Rental Assistance is Open

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ (IDHS) Housing Help program works with community-based agencies to provide emergency rental and utility assistance to eligible Illinois households impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Interested applicants should contact an agency listed here: https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org/providers

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office to help with your application.

 

If you are experiencing or will experience an eviction notice in the coming weeks, we are here to connect you to the resources you need.
 

 


 

 

Know Your Rights: Housing Virtual Webinar

 

 

You have rights as a tenant. Along with Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Alds. Harry Osterman and Maria Hadden, I'll be hosting a webinar to share information on those rights. Register here.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer can affect women, transgenderwomen, transgendermen, cisgender men, and nonbinary folks. It is very likely that we all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Each October, we can come together as one to help raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding regular mammogram exams, breast cancer, and breast cancer treatment.

 

This month my office is organizing breast cancer awareness and events to educate and connect residents, especially people who have been poorly served by the health care sector, to health resources in the district.

 

Medicaid Working Group

 

Over the past two months, I have been working with my colleagues in the Healthcare Expansion Working group to discuss public policy options that would allow more people in Illinois to access health care. We also are looking at how to better support residents and providers. Access to health care is critical. My goals on the working group are to identify ways to increase quality health care outcomes for residents, to focus on reducing the life expectancy gap for people living with chronic mental illness, and to improve overall affordability of care.

 

This session, I introduced Senate Bill 966, which would expand Medicaid eligibility to include households earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level. I am advocating for this legislation and for the people I represent in this working group. I will keep you updated as the meetings progress throughout the year.

 


Sen. Simmons meeting with the Healthcare Expansion Working Group

 

Senate Transportation Committee

 

Earlier this week, I participated in a hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee, of which I am a member. We discussed Senate Bill 1900, which creates the Public-Private Partnership Act, authorizing private entities to do all or part of the development, planning, design, construction, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, expansion, financing and operation of projects that serve a public purpose. It was a subject matter hearing only, meaning no vote took place. I will continue to monitor this legislation if it is further considered.

 

Local Farmer's Markets

 

Fall is here, which means our favorite local farmer's markets will be closing shop for the season within the next few weeks.

 

 

I am extremely supportive of locally grown produce. Relying on locally sourced fruits and vegetables helps boost our community's economy and helps fight pollution by creating less reliance on highly-pollutive factory farms. Be sure to swing by sometime in the next few weeks to shop locally and purchase fresh ingredients to make delicious meals for you and your loved ones! I will be at the Glenwood Sunday Farmers Market this weekend!

 

 

Out in the Community

 


I was incredibly honored to receive the IACCPHP Josephine Oblinger Legislator of the Year Award! Thank you to the Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers for their energy and drive to fight for our seniors and the people who care for them. I am proud to be an ally and stand alongside you. I will continue to fight the good fight for seniors!

 


Sen. Simmons on the Award Ceremony Call for IACCPHP the Josephine Oblinger Legislator of the Year Award

 


Sen. Simmons and Majority Leader Rep. Greg Harris visited the new Sarah’s Circle building in Uptown

 


Sen. Simmons Speaking at the Build Back Better Rally Downtown to Push for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Medicaid and Medicare Expansion

 

Upcoming Events

 

Chicago Pride Fest

 

 

Chicago Pride Fest is underway this weekend! Swing by Halsted Street from Addison to Grace in Northalsted for a weekend of live music, food and drink, arts and craft, and more! Chicago Pride Fest will be open Friday Oct. 1 from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., and Saturday Oct. 2 and Sunday Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. The festival will occur rain or shine, but be aware that inclement weather may result in the cancellation of some performances. Attendees are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to wear a mask if not. Free testing and vaccinations will be available at the festival, and some indoor locations may require proof of vaccination for admittance. More information can be found here.

 

47th Ward Shred-a-thon

 

 

AIDS Walk and Run

 

 

Register here.

 

Family Matters Walk and Roll-a-thon

 

 

Family Matters Chicago is hosting its 32nd Annual Walk & Roll-A-Thon, a much-anticipated event that brings together youth, families and the community in joyful celebration. It will take place Saturday, Oct. 2 from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at Willye B White Park.

 

Vaccination Event

 

 

On Oct. 12, The 48th Ward is hosting a flu and COVID-19 vaccine event in Jubilee Hall at St. Ita's Church, 5500 N. Broadway. Please bring an ID and health insurance card with you if you have them. No one will be turned away due to insurance or immigration status. Please register in advance here.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (773) 769-1717 if we can help you with anything.

 

Sincerely,


Sen. Mike Simmons


Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

The Right to Choose is under attack

 

Last week, I, along with nearly 900 state legislators from across the country, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States urging the Court to uphold the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide.

 

According to the ACLU, in 2021, 560 abortion bans were introduced in some form across the country. I was deeply upset to hear about one of the most troubling ones that made the news recently: a ban on all abortions after six weeks in Texas. This Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case from Mississippi challenging Roe v. Wade and threatening to end the right to choose as we know it.

 

An attack on reproductive rights is an attack on human rights. Women, trans-men and non-binary people who may become pregnant are at great risk of losing the right to bodily autonomy. I have joined other local elected officials in resisting and organizing efforts to renounce the Texas and Mississippi bans and to amplify the voices across our community saying we will not allow Roe v. Wade to be rolled back.

 

We are fortunate enough to live in a state that values the right to choose; however, we have one more critical task. We must repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires people under the age of 17 who are seeking abortion care to notify a parent, grandparent, step-parent they live with, or other legal guardian within 48 hours in advance of the procedure. The majority of young people who trust these figures in their lives will voluntarily inform them that they are seeking abortion care. But for young people who do not feel safe alerting an adult in their life, they are challenged with navigating the judicial bypass system. This system requires the person seeking care to take time away from school or other commitments, set an appointment with a judge, travel to a courthouse, and expose very personal information to get the care they need. Both the PNA requirement and the judicial bypass system hurt young people who are already forced to navigate systemic barriers in seeking abortion care.

 

That is why I am proud to be a chief co-sponsor of legislation that repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion Act. I will continue to confront systemic injustices like the PNA and fight for equity for women and young people in the 7th District and across the state and country.

 

 

Rental Assistance

 

We have to move quickly to stave off a wave of evictions and displacement. The U.S. Treasury Department announced last week that state and local officials had disbursed less than 17% of federal rental aid as of the end of August, up from 11% in July. We have an unprecedented amount of federal aid for rental assistance right now, and state officials must move these funds out the door as intended. As you may recall, earlier this summer I wrote a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker urging him to reopen the Illinois Rental Payment Program, which closed in July. I'm happy to announce that we have received word that plans are in the works to reopen the program in the next few weeks. We have not been given a specific date yet, but I am pleased to know that relief is coming soon to those who need it. I will provide you with updates as soon as they are announced.

 

Unemployment Insurance

 

Oct. 15 will mark the first payment period after the expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Nearly half-a-million people in our state - whose systemic struggles were only exacerbated by the pandemic - rely on this support to keep food on the table and the lights on.

 

The federal government has encouraged states to be creative with their American Rescue Plan Act funds to support our struggling families. We cannot grow complacent as our neighbors are held down by financial burdens when a solution is feasible and within our grasp. My office is following up with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to find ways Illinois can support residents who were reliant on PUA. My office will keep you updated with the latest information.

Out in the Community

 

Southeast Asia Center visit on MidAutumn Festival

 

 

During the 2021 Mid-Autumn festival, I met with leaders at the South-East Asia Center to talk about early childhood care and ways to support community based organizations. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all of those who celebrate! I was honored to celebrate and enjoy Mooncakes in the community!

 

Howard Brown Health Future Executive Program

 

 

I enjoyed speaking to participants of the Future Executives program at Howard Brown Health! I shared my leadership journey as a gay, Black man and shared examples from my career of how I became a better manager, navigated difficult work environments, and took care of myself.

 

Black Trans Lives Matters mural

 

 

I joined the Andersonville Chamber for the dedication of the Black Trans Lives mural by artist Molly Costello. I remember seeing this mural when it was being painted over the summer and it stopped me in my tracks. It represents so much and gives visibility to our Black trans siblings as well as a visual into all of the diversity in the 7th District. This is a community with “neighbors not watching each other, but truly seeing each other." We have so much to do to support our siblings. Thank you to Molly and to all of the community groups supporting and represented today. Check it out at 5340 N. Clark!

 

Seniors Legislative Council

 

 

I continued my series of People's Legislative Councils last week, this time meeting with seniors from across the 7th District. I want the voices of the people I represent to be at the center of my work as we collectively work together to shape a legislative agenda for the upcoming spring session.

 

Andersonville Homecoming

 

 

I celebrated Andersonville Homecoming over the weekend. We were lined up and down Clark Street for food, music, community, and celebration. It was a great way to honor one of our city's best communities!

 

Care for Real 50th Anniversary Block Party

 

 

I joined several local leaders at a block party to help celebrate Care for Real's 50th anniversary. Care for Real is an amazing organization in our community that provides food, clothing and support to struggling families. Here's to 50 more years!

 

Community Drive

 

 

My office is continuing our Welcome Kit drive with World Relief Chicago! Please feel free to come by any of our drop off locations and donate gently used items for our newest neighbors! The only item that must be new are bed sheets. The Welcome Kits lists are provided by World Relief Chicago. Call us with any questions!

 

Upcoming Events

 

AIDS Walk and Run

 

 

Register here.

 

Family Matters Walk and Roll-a-thon

 

 

Family Matters Chicago is hosting its 32nd Annual Walk & Roll-A-Thon, a much-anticipated event that brings together youth, families and the community in joyful celebration. It will take place Saturday, Oct. 2 from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at Willye B White Park.

 

Vaccination Event

 

 

The 48th Ward is hosting a flu and COVID-19 vaccine event in Jubilee Hall at St. Ita's Church, 5500 N. Broadway. Please bring an ID and health insurance card with you if you have them. No one will be turned away due to insurance or immigration status. Please register in advance here.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (773) 769-1717 if we can help you with anything.

 

Sincerely,


Sen. Mike Simmons


Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Climate change is happening live. In the 7th District, we see the effects of it in many ways, including on our eroding shoreline and invasive species in Lake Michigan. We also are living through unprecedented changes in weather patterns, storms, and months-long fires raging across the west. We are running out of time and need to make big changes to save our climate. As a chief co-sponsor of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), I support much of what was included in legislation passed out of the Senate earlier this week. I am happy to see Illinois is putting our state on a course to becoming free of fossil fuels by 2050. However, there are two points that led me to vote present on this legislation. First, the final bill did not have an aggressive enough timeline to phase out greenhouse gases. Second, the bill includes rate hikes on residents that will bail out Exelon for the second time in five years in order to keep nuclear plants open.

I wanted to brief you on the bill, my vote, and my fight against rate hikes for consumers, especially low-income people and seniors.

The Energy Transition Act puts our state on a path to phase out power generated by climate-damaging fossil fuels and puts the state on a path to 100% carbon-free energy by 2050, with goals of 40% of our energy coming from renewable sources by 2030 and half by 2040. All privately owned coal plants in the state would have to shut down by 2030. Natural gas plants will have until 2045. It also sets a timetable for carbon emission reduction at Prairie State, which is the 7th largest polluter in the country. The legislation creates a number of incentives and programs that will enable job creation in the renewable sector over the next several years, along with aiming to place 1 million electric cars and trucks on the road by 2030. These are all solid steps forward.

In recent months, however, many residents emailed and called to make two priorities clear:

  • We need real action on climate change to save our state and our planet
  • They did not want this to be accomplished by means of bailing out nuclear and other power plants

This bill will raise fees and rates for residents and will impact low-income families and seniors the most.

The bill achieves all of the above in tandem with keeping several nuclear plants open, which provide us a source of carbon-free energy in the interim as renewables begin to come online. But the bill will raise monthly electricity bills for residents across the state around $4 or more dollars per month, and potentially even more for local businesses. Right now, residents and mom-and-pop businesses are trying to weather a pandemic that has been unrelenting for them. Many residents are falling behind on rent and are already behind on their electric bills. Many of our neighborhood shops have shuttered or are barely making it. I know firsthand what it’s like to have your lights shut off or to forgo heat in the winter because of high electric bills, and I would have preferred that the bill used federal ARPA dollars or other sources to keep the nuclear plants live in a way that would not rely on higher charges for already vulnerable residents.

Nearly 25% of residents in parts of the 7th District live below the poverty line, which means they spend over 13% of their income solely on energy bills. These charges add up, especially during and after the financial hardships of the pandemic.

Rogers Park: 23.6% below
West Ridge: 17.2% below
Uptown: 24% below
Lincoln Square: 10.9% below

Exelon Rate Hikes On Residents

The money from the rate hikes will subsidize Exelon, the parent company of ComEd, to keep the nuclear plants open. I have grave concerns that Exelon will receive these subsidies given their track record of systemic public corruption in recent years. I also feel like it’s a fundamental question of equity and justice that we should not be providing corporate subsidies on the backs of low-income residents anymore, especially during a pandemic that has aggravated inequality across our state. We can’t keep doing things the same way they’ve always been done.

Due to the rate hikes on residents and the payouts to major energy companies, I simply could not vote in full support of this bill, knowing it would be on the backs of our low-income residents. I simply feel it is untenable to support a rate hike of this scale on lower-income folks and local businesses when past rate hikes simply have not yielded the results that were promised.

This bill is a long time coming, and I do want to thank all of you, many 7th District residents who reached out to me about what’s in today’s bill over the last several months. I also would like to thank all the environmental organizations, consumer protection groups, and labor organizations who worked for many months to get us to this week’s vote. As I said earlier, as a chief co-sponsor for CEJA, I support many of the components of this bill but simply cannot support a rate hike on residents and mom and pop businesses and giving another dollar to Exelon right now. I also look forward to continuing to work with Senators and environmental groups to accelerate the timeline to get us free of fossil fuels much sooner where we can because the science is very clear that we are nearly out of time.

Click below to watch a video recap of my remarks yesterday at the State Capitol where I discuss the legislation and my vote.

As always, I encourage you to reach out to my office at 773-769-1717 with any questions, concerns, or suggestions, or visit https://senatormikesimmons.com/.

See you out in the district soon!

Category: Newsletters

Dear Friend,

Back to School Events

After one of the most trying school years we’ve ever had, it’s important that we support education, especially students, so I participated in some back to school events around the 7th District. A lot of people could use a bit of help with information about the upcoming school year or school supplies, so that’s what we provided at these events. I want students and parents to know that my office is always a place they can turn to for support.

back to school 01

My office hosted an event with many community service organizations and resource
providers, where we were able to hand out school supplies to nearly 500 families.

Last week, I was joined by Ald. Harry Osterman, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and US Rep. Jan Schakowsky at Senn High School in Edgewater to hand out school supplies. Over 500 families attended and received items their students needed. My office also attended a Back to School Bash at Hayt Elementary in Edgewater, and we provided information to students, parents and community members. My office also donated backpacks to Uplift High School in Uptown, Budlong Elementary School in Lincoln Square, Mather High School in West Ridge, Jordan Elementary School in Rogers Park, and a variety of social service organizations in the 7th District.

back to school 02

My office hosted our own table with activity books, more information on the services we
provide, and snacks, games, and stickers for the students who stopped by.

back to school 03

Sen. Simmons hands out backpacks and supplies to kindergartners!

Donation Drives

Over the next few weeks, there will be some donation drives in the 7th District that you can participate in to help support our neighbors.

donation drive

Tomorrow, Sat. Sept. 4, there is a donation drive to help support resettled Afghan families, who left their country last month when the U.S. military was fully withdrawn.

donation drive2

The Chicago Therapy Collective is hosting an Essentials Drive to support Black and Brown LGTBQIA+ youth. My office, located at 5533 N. Broadway Avenue, is a donation location. You can come by Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to donate items.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (773) 769-1717 if we can help you with anything.

Sincerely,

simmons sig

Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Covid-19 Resources

Office Info

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1717

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
M115 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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