his full blog post today.

Nurturing a Movement: Launching the Pathways Forward Learning Forum 

Heartland Alliance’s National Center on Employment and Homelessness is very excited to launch the Pathways Forward Learning Forum—a one-year community of practice that aims to catalyze and support stakeholders’ efforts to increase employment for homeless jobseekers in their communities. Participants in the Learning Forum will engage in a series of monthly interactive digital sessions with peers from across the country.

Read more about the forum, the first cohort, and more, in our latest blog post from Heartland Alliance Intern, Amelia Nawn.


What We're Reading

  • Heartland Alliance Communications and Content Manager, Amber Crossen, is reading…“Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis

    “I'm currently reading Are Prisons Obsolete, by Angela Davis, because as criminal justice reform continues to be debated and discussed throughout the nation, I thought it was important to dig into some of the differing solutions and ideas flowing throughout the movement to end mass incarceration. Davis' book, provides a look at the US before Mass Incarceration (as we know it today) existed, the history of how it was then built, brick by brick, through systems like black codes and Jim Crow, and then makes the case for a future that exists without it. I think it is a brilliantly written piece that, whether you are on the side of reform or complete abolition, helps one realize that a world without a criminal injustice system can exist and that we, as a society, can transform our system of justice into one that is truly just, is based in human rights and dignity, and evolves beyond punitive measures.”

We're Hiring

Heartland Alliance’s Research & Policy Division engages in research on social issues and solutions, policy and systems change, and field building nationwide. The division is home to Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center, Policy & Advocacy team, and our National Initiatives on Economic Opportunity.

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