Latino Caucus Highlights Economic Assistance for Families

CHICAGO – Amid the announcement of a national emergency by the president and restaurant and bar on-site consumption closures by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, is highlighting unemployment benefits and other economic assistance available to working families:

“It is crucial that working families in our community, particularly Spanish-speaking and immigrant families, know that we are here for them during these tough times,” state Rep. Lisa Hernandez said. “We are coordinating with Gov. Pritzker and leaders at all levels of government to make sure families are fully informed about the available resources to help them overcome this public health crisis. And we look forward to ensuring testing is available to all Illinois residents, regardless of immigration status.”

In an effort to assist working families impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) adopted emergency rules that would allow individuals who have been temporarily laid off to qualify for benefits. Individuals would be considered actively seeking work as long as they are prepared to return to work as soon as their employer reopens. Individuals that are confined to their home due to illness or to care for a family member, must meet eligibility requirements such as registering with the state employment service and actively seeking work. For more information, please contact IDES at 1-800-244-5631 or visit www2.illinois.gov/ides.

Starting on March 17, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will work with schools statewide to provide two meals a day to children who qualify for free and reduced lunch and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will provide food to every child outside their nearest neighborhood school between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Additionally, a moratorium on shutoff was put out for utility companies. ComEd and Ameren announced they are suspending disconnects and waiving late-payment fees, as well as AT&T and Comcast. Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi.

Court-ordered evictions have been suspended in Cook County and Emergency Rental Assistance is available to Chicago families suffering financial hardship. For more information, local families can visit their local Community Service Center or call 3-1-1.

“Our state has taken critical first steps to prevent food insecurity and make sure families do not fear losing their homes,” state Rep. Delia Ramirez said. “The Latino Caucus is ready to get work to ensure resources are making their way to our communities and ensure proactive steps are taken to lessen the effects of the housing and employment crisis that will soon hit working families.