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Dear Friend,

There’s about one month left in our schedule for the spring legislative session, and my colleagues and I are hard at work negotiating a budget and passing legislation in Springfield.

March is also Women’s History Month, a time to honor women's contributions throughout history and to support those who continue to fight toward equal opportunity. Learn more about the progress women have made and the heroes who have made a lasting impact, especially BIPOC women who historically faced a unique set of challenges, here and here.

Read on for updates on the work I’ve been doing in Springfield and resources like emergency mortgage assistance, tax filing information and more.

As always, feel free reach out to my office for assistance by calling 773-278-2020, sending a text message to 773-207-7838, or sending us a note at www.senatorpacionezayas.com/contact-us.

Sincerely,

State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas | 20th District

Legislative Updates

Pacione-Zayas introduces resolution to affirm the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe

Last week, I joined members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to introduce a resolution urging Congress to recognize the illegal selling of the Shab-eh-nay reservation in 1849. The land of Chief Shab-eh-nay and his band was illegally sold, and recognition of this act of injustice by the federal government will begin to repair the harm and ensure the land is recognized as reserved for the Potawatomi people in northern Illinois. Read more.

In the news: How to solve Illinois' teacher shortage? Lawmakers push variety of ideas

From the story: “Solving the problem starts with framing it accurately,” said state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, who prefers the term ‘teacher vacancy.’

“The term ‘teacher shortage’ can simplify the root issues,” Pacione-Zayas said. “There are still many qualified educators in the state, but a lot of them have been pushed away by what she described as a lack of respect for their profession.” Read the full story here.

Resources for you

The Illinois Emergency Homeowner Assistance Fund application is opening soon

Apply for up to $30,000 in emergency mortgage assistance paid directly to your mortgage servicer. Applications will open in April.  

Alongside other community leaders, I will be holding a pre-application assistance event this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by 3458 N Cicero Ave. to meet with housing counselors, check your eligibility, and get what you need to apply when the application opens in April.

File your taxes before April 18

The deadline to file 2021 taxes with the IRS is Monday, April 18. If you still need assistance filing your taxes, the IRS Volunteer Income tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offers assistance to individuals who earn $58,000 a year or less, people aged 60 or older, people living with a disability and taxpayers with limited English-speaking skills.

Chicago residents can get free tax help through Tax Prep Chicago, who is partnering with Ladder Up, to offer in-person and drop-off tax assistance. Learn more at www.TaxPrepChicago.org

Check if you’re eligible for an education expense tax credit

Visit the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website for information on the Education Expense Credit. If you were a parent of a K-12 student during the 2020-2021 school and spent more than $250 on qualified educational expenses, you may be eligible for a tax credit.

Illinois Department of Human Services offers GATA App for grant application support

The GATA App is a technical assistance and support application that intuitively guides grant-seeking organizations and community partners through every step of the pre-qualification and pre-award process to become GATA prequalified. Learn more on the IDHS website.

Cook County Justice Advisory Council grants now open

The Cook County Justice Advisory Council awards grants in the areas of Violence Prevention, Services for Returning Residents, Recidivism Reduction, Restorative Justice, as well as other areas of need. Applications are due May 9, but you can learn more and get started now at https://www.cookcountyil.gov/JACGrants.

Aspiring Black CPA Scholarship program accepting applications

These national scholarships, ranging from $500 to $5,000 each, will provide immediate financial support for accounting students or professionals pursuing the CPA credential. Apply by May 1, and learn more here

Join the 20th District Environmental Roundtable

Passionate about environmental and energy issues at the state level? Consider joining our Environmental Roundtable so we can organize the knowledge and lived experiences of our community. The Policy Roundtables are vital to ensuring people power in the 20th District. For more information on our Roundtables please click here.

Sign up to join here.

Upcoming Events

Hermosa Neighborhood Association hosting Renter’s Rights and First Time Homebuyer seminars

Both events will take place at the Kelvyn Park Field House at 4438 West Wrightwood and on Zoom on Saturday, March 19. The Renter’s Rights session is from 10-11 a.m. and the First Time Homebuyer session is from 11 a.m. – noon. Register and learn more here.

National Conference of Puerto Rican Women “Feel the Power” event

State Rep. Delia Ramirez and I will be speaking at the Chicago chapter of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women 3rd Annual Feel the Power event on Sunday, March 20 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Nellie’s Restaurant, 2458 W. Division St. Reserve your spot here.

Monthly Virtual Town Hall on March 21

It’s that time again! I will be holding my monthly virtual town hall on Monday, March 21 from 6-7 p.m. The town hall will cover an update on the spring legislative session and feature various guests from community organizations to discuss domestic violence resources and prevention. Tune in on my Facebook page or register on Zoom for simultaneous Spanish translation.

Save the date: Paper shredding and recycling event on April 9

Come out to Avondale-Logandale Elementary at 3212 W. George St. on April 9 from 9 a.m. – noon to shred personal documents, recycle old electronics and safely dispose of any unused prescription drugs.

ICYMI: Last month’s virtual town hall

Couldn’t tune in to February’s town hall? Videos in both English and Spanish are available on my website to catch up on what you missed.

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
 
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020