Foxx meeting 3Health insurance marketplace open enrollment ends March 31 – Get covered today!

March 31 is the last day of open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Illinois health insurance marketplace, Get Covered Illinois. Visit www.getcoveredillinois.gov to enroll online or to find a local event where you can receive assistance.

Need help with your utility bill?

ComEd has set aside $10 million to assist customers struggling to pay unusually high energy bills in 2014 due to the colder than usual winter weather.

Participants in ComEd’s Budget Billing program can arrange to pay a fixed amount each month, based on their energy usage during the previous year, and avoid spikes in their bill when the weather turns cold. The Flexible Deferred Payment Agreement Option allows customers with outstanding balances to establish deferred payment plans.

ComEd is also adjusting its eligibility requirements for financial assistance programs. Additionally, through April 1, customers who meet the income criteria for LIHEAP do not have to demonstrate any additional hardship in order to receive supplemental assistance through the Residential Special Hardship Program, which applies grants of up to $1,500 to unpaid electric bills. ComEd’s nonprofit assistance program, which typically provides one-time grants of up to $2,000 for 501(c)(3) organizations experiencing financial hardship, will extend this opportunity to organizations that have already received a grant, as long as the award was not in the past two years. Finally, eligibility requirements for the ComEd Helps Activated/Veteran Military Personnel program have temporarily been altered so that a veteran who has served for any length of time and has been honorably discharged may apply for up to $1,000 in bill payment assistance.

For more information about any of these programs, call 1-888-806-2273, visit www.comed.com/care or go to Fellowship Baptist Church (4543 S. Princeton Ave. in Chicago) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, to meet with a representative and apply for assistance in person.

Women Business Owners Symposium – March 27

UIC Forum
725 W. Roosevelt Rd.
8 a.m.—3 p.m. on Thursday, March 27
Use Parking Lot 5 (Morgan and Roosevelt) or 6 (Halsted and Roosevelt)
FREE admission and FREE on-site daycare (ages 1-8)
Resources exhibit hall
One-on-one counseling

Hear Marianne O’Brien Markowitz, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Beth Reese, President of Nicor Gas, discuss challenges and opportunities for women in business, as well as their own experiences.

Learn about
• The Affordable Care Act
• The “Buy Illinois” initiative
• Equal pay for women
• State and federally funded procurement opportunities
• Access to capital and wealth management
• Information technology and women in STEM fields
• Contract bidding opportunities for diverse suppliers

For more information or to register, visit www.ildeo.net/WBOS or call (312) 814-0007.

New leadership program for African-American professionals

In an effort to increase the number of educated, motivated African-Americans ready to take on leadership roles in the public, private and non-profit sectors, the Chicago Urban League and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business have launched IMPACT.

IMPACT is a nine-month training, mentoring and networking program designed for African-American professionals between the ages of 30 and 45. The program will run from September 2014 through May 2015. Participants must attend a day-long class one Friday per month. Participation is highly selective, and applications are due April 23. Visit theIMPACT website for more information and to download an application.

Grants available to eliminate the “digital divide”

The Eliminate the Digital Divide grant program supports organizations that seek to provide access to computers, other technology and training in disadvantaged communities. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website has more information about applying, as well as important eligibility criteria. The deadline for applications is this Friday, March 14.

Category: Press Releases

001collinsDear Neighbor,

The spring legislative session is in full swing, and the main topic of conversation is the looming state budget crisis. If the 2011 income tax increase is allowed to expire, pre-K through 12th grade public education could lose almost a billion dollars in state funding, 45,000 college students could lose access to financial aid and many social services could lose at least 14 percent of their funding, already sharply reduced during the past few budget cycles.

Lawmakers must undertake a thorough review of our tax structure so that we do not neglect funding of the core state services needed to combat generational poverty. I believe the answer is a “fair tax” that taxes the wealthy at a higher rate than the poor. I support the effort to allow voters to decide this November whether to allow different tax rates for different income levels, as do three-fourths of states with an individual income tax.

I also have introduced legislation to double the state Earned Income Tax Credit over the next five years. The EITC is a proven anti-poverty tool that kept 294,000 Illinois residents out of poverty between 2010 and 2012. Working families use their EITC checks primarily for necessities such as rent, groceries, school supplies and car repairs, thus putting money back into the economy — between $1.50 and $2 for every dollar the state spends on the tax credit. This supports local businesses and boosts employment.

I urge you to contact me with your thoughts and questions on this or any other legislation. As always, be sure to visit my website (www.SenatorJacquelineCollins.com) for the latest news. You may also call my office at (773) 224-2830 if I can be of assistance to you or your family.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline Y. Collins
State Senator, 16th Legislative District

Read more: March 2014 Newsletter

Category: Press Releases

CollinsFloorShot3SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) secured passage last week of legislation creating the Long-Term Services and Supports Disparities Task Force to examine whether, in the wake of nursing home reforms enacted four years ago, individuals experience differences in quality of care depending on race, language and geography. The task force will then issue recommendations as to how state government can best address all remaining disparities.

“Illinois is a diverse state, and our aging population is also diverse,” said Collins, who co-sponsored the 2010 nursing home reform package. “Without studying the problem, we cannot know if our long-term care facilities and workforce are prepared to offer appropriate, competent and culturally sensitive care to all of our residents who need it.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 2773, would require the task force to report back to the General Assembly with its findings by July 1, 2015. The panel, on which government agencies, nursing homes, home care providers and the advocate community will all be represented, would examine levels of care in various settings: nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care facilities and home health services.

The Senate approved the task force by a vote of 48-0 last Tuesday. The legislation is now under consideration in the House of Representatives.

Category: Press Releases

The Cook County Department of Planning and Development is now accepting applications for Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Solutions Grants. Municipalities, government agencies and non-profits are eligible.

Please click here for more information and to apply.

Category: Press Releases

Contact Info

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

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

eNewsletter

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.