Statewide conference addresses housing challenges at local, state, and federal level; highlights 4 housing champions for Golden Trowel Awards

Against the backdrop of a continuing foreclosure crisis and rising homelessness, more than 170 affordable housing professionals will meet in Bloomington, Illinois, on November 4 and 5, 2010, for Housing Matters!, a statewide conference to forge and share new solutions to today’s challenges.
Organized by Housing Action Illinois, a statewide coalition formed to protect and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing throughout Illinois, the Housing Matters! conference will celebrate the work of four individuals selected to receive the Golden Trowel Award.  This award is given to individuals nominated by Housing Action Illinois members and whose dedication and commitment to promoting housing justice is exemplary and should be recognized.  This year, the awardees are: Barbara Hicks of Madonna House (Quincy), Dan Lindsey of Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Illinois State Representative Sandy Pihos (Glen Ellyn), and Bob Wahlgren, formerly of Community Housing Association of DuPage (Glen Ellyn). 
Twenty workshops and three plenary sessions during the Housing Matters! conference will provide essential training and networking opportunities for Illinois’ affordable housing practitioners, including housing counselors working with first time homebuyers and homeowners facing foreclosure, homeless service providers facing increased demand and decreased funding, and affordable housing developers and managers whose projects face dramatic budget shortfalls.  The conference also provides a forum for sharing best practices and furthering efforts for systemic changes.  More information can be found at 
The Housing Matters! conference is made possible through the generous financial support of PNC Bank, which has branches throughout the state and a substantial commitment to community development.  PNC Bank is the lead sponsor of the conference.  Additional supporters include the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Harris Bank, and State Farm Bank. Support for some workshops is provided for by a grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. 
Housing Action Illinois will celebrate its 25th Anniversary next year at its conference on November 3 and 4, 2011.  At Housing Action Illinois, our supporters, participants and members agree that a stronger Illinois begins at home.