Dear neighbor,

To address the need for more testing and vaccines in our schools, I want to remind residents that Illinois, in partnership with Abbott Health and SHIELD Illinois, is providing 350,000 rapid antigen tests to the Chicago Public Schools. The best way to protect yourself is to wear your mask and get the vaccine. If you are looking to get your student vaccinated, you can find a vaccination site here

Sen Simmons’ Covid-19 Resources

KN95 Masks available:

  •   40th Ward Office, only by request: 2 per person:

      1. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PICK UP A MASK AT THE WARD OFFICE: Choose a time slot to pick up your mask from the office.

     2. IF YOU ARE A SENIOR OR DISABLED AND WOULD PREFER A MASK BE DELIVERED TO YOU:  DO NOT choose a time slot-- indicate this need below in the 'Further info' field and we will be in touch with you separately to coordinate a drop-off:

     3. IF YOU NEED TO VERIFY 40th WARD RESIDENCY: click on the link as we will be checking proof of residency upon distributing.

  • 48th Ward Office (5533 N. Broadway), M-F while supplies last, 1 per person

COVID-19 Testing Locations HERE.

Vaccine sites in the 7th District:
Please visit the website linked to each location for more information and call ahead of time to check vaccine availability and to set up appointment times for any vaccines HERE.

Get Free COVID-19 tests at-home:
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. You can order your tests HERE.

Second Pediatric Vaccine Clinic and Boosters Today!

Today at the Broadway Armory at 3 p.m., my office, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and Alderman Harry Osterman are hosting our second pediatric COVID-19 vaccine event in partnership with Genoa HealthCare and Heartland Health Centers. This event is the follow-up from our Jan. 7. clinic. You can make an appointment HERE. If slots are full, call my office to make an appointment.

Sen. Simmons’ Community Events

Thank you to the Vietnamese American Association of Chicago for inviting me to join you all as you celebrate your 45th year in facilitating service to thousands of Vietnamese Americans and other ethnic communities. As a proud son of a first-generation immigrant from Ethiopia, I am happy to support building community by assisting in removing barriers to access much-needed resources. Happy Lunar New Year to all!

Senators of Tomorrow!

 My office is excited to announce Senators of Tomorrow! We are inviting young people ages 9 - 18 to our office to learn about what the local government can do for them and for the community. Youth have the opportunity to learn how local government works and to advise on public policy issues including transportation, public safety, and more. You can Sign-up HERE!

Restoring Voting Rights for Incarcerated Citizens

Incarcerated citizens are not able to vote, but they are counted as a part of the population for the legislative district of their documented residential addresses. Restoring the right to vote for this population can help spur them on a path to becoming civically active and better prepared to successfully re-enter their communities. Stripping those who are incarcerated of the right to vote denies a fundamental democratic right and compounds the ill effects of mass incarceration. We have the opportunity to catalyze criminal justice reform. Please consider attending the upcoming community town hall below.

On Monday, Jan. 31 at 6:00 p.m., join my office and Rep. Lashawn Ford for a community town hall on Senate Bill 828: Voting in Prison. Register HERE.

Sen. Simmons in the news:

Sen. Simmons’ Resources for Constituents:

Rental Assistance Program
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services has extended the application deadline for its Rental Assistance Program and will continue to accept applications through Jan. 31. The program provides support to Chicagoans who are at risk of becoming homeless through eviction or who may become homeless soon due to loss of income or other eligible emergencies that may prevent them from paying rent. You are eligible for the program if:

  • You live in the city of Chicago.
  • You are at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction, loss of income or another emergency.
  • You economically classify as a low-income household.
  • Your landlord completes the program requirements.

Those interested can apply for the program online or call 311 to reach the homeless prevention center.

Resources on Racial Equity

The pursuit of racial healing and racial equity calls for more than one conversation. To help you plan your first, second or even your 10th conversation, the Illinois Department of Human Services has curated this list of resources to help shape healthy dialogue across Illinois. Visit these resources in any particular order HERE.

Mental Health First Responder Program

Rogers Park-based Trilogy rolled out its mental health emergency responder program this month. The First-response Alternative Crisis Team, or FACT, is part of a statewide program providing alternatives to calling 911 for those experiencing mental health issues.Trilogy’s team has set up its own crisis hotline people can call and request first responders trained in mental health services. The program responds to calls in Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown and West Ridge, as well as Evanston and Skokie.

The first responder service is available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. It will be scaled up to 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. daily, and then to 24/7 by the summer as Trilogy works to hire more mental health specialists.

The crisis response program can be reached at 800-FACT-400 (800-322-8400).

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is offering virtual training to learn about how you can combat hate and harassment. To learn more and see additional dates, please visit:www.advancingjustice-chicago.org/antihate

The Emergency Heating Repair Program provides qualified homeowners with a one-time grant to repair or replace their furnaces or boiler heating systems. The grants are available to owner-occupants of one-to-four unit residential buildings. Learn more about the program and eligibility on the DOH website link.

Charitable Trust has a system of grants that are available to help small nonprofits across Illinois. More information can be found in the links below.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with daily updates, follow Senator Simmons!

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,

To address the need for more testing and vaccines in our schools, the State of Illinois in partnership with Abbott Health and SHIELD Illinois, is providing 350,000 rapid antigen tests to the Chicago Public Schools. The best way to protect yourself is to wear your mask and get the vaccine. If you are looking to get your student vaccinated, you can find a vaccination site here

This is a longer newsletter, but I wanted to make sure that you have access to all the resources and relief programs available.

In this newsletter, you will find:

  • COVID-19 Toolkit to get tested and vaccinated in the 7th District
  • Upcoming Events
  • Sen. Simmons in the News
  • Sen. Simmons community resources (rental help, food pantry hours and water assistance)

Scroll to read more.

Sen Simmons’ Covid-19 Toolkit

              KN95 Masks available:

  •  40th ward Office, only by request: 2 per person, Https://bit.ly/K95Request
  • 48th ward Office, M-F while supplies last, 1 per person

COVID-19 Testing Locations HERE.

Vaccine sites in the 7th District:
Vaccines offered as of Jan. 12 and are subject to change at any time. Please visit the website linked to each location for more information and call ahead of time to check vaccine availability and to set up appointment times for any vaccines. For a  list of sites offering vaccines in the district click HERE.

Upcoming Townhall

On Monday, Jan. 31 at 6:00 p.m., join my office and Rep. La Shawn K. Ford for a community town hall on Senate Bill 828: Voting in Prison. Register HERE

 Sen. Simmons in the news:

Sen. Simmons’ Resources for Constituents:

Rental Assistance Program
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services has extended the application deadline for its Rental Assistance Program and will continue to accept applications through Jan. 31. The program provides support to Chicagoans who are at risk of becoming homeless through eviction or who may become homeless soon due to loss of income or other eligible emergencies that may prevent them from paying rent. You are eligible for the program if:

  • You live in the city of Chicago.
  • You are at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction, loss of income or another emergency.
  • You economically classify as a low-income household.
  • Your landlord completes the program requirements.
  • Those interested can apply for the program online or call 311 to reach the homeless prevention center.

Food Insecurity in the 7th District

Many of our families and neighbors in the 7th district have fallen on hard times, especially during these last few years. In parts of the 7th district, such as in parts of Rogers Park, West Ridge, Uptown, and Edgewater, one out of four and up to half of the families are food insecure. Access to food is a basic right, not a priviledge. If you or someone you know needs help finding out where to gain access to food, you can call our office and we will connect you with an organization ready to help. Your community is full of neighbors prepared to help those who need additional assistance. All of these pantries and their volunteers are here to help, serve clients, and maintain the clients' confidentiality. Please do not hesitate to call with any questions. Our office is a non-judgement zone and a safe space for all those in need.
 

Lakeview Pantry

I was grateful to spend MLK Day supporting Lakeview Pantry's Sheridan Market where my partner and I helped provide produce, meats, and canned goods to constituents. I encourage you to consider volunteering at one of the many terrific food pantries and social service agencies across the 7th District.

Volunteer Today at Lakeview Pantry 
You can volunteer at Lakeview Pantry by registering online. You will automatically recieve an orientation video and your personal site link where you can sign up for shifts. If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you would like to volunteer at another 7th District agency, give our office a call and we can connect you with a site that needs volunteers.

Care For Real Expanding Evening Hours

Care For Real, located at 5339. N. Sheridan Rd., now offers food distribution from 4-7 p.m. on Mondays. It used to offer the distribution in the mornings. The change went into effect this month. Learn more HERE. For residents in Rogers Park, a quick reminder that Care For Real also has a Rogers Park pop up site on Tuesdays from 12-2 p.m. at 1545 W. Morse.

$42 million in water assistance available

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recently announced the new $42 million Low-Income Household Water Assistance Plan, under the Help Illinois Families initiative, to help low-income families unable to pay water and sewer bills avoid shutoffs. Apply for assistance by visiting DCEO’s website or contacting the real-time assistance hotline service at 1-833-711-0374.

Volunteer help needed in the 40th ward!

Alderman Vasquez's office needs volunteers to help deliver K95 masks to our neighbors in need. If you are available and interested in being a part of either the K95 Driver Drop off Team or their Neighbor Network Precinct Partner program, please fill out the form so they can contact you.

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,

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

Summer Book Club

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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