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Dear neighbor,

Happy New Year! My office and I wrapped up 2021 with a strong commitment to meet you and bring government to the people. Since the last newsletter, we have seen spikes in positive COVID-19 cases, staffing shortages throughout our community, and families struggling to find help. I know that the last two weeks have been especially unpredictable. I wanted to be sure to share this COVID-19 relief toolkit to make sure that you have access to all of the resources and relief programs available. Please scroll to read more.

 

Sen. Simmons' COVID relief toolkit

 

Vaccine Clinic in District for Kids!

On Friday, at the Broadway Armory, my office, State Rep Kelly Cassidy, and Alderman Harry Osterman hosted a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine event with Genoa Healthcare. All children ages 5-11 received a vaccine. I'm excited to have wrapped up #ChildrenCarryOn with a clinic in the district!

 

What you need to know about the omicron variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has partnered with global public health and industry partners to learn more about the omicron variant.
Here are a few quick things to note:

          Q: How quickly does omicron spread?

          A: How easily omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects anyone with omicron infection to spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don't have symptoms.

          Q: Are vaccines effective against omicron?

          A:  Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

          Q: Is omicron more deadly than the delta variant?

          A: More data is needed to know if omicron infections, especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.

Get tested.

Is it a common cold, or is it omicron? A question that has crossed many of our minds after learning symptoms among the vaccinated is often quite mild. Because of omicron's quick transmission, it's important to know if you have it.

If you are experiencing any symptoms — which include runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, or a sore throat — or have been in contact with someone who has the virus, it is advised you get tested.

While rapid tests produce more immediate results, they aren't always accurate. Food and Drug Administration recently announced mutations aren't always able to be picked up by those tests. If you are able, consider getting a PCR test instead. While the results take longer, they are more accurate. To find a community-based PCR testing site near you, click here.

However, a rapid test is better than no test at all. If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, or you have even the mildest of symptoms, get the test that best fits your needs.

If you are looking to get vaccinated, you can find an appointment here: https://www.vaccines.gov/search/.

 

The City of Chicago now requires patrons of certain indoor spaces to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Get tested. Wear a mask indoors. Please, help us stop the spread.

Job Training and Economic Development

GreenCorps Job Training Program
Recruitment is now underway for Greencorps' 2022 program. Participants spent the last nine months in the paid training program and provided vital support for efforts to clean and green Chicago communities. The program has produced more than 600 graduates in its 27 years of existence and, in the last five years, has succeeded in placing about 80% of them in jobs. Industry partners host internships for the trainees, helping them acquire additional experience that can lead to permanent jobs. Interested candidates who want to apply should go to: https://greencorpschicago.org/apply/ or call 312-746-9777.

Chicago Recovery Plan Development Grants
The Chicago Recovery Plan Development Grants initiative seeks  applications who will seek to create projects with a strong local impact. Past projects in historically disinvested areas have built upon existing efforts, such as Mayor Lightfoot's INVEST South/West Initiative and community safety initiatives. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The first-round application deadline is Jan. 31, 2022, followed by a second-round application deadline of March 10, 2022. Applicants who are not prepared to apply for either round are encouraged to review all relevant materials and prepare to apply for a third application round in the summer. For more information on the Chicago Recovery Plan community development grant application, click HERE.

 

Sen. Simmons in the news:

 

Sen. Simmons' Community Updates:

Last Wednesday, I returned to Springfield to start the 2022 legislative session. Although I was in the Capitol, I still wrote back to constituents! I encourage you to write to my office and stay in touch all year long.

 

The Illinois Department of Human Services offers the Illinois Assistive Technology Program, which provides assistive technology to all Illinois residents of all ages with disabilties and/or health conditions- including family members, friends, and caregivers. Learn more HERE.

 

Starting last month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security stopped sending payments via KeyBank debit cards to unemployment insurance claimants. People who don't select direct deposit as their payment method will receive their benefits by paper check. All claimants are encouraged to select direct deposit as their payment method. Direct deposit is free, easy, fast, and can be updated at any time. For more information, visit ides.illinois.gov/payment.

 

The minimum wage in Illinois increased another dollar on Jan. 1-now set at $12 an hour. Employees with problems regarding the minimum wage can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor HERE or call 312-793-2800.

 

Illinois drivers will now have an additional three months to renew their licenses. Get the details at: https://www.ilsos.gov/.

 

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

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

 
Category: Newsletters
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dear neighbor,

 

I hope you, your family, and friends have a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season. I wanted to share an exciting overview of my 2021 year in review of service to the 7th District. I recorded a video to recap this year in a little over 2 minutes. Watch here: Sen. Simmons reflects on 2021 and looks forward to 2022.

 

Sen. Simmons 2021 Recap in 2-ish minutes!

 

My office and I have made it a top priority to meet you and bring government to the people. We attended over 60 block parties organized by block clubs throughout the District. We joined over 270 community events with constituents and lifted up voices from all across our district in the legislative process. We participated in over 372 meetings to discuss systemic inequities and how we can partner and support community led change. With this outreach, we were able to write a letter  and organize an effort to get the rental assistance program reopended, we organized a welcome drive and collected five pallets of items for our newest neighbors from Afghanistan, and we revamped constituent support through the launch of our texting program to communicate with 80,000 neighbors who need help getting resources such as unemployment asssitance, access to housing, and food assistance to name a few.

This year, I want to thank everyone for opening their arms and welcoming my staff team and I to your events and zooms this year. I am thankful for your warm invitations and the opportunity to build a co-governing office that works for the people who need it. As a long-time resident of the 7th District, I am so lucky and proud to represent a community that takes care of each other, fights for each other, and is one of the most diverse communities in the state.

 My office is working hard for you, and I want to encourage you to continue writing letters, sending emails, and calling us. I always appreciate hearing from you and your voice helps keep our democracy healthy. We are here for you.

Your neighbor,

State Senator Mike Simmons

 

 

Sen. Simmons' Community Updates:

 

Illinois Rental Payment Program Closes on January 9

Don't forget: the Illinois Rental Payment Program closes in less than a month. For future Illinois Rental Payment Program and mortgage assistance program information and updates, please visit https://illinoishousinghelp.org/. If you applied for rental assistance in previous cycles, you are still eligible to apply! Click here to find income limits for your county.

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, provides $42 million in shut-off avoidance for residents unable to pay their water and sewer bills. Residents in need of financial support can visit HERE for more information on how to apply for water and other assistance this season.

Other options to get vaxxed at home!

The Chicago Department of Public Health’s vaccine operations team announced their City’s At Home vaccination program. This has allowed for the City to expand their  At Home vaccination program to seven days a week from 8a.m. - 6:30 p.m. More information below.

Eligibility:
In-home vaccination is available to all Chicago households and anyone over the age of five. Up to 10 people can be vaccinated at a time, so Chicagoans can invite family, friends, or neighbors to their home to be vaccinated together.

Vaccine:
People can choose between the pediatric Pfizer (age 5-11), Pfizer (age 12 and older) and Johnson & Johnson (age 18 and older) vaccines. Those eligible for a booster can also request a booster dose of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Gift:
Each person who receives their primary vaccine doses through the City's At Home program is eligible to receive a $100 visa gift card, including children aged 5-11. Gift cards are not offered for booster dose appointments. All incentives for at-home appointments will be delivered by mail, not at the time of the appointment.

Hours:
Appointments are available seven days a week, Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

REGISTRATION:
Call (312) 746-4835 to make an appointment or register using chicago.gov/athome.

                                            In District Vaccine Clinic for Kids!

                                                         
                                                                                                      

   On Jan. 7 at the Broadway Armory at 3 p.m., my office, State Rep Kelly Cassidy, and Alderman Harry Osterman are hosting a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine event with Genoa Healthcare. All children ages 5-11 can get a vaccine. I’m excited to wrap up #ChildrenCarryOn with a clinic in the district!

  Sen. Simmons Holiday Hours:
My office at 5533 N. Broadway will be closed from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2. If you need to reach us for immediate assistance, please feel free to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our office line at 773-769-1717. We wish you the best and will see you in person again in 2022.

    

     Driver's license expiration dates have been extended

Illinois drivers will now have an additional three months to renew their licenses. Get the details at: https://www.ilsos.gov/.          

        

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

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

 
 
 
Category: Newsletters

Dear neighbor,

I hope that you, your family, and your friends are having a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season! As we continue to shop throughout December, remember to do your holiday shopping at small businesses and be kind to yourself and our neighbors. I wanted to share some exciting updates from the district and resources to support you in these times. Keep reading for more information.

Pediatric Vaccine Clinic Rescheduled!

On January 7 at the Broadway Armory at 3 pm, my office, State Rep Kelly Cassidy, and Alderman Harry Osterman are hosting a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine event with Genoa Healthcare. All children ages 5-11 can get a vaccine. I’m excited to wrap up #ChildrenCarryOn with a clinic in the district!

Remote Holiday hours

My office at 5533 N Broadway will be closed from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2.  If you need to reach us for immediate assistance, please feel free to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our office line at 773-769-1717. We wish you the best and will see you in person again in 2022.

Sen. Simmons' Community Updates:

A new food co-op in Rogers Park!

A food co-op is coming to the Rogers Park/West Ridge/Evanston area. Helping to make this dream a reality is something that many of us have been waiting for. Wild Onion Market is a community-owned, democratically run, full-service grocery store that will offer a values-based alternative to the traditional grocery store model — a place to shop for locally farmed and produced food. Wild Onion Market will keep dollars in our community, employ locally, and prioritize sustainability in food production and packaging. Learn more about the project, subscribe to email updates, and become an owner at wildonionmarket.com.

A new water billing assistance program, the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, provides $42 million in shut-off avoidance for residents unable to pay their water and sewer bills. The new water billing assistance program builds on $327 million in emergency assistance launched earlier this year for low-income families facing difficulty with paying their utility bill and other essential household bills. Residents in need of financial support can visit www.helpillinoisfamilies.com for more information on how to apply for water and other assistance this season.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available. The utilities covered by the plan include heat, gas, and electric. You may call (877) 411-9276 to learn where you can apply.

NOW OPEN! The Illinois Rental Payment Program is open to assist renters & landlords impacted by COVID-19. Apply at illinoishousinghelp.org. If you applied in the past and didn’t receive the maximum of $25,000, you can still reapply. Please call my office with any questions. We are here for you. Check out my post HERE.

Sen. Simmons in the news

Sen. Simmons Out in the District

I would like to thank our panelists and all those who came to our virtual transportation town hall this past Wednesday, including Olatunji Oboi Reed, President and CEO of Equiticity, Madison Lisle from Warehouse Workers for Justice, Brian Urbaszewski from the Respiratory Health Association, Daniel Robles from the Illinois Environmental Council, Susan Mudd from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Kyle Whitehead from the Active Transportation Alliance. We had a thorough discussion on equity in future transportation policy and the electrification of public transit.

Did you miss the town hall? You can watch the full Facebook live video at https://fb.watch/9PwQQLSY_A/

I want you all to meet one of the future State Senators of Illinois, Oliver. Oliver and his mom live in Uptown. I was excited to welcome him to our district office. Oliver talked to me about the issues that are most important to him, such as transportation, equality, and public safety. I will be regularly hosting youth in the office to learn more about the state and incorporate their thoughts into our legislative work and community projects!

My staff attended the 14th annual Shop Jarvis Square market. We loved finding some of the best handmade gifts in Chicago right here in Rogers Park.

Friday morning we celebrated students and parents receiving their vaccines and boosters at Gale, Jordan and McCutcheon elementary schools. Everyone there was a superhero coming out bravely after receiving their vaccines, especially the healthcare workers helping administer them. I'm so proud of everyone that came out on Friday! I also want to give a special thank you to the artist of the stickers that we have been giving out to students, Georgie. Thank you for your work and for cheering on other kids as they got their vaccines! #ChildrenCarryOn

Congratulations to the students who received their second vaccine at Gale and Jordan! Way to go superheroes!

 Sen. Simmons Supports Shopping Local this Holiday Season

NorthCenter: Shop local and support small vendors! I picked up some last-minute gifts from the NorthCenter Holly Jolly Holiday Market! You can find the best gifts for your loved ones at our local retailers in District.

Lincoln Square: Last weekend, I visited the Weinhnachtsmarkt at the DANK HAUS and picked up some homemade Lincoln Square candles and cookies from Hillary's Cookies!

Edgewater: I visited the Holiday POP-UP Market organized by the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce and visited several of the small vendors such as Indelible Bliss Candle & Soap Co. They have some of the best products to pamper your friends and families.

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

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Dear neighbor,

I wanted to let you know about the upcoming round of rental assistance from the Illinois Housing Development Authority that opened today! Please keep reading for additional details and for additional resources and events to benefit you and your family.

Consistent with Illinois’ goal to reduce evictions, the Illinois Housing Development Authority opened a new round of rental assistance Monday, Dec.6. If you applied for rental assistance in previous cycles, you are still eligible to apply!

Pre-Eligibility Check 

  • You are either a renter in Illinois or a landlord with a tenant who lives in Illinois.
  • Your household (or your tenant’s household) experienced financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Your household (or your tenants’ household) is behind on rent and/or is at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Your (or your tenant’s) household income is at or below the limit for your county.

Click here to find the income limits for your county.

For future Illinois Rental Payment Program and mortgage assistance program information and updates, please visit illinoishousinghelp.org.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Citizens Utility Board are reminding residents to apply for $200 million remaining in utility assistance under Gov. JB Pritzker’s Help Illinois Families initiative – an expansion of the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program under the American Rescue Plan. 

Upcoming Events

Reminder to check out my Clean Transportation town hall on Wednesday Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. REGISTER HERE. We will be having a discussion centering equity in future transportation policy. Hope to see you there!

Lakeview residents, I am joining County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and other North Side elected officials for a virtual workshop on property tax appeals on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m. RSVP HERE.

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

Sincerely,

State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Covid-19 Resources

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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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