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From left to right, John Holton (Director of the Illinois Department on Aging), Sen. Collins and David Vinkler (AARP)


"Our seniors must be given the opportunity to age with dignity and grace."

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) received the Legislator of the Year Award from AARP at a luncheon held today during the Governor's Conference on Aging. AARP's Manager of Outreach and Advocacy, Nancy Nelson, cited Sen. Collins' leadership on such efforts as nursing home reform, homestead exemptions and assisting low-income seniors with utility bills.

"I accept this award with gratitude and humility and with an awareness of the work left to be done," Sen. Collins said. "I stand here with a community of caregivers and advocates dedicated to helping all senior citizens, regardless of race or region. Our seniors must be given the opportunity to age with dignity and grace."

Since entering the Senate in 2003, Sen. Collins has sponsored many pieces of legislation protecting senior citizens from fraud and exploitation, including in nursing homes. Although she helped secure passage of landmark nursing home reforms in 2010, she continues to work for further improvements in the quality of long-term care, especially for low-income and minority seniors. Sen. Collins was instrumental in making sure low-income seniors could continue receiving property tax relief, and she sponsored a 2003 law prohibiting utility companies from disconnecting service to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) customers — many of them seniors on fixed incomes — during the winter months. Sen. Collins was one of only a handful of senators to vote no on the "Smart Grid" utility rate hike legislation because of its cost impact on the elderly.

"At a time when budget cuts have shredded the safety net on which many senior citizens rely, it is more important than ever for public officials to speak up for our vulnerable and valuable elderly neighbors," said Sen. Collins, a vocal critic of reductions such as the elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx prescription assistance program. "We have a long way to go, but we owe our seniors our total engagement on these critical issues."

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Measure expedites foreclosures of abandoned property,

funds counseling and neighborhood revitalization

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) secured unanimous passage today of legislation allowing fast-tracked foreclosure proceedings for abandoned properties and raising additional funds for foreclosure counseling and property rehabilitation. The proposal is designed to boost a housing market oversaturated with foreclosures, offer free foreclosure counseling to 18,000 households and raise an additional $28 million to clean up vacant homes and lots.

Senate Bill 16 is endorsed by Governor Quinn, Attorney General Madigan, the Illinois Bankers Association, community banks and credit unions, housing and community advocates, Cook County and the City of Chicago.

"What these parties had in common was a desire to break up the logjam of foreclosures currently clogging our court system and delaying the full recovery of our housing market," Sen. Collins said. "With strong homeowner protections in place, everyone benefits from expedited foreclosures of truly abandoned properties."

SB 16 will shorten the foreclosure process from more than 500 days on average to approximately 100 days when a court finds that the property in question has been abandoned. However, the legislation defines abandoned property so banks cannot use the expedited process to force out lawful occupants. The state will exercise oversight to ensure financial institutions are not abusing the new option.120512br0131r

The banks that file the most foreclosure proceedings (more than 175 in the previous year) will pay a $500 additional fee when they file a foreclosure action; the proceeds will go to the Foreclosure Prevention Program Fund (for homeowner counseling grants) and the Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Fund. This fund will award grants to counties and municipalities to maintain, renovate or demolish abandoned properties, which contribute to blight, crime and falling home values. Lenders that have filed between 50 and 174 foreclosure complaints in the past year will pay an extra $250, and those with fewer than 50 filings will pay only $50 more. The increased fees will remain in effect through January 1, 2018.

"For years I've worked toward a vision of communities emerging revitalized from this housing crisis," Sen. Collins said. "Today we take another step benefitting the long-term health of the housing market and thus individuals, families, communities and financial institutions alike."

SB 16 passed both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support and now proceeds to the governor's desk.

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) stood with Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck, Congressman Danny Davis, Illinois Lottery Superintendent Victor Golden and representatives of the South Side and Westside HIV/AIDS Regional Planning Councils to observe World AIDS Day and congratulate 16 organizations receiving grants for HIV/AIDS education and services.

Proceeds from the Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off lottery game funded the $2.1 million in Quality of Life grants. Sen. Collins sponsored legislation creating the game in 2007 and extending it for another five years in 2012.

"I support this dedicated revenue stream because we desperately need to educate, advocate, break down barriers and empower everyone with HIV or AIDS to experience a better quality of life," Sen. Collins said. "Recent state budgets have cut critical safety nets, but I'm committed to funding the fight against AIDS through innovative approaches such as Red Ribbon Cash."

The 16 agencies and non-profit organizations receiving grants this year represent diverse areas of the state, serve different high-risk populations and engage in a wide variety of activities. Seven organizations have budgets under $300,000. The Department of Public Health monitors the use of the grants to ensure maximum impact in the effort to end HIV/AIDS in Illinois.

"Too many still see this as a disease affecting gay white men, but AIDS knows no boundaries," Sen. Collins said. "Red Ribbon Cash equips a movement to serve all Illinoisans living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of infection – black, white, Latino, Asian, male and female, gay and straight. I am confident we are working toward the day when we will read about AIDS in history books instead of newspapers."

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Honored by Neighborhood Housing Services for work on behalf of Auburn Gresham


Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago produced this video of Sen. Collins at work in Auburn Gresham
and talking about what AG means to her. The video was shown at the presentation of her award.


 CHICAGO, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) has received the Neighborhood Leadership Award for her role as a "Neighborhood Hero" for Auburn Gresham. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) honored Sen. Collins and seven other community advocates at the nonprofit organization's annual meeting Tuesday "for outstanding leadership in rebuilding Chicago's neighborhoods."

"I am deeply moved by my inclusion among tonight's award recipients," said Sen. Collins. "Auburn Gresham is a special place to me, and it is always an honor to represent this neighborhood and work for its residents."

NHS, a nonprofit neighborhood revitalization organization providing loans, free homebuyer education classes, foreclosure counseling and reclamation of abandoned properties, has offices in eight neighborhoods, including Auburn Gresham and Englewood. Its members recognized Sen. Collins' advocacy for neighborhood improvement strategies such as foreclosure prevention, bringing fresh produce to "food deserts," promoting the upkeep of abandoned properties and taking a stand against violence.

"Neighborhood revitalization is extremely important to me, because change has to start locally," Sen. Collins said. "It's a privilege to work with countless people who consistently lend a hand to their neighbors and take pride in where they live."

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2012-10-15 AnnualMtg-214 web

Contact Info

Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607


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