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Submitted by State Representative Robyn Gabel

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created extreme hardship for our families and our local communities, forcing small businesses to close and putting Illinoisans out of work. This legislative session was like unlike anything we have faced before, but it was very clear that we had to take action to support those battling this pandemic and provide necessary resources to keep our state’s critical services operating.

“We passed a responsible state budget that prioritizes the health and economic needs of all Illinoisans. This budget includes increased funding for Medicaid and unemployment, new funding for public health providers, full funding for our local schools, housing assistance and additional protections for programs that our families depend on.

“During this legislative session, we also worked to provide increased protections for essential workers and first responders in our community who risk their health and safety to keep our essential businesses and public services running. To make sure everyone has the ability to participate in our election process in a safe and secure way, we worked to expand vote-by-mail options so that no one is kept away from participating in the upcoming election.

“Our efforts were focused on supporting those who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, making sure our essential services can continue operating uninterrupted and providing assistance for our state’s economic recovery. We will continue to face many uncertainties in the weeks and months ahead, and I’m committed to providing the necessary resources and support that our community depends on.”

…………………………….

“During the recent special session in Springfield, we were able to come together to pass a budget and address other urgent matters in response to this global pandemic that is devastating families, businesses, and health care systems. I am honored to have been able to fight for our values on behalf of our district during this unprecedented crisis.
 
“Since the pandemic has taken hold, the state’s sources of revenue from individual and corporate income taxes and retail sales taxes have dropped significantly, while the need for emergency assistance has grown. I made sure that this budget prioritizes the dire need for essential services and resources such as housing and healthcare for those who have been most affected, while also fully funding pension obligations.
 
  • SMALL BUSINESS: We allocated $600 million in grants for small businesses, which are the economic backbones of our communities. We created the Coronavirus Business Interruption Grant Program or BIG Program, which will be administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). If you have a business with 50 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in revenue, you can apply to receive a loan of up to $50,000.
  • HEALTHCARE: We passed protections for first responders, healthcare workers and other essential employees who have been exposed to the coronavirus through their job. We set aside additional support for hospitals battling COVID-19 in rural and low-income communities. We expanded Medicaid for permanent residents over age 65 and postpartum women for 12 months instead of 6 weeks to address maternal mortality, allocated $58 million in new funding for in-home healthcare for older adults, fully funded domestic violence shelters, and increased funds for mental health resources. We devoted $900 million for the Illinois Department of Public Health to respond to COVID-19 with testing and contact tracing programs.
  • HOUSING: The budget sets aside $500 million for assistance with rent, mortgage relief, utility assistance, and homelessness prevention. And, we unanimously passed a property tax relief package that suspends some late payments and allows some tax exemptions for seniors, veterans, and people living with disabilities to automatically renew.
  • EDUCATION: We took steps to make it easier for schools to provide virtual learning and for students to meet their graduation requirements, so that education can continue safely. The budget provides level funding for schools, more than half a billion dollars for early childhood education, and level funding for MAP grants for college students.
  • VOTING RIGHTS: We passed an initiative to make voting more accessible by proclaiming Election Day a state holiday, sending out applications for vote-by-mail ballots to anyone who has voted in the past two years or registered since the March primary election, offering curbside voting, and allowing clerks to expand early voting opportunities including special senior citizen voting hours. Traditional voting at polling places will still occur. I hope that you will join me in loudly exercising our precious right to vote on (or before) this November 3rd. 
  • COCKTAILS: Additionally, we passed a measure allowing the purchase of to-go cocktails from bars, taverns, and restaurants. It is effective upon the signature of the Governor, and is aimed to provide some hope to the hospitality industry, while adding another option to your festive occasions.
  • CASINO: We took steps forward on a long-anticipated Chicago casino that will serve as an added revenue source for Chicago pension payments as well as infrastructure programs.
 
“Even though we didn’t address every issue, we did pass some very critical initiatives designed to help those who are hurting most right now.
 
“As you may have heard in the news, most of our state is on track to move into “Phase 3” of the Governor’s reopening plan by Friday, May 29. Phase 3 includes reopening some public spaces, like parks, and some workplaces with added safeguards and limitations. We should continue wearing face coverings, social distancing, and careful hand washing. I plan to detail what Phase 3 means for us in the next newsletter but in the meantime, please read more about the plan here, stay tuned to daily briefings at 2:30 p.m, and you can find more information at coronavirus.illinois.gov. Please note that nearby Chicago will not be advancing to Phase 3 yet. ” 

I am heartbroken about the passing of Hecky Powell. He was beloved by our community, and will be sorely missed as a restaurateur, activist, mentor to young men and women, and all around great friend. His death was the result of COVID-19 complications.
 
Hecky founded the Evanston Work Ethic Program (WE Program), as part of the Forrest E Powell Foundation, to provide ETHS students with comprehensive, pre-professional career/tech preparation through mentors, workshops, counseling, and financial assistance. Please consider donating in his memory to support the WE Program here.

We apologize for any difficulties you may have had trying to reach us recently, but our office phone issues are now resolved. Please feel free to reach us at 847-424-5401 or staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.
 
We are all in this together. And I know that we can, and will, overcome this crisis, together. I continue to wish you and your loved ones health and peace at this time.
 
Best regards,

SNAP Recipients Can Buy Food Online
Starting June 2nd

Starting June 2, SNAP recipients or Link card holders will be able to purchase food from participating grocery retailers online. This marks a long overdue and much needed change by the federal government that will help so many families, especially during this time.
 
Any retailers interested in the program can find more information and apply here.

Restore, Reinvest and Renew Grant Program
Applications Now Open

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that was passed last year (and went into effect in January) set aside 25% of tax revenue collected by those sales to fund the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (or R3) grant program. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority has now opened up applicationsfor grants through the R3 program that aim to right the wrongs caused by the war on drugs.
 
Application materials with instructions on how to apply are available here.
 
The deadline for all applications is Monday, July 20. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority is offering technical assistance for their application process, found here. 

?Unemployment & the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program

I am heartbroken about the passing of Hecky Powell. He was beloved by our community, and will be sorely missed as a restaurateur, activist, mentor to young men and women, and all around great friend. His death was the result of COVID-19 complications.
 
Hecky founded the Evanston Work Ethic Program (WE Program), as part of the Forrest E Powell Foundation, to provide ETHS students with comprehensive, pre-professional career/tech preparation through mentors, workshops, counseling, and financial assistance. Please consider donating in his memory to support the WE Program here.

We apologize for any difficulties you may have had trying to reach us recently, but our office phone issues are now resolved. Please feel free to reach us at 847-424-5401 or staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.
 
We are all in this together. And I know that we can, and will, overcome this crisis, together. I continue to wish you and your loved ones health and peace at this time.
 
Best regards,

SNAP Recipients Can Buy Food Online
Starting June 2nd

Starting June 2, SNAP recipients or Link card holders will be able to purchase food from participating grocery retailers online. This marks a long overdue and much needed change by the federal government that will help so many families, especially during this time.
 
Any retailers interested in the program can find more information and apply here.

Restore, Reinvest and Renew Grant Program
Applications Now Open

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that was passed last year (and went into effect in January) set aside 25% of tax revenue collected by those sales to fund the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (or R3) grant program. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority has now opened up applicationsfor grants through the R3 program that aim to right the wrongs caused by the war on drugs.
 
Application materials with instructions on how to apply are available here.
 
The deadline for all applications is Monday, July 20. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority is offering technical assistance for their application process, found here. 

?Unemployment & the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program

I am heartbroken about the passing of Hecky Powell. He was beloved by our community, and will be sorely missed as a restaurateur, activist, mentor to young men and women, and all around great friend. His death was the result of COVID-19 complications.
 
Hecky founded the Evanston Work Ethic Program (WE Program), as part of the Forrest E Powell Foundation, to provide ETHS students with comprehensive, pre-professional career/tech preparation through mentors, workshops, counseling, and financial assistance. Please consider donating in his memory to support the WE Program here.

We apologize for any difficulties you may have had trying to reach us recently, but our office phone issues are now resolved. Please feel free to reach us at 847-424-5401 or staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.
 
We are all in this together. And I know that we can, and will, overcome this crisis, together. I continue to wish you and your loved ones health and peace at this time.
 
Best regards,

SNAP Recipients Can Buy Food Online
Starting June 2nd

Starting June 2, SNAP recipients or Link card holders will be able to purchase food from participating grocery retailers online. This marks a long overdue and much needed change by the federal government that will help so many families, especially during this time.
 
Any retailers interested in the program can find more information and apply here.

Restore, Reinvest and Renew Grant Program
Applications Now Open

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that was passed last year (and went into effect in January) set aside 25% of tax revenue collected by those sales to fund the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (or R3) grant program. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority has now opened up applicationsfor grants through the R3 program that aim to right the wrongs caused by the war on drugs.
 
Application materials with instructions on how to apply are available here.
 
The deadline for all applications is Monday, July 20. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority is offering technical assistance for their application process, found here. 

?Unemployment & the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program

If you are an employee who files 1099 or 1040 tax forms, such as independent contractors, gig economy workers, sole proprietors, and self-employed workers, you may now file for unemployment through the new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. This program will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, and can be backdated to the date of your COVID-19 related job loss, as far back as February 2, 2020.
 
My district office is also available to assist you at 847-424-5401 or by email: staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.

If you are an employee who files 1099 or 1040 tax forms, such as independent contractors, gig economy workers, sole proprietors, and self-employed workers, you may now file for unemployment through the new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. This program will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, and can be backdated to the date of your COVID-19 related job loss, as far back as February 2, 2020.
 
My district office is also available to assist you at 847-424-5401 or by email: staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.

If you are an employee who files 1099 or 1040 tax forms, such as independent contractors, gig economy workers, sole proprietors, and self-employed workers, you may now file for unemployment through the new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. This program will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, and can be backdated to the date of your COVID-19 related job loss, as far back as February 2, 2020.
 
My district office is also available to assist you at 847-424-5401 or by email: staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.

Assistance and Counseling for Small Businesses

Assistance and Counseling for Small Businesses

Assistance and Counseling for Small Businesses

Additional Resources and Information

Additional Resources and Information

Additional Resources and Information

Volunteering and Donations

Volunteering and Donations

Volunteering and Donations

If you are in the position to help out during this public health and economic crisis, no matter how small or big, thank you! There are a variety of ways to help a neighbor, even from the safety of your own home, without spending any money.
 
Here are some local ideas: