Inspired by the success of dozens of cities, towns and states across the nation in preventing and addressing vacant and abandoned properties, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) is heading to Boston to participate in a unique forum where she hopes to learn from experts and develop her own effective strategies.

“As we drive down blocks all across our state there are too many properties that seem to have been vacant for far too long,” Sen. Collins said. “Increasing property values is one of the best ways to stabilize and strengthen our economy. If abandoned property becomes less prevalent in our state homeowners and business owners will have a reason to invest confidently in Illinois.”

From March 13-16, Sen. Collins will attend the second Community Progress Leadership Institute with leaders from ten communities in Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Michigan. Held at the Harvard Law School, the Leadership Institute is offered and led by the Center for Community Progress, the nation’s preeminent organization working with communities and government to forge strategies that prevent vacancy and abandonment. Participants are chosen based not only on their interest but on the capacity of their organizational diversity and alliances to apply what they learn at the Leadership Institute.

Read more: Sen. Collins Joins Leaders to Forge Plans for Revitalization

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) has introduced legislation that will allow Illinoisans to continue to play the Quality of Life scratch-off lottery game after the end of 2012. The “Red Ribbon Cash” game has raised over $2.4 million for prevention education and treatment. If Senate Bill 2971 becomes law, it will continue to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS for five additional years.

“Four years after the legislature voted to fund organizations on the front lines of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, the number of new infections has decreased nationwide, but this devastating disease is still ravaging vulnerable communities, particularly minority women,” Sen. Collins said. “The proceeds from the Quality of Life scratch-off game are helping non-profits save and prolong lives in the populations with the highest risk and we should allow these groups to continue their vital work.”

Read more: Senator Jacqueline Collins Introduces Extension of Lottery Game to Fund Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Category: Press Releases

Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) and Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7th) will focus on National African American HIV Awareness Day at a press conference in an effort to pass Senate Bill 2971, which extends the sunset date for the Quality of Life Fund’s “Red Ribbon Cash” lottery ticket expiring December 31, 2012.  This new legislation extends the ticket sunset date to December 31, 2017. 

Enacted in 2007, the Quality of Life Fund’s Red Ribbon Cash lottery ticket funds HIV/AIDS prevention and care services for populations disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.  One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to organizations across the state of Illinois that provide services to those impacted. “Funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs is vitally important given the increasing prevalence and devastating nature of this disease in our communities,” said Collins, who sponsored the original legislation creating the ticket and is also sponsoring the extension.

The Quality of Life Fund is a self-generating revenue fund based on sales.  Last year the Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off game generated $1.4 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and care.  This year the lottery ticket will fund 14 community based organizations across the state.

“It is estimated that 46,000 Illinoisans are living with HIV/AIDS in the State of Illinois, and that every 9 and a half minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV,” said Representative Yarbrough, who is sponsoring the bill in the House.

Read more: Sen. Collins and Rep. Yarbrough Focus on National African American HIV Awareness Day

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) was pleased to hear Governor Quinn, in his State of the State Address, express his commitment to two priorities she shares: helping people stay in their homes, and protecting neighborhoods from falling home values caused by poorly-maintained vacant properties. Sen. Collins is the chief sponsor of legislation that would enable municipalities to hold lenders responsible for the upkeep of properties in foreclosure once the occupants have relocated.

“Despite some recovery in the housing market, property values remain low in many neighborhoods because of the prevalence of abandoned, unsafe, and poorly-maintained buildings,” Sen. Collins said. “I look forward to working with the governor, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and other state and community leaders to stop the cycle of home loss and falling home values.”

Read more: Sen. Collins urges follow-through on Quinn’s plan to alleviate housing crisis

Category: Press Releases

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