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Dear Friends,

Summer is in full swing and the intensity of the pandemic is beginning to turn the corner – yet there’s no doubt some people are still struggling to make ends meet. I’m here to help. Keep reading to learn about financial assistance for rent and children as well as some updates on the upcoming school year and events.

You can also always get the latest by following me Facebook and Twitter, and as always you can reach out to my office at 773-278-2020 or on my website.


Cristina Pacione-Zayas, State Senator | 20th District

Last Chance to apply for Illinois Rental Payment Program


Sunday, July 18 is the last day to apply for the Illinois Rental Payment Program. ILRPP is an emergency rental assistance program designed to support households in Illinois that are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tenant-led portion of the application is now open. You could be eligible to receive up to $25,000 in rental assistance regardless of immigration status, and the grant is not considered a “public charge” benefit.

Get more information and fill out the application on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website.

Federal Child Tax Credit to hit bank accounts soon

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Starting Thursday, July 15, the IRS will start depositing payments into bank accounts of those who have children and filed taxes in 2019 and 2020. Payments will range from $2,000 to $3,600 per child, with half the payments coming in the form of automatic monthly deposits.

If you did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020, you are still eligible to receive these payments by utilizing the Non-Filer Sign Up. Those with ITINs are also eligible for these payments.

You can get more information on the Child Tax Credit at

Chicago Public Schools Virtual Academy for medically fragile students


While many students plan to return to school five days a week, we anticipate that a small subset of children will need to continue remote learning based on medical needs verified by a healthcare provider. To support these students, CPS is launching Virtual Academy: a central model of remote instruction.

Students who meet the medical fragility requirements and want to enroll in the virtual academy may apply by having a licensed medical provider submit the COVID-19 Health Eligibility form.

More information on the CPS’ Virtual Academy and how to apply can be found on the CPS website.

Events in the community

Make Summer Yours with Chicago Public Libraries: Kids and teens can register for the Start with Art drop-in programs through Chicago Public Libraries! Register online to get started right away or come into the library through August 22. LibraryProgram

Summer 2021 Lot Jams: Is music more your scene? The North River Commission is hosting a series of free outdoor concerts in Albany Park. Check out the dates below!

Lot Jams English scaled

August 14 Back-to-School vaccine clinic and Mercado: As kids return to school, getting vaccinated is the best way to keep students and their families safe. I, along with State Rep. Guzzardi and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses will be holding a summer fair offering vaccines and school supplies as well as food and activities. More event details here.

Category: Newsletters

Para leer en español, haz click aqui.

Dear Friend,

I hope you and your family are enjoying the first few weeks of summer!

Below, you’ll find a few important state service updates that might interest you, including information on how to apply for rental assistance, get a discount on internet services and protect yourself against identity theft.

My staff and I are ready to help you navigate these programs, as well as address any other questions or concerns you may have about issues facing our community. I encourage you to reach out to us at (773) 278-2020 or my website.

Stay cool!


Cristina Pacione-Zayas, State Senator | 20th District

Illinois Rental Payment Program open to renters

The Illinois Rental Payment Program offers up to $25,000 or 15 months of assistance to households in Illinois that are behind on rent due to pandemic-related job or wage losses. In order to qualify, tenants and housing providers must submit a joint application with proof of financial hardship as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic. The period for landlords to initiate an application is now closed, but renters can begin the application process starting Monday, June 28. Apply by July 18, and earn more at

Fee-based license suspensions and holds to be lifted July 1

Starting July 1, Illinois will no longer suspend a license for any ticket debt, fines or fees, including parking tickets, red-light camera tickets and abandoned vehicle fees. If your license is currently suspended or revoked due to a failure to pay a fee, it will be reinstated automatically for free by July 1. However, if there were multiple reasons for the hold on your record, your license may still be invalid—call the secretary of state’s hotline at 217-212-6212 to check.

Internet service discounts available for low-income families

More than 1.1 million Illinoisans lack access to at-home internet services, which can be a barrier to education and employment. To help close the digital divide, the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible low-income households, plus a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. Apply now at or call 833-511-0311.

Beware of texts, emails soliciting personal information

Over the last several weeks, people across Illinois and the country have reported an uptick in scammers claiming to be from state agencies to steal personal information. Protect yourself from fraud: Never give out your Social Security number or banking information via text or email, and don’t click links contained in suspicious messages. If you have questions about phishing scams or identity theft, call the Illinois Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at 800-386-5438 or visit

Three major rating agencies upgrade Illinois’ financial outlook

Recently, Fitch Ratings became the third rating agency to bump up Illinois’ credit, promoting our state’s outlook on Illinois’ General Obligation bonds from negative to positive. Another major credit rating agency, Moody’s Investor Services, also changed Illinois’ rating to positive. Over the past few years, we’ve been working hard to repay outstanding loans and drive down the bill backlog—even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we passed two balanced budgets and stuck to the path of fiscal responsibility. I’m proud to announce these efforts are paying off. Read more about what this means for Illinois.

Chicago Early Learning - Enrollment Outreach and Recruitment

Children First Fund - in partnership with Chicago Public School’s Office of Early Childhood Education (OECE) - seeks to partner with community-serving organizations in Chicago interested in promoting enrollment in Chicago Early Learning (CEL) programs across their community and supporting families in the application process. Applicants should be rooted in one of the 26 target communities, identified on page three of the application, which have had historically low rates of enrollment in CPS early childhood programs.

Interested organizations across multiple sectors (health, social service, food pantries, mutual aid, etc.) are invited to apply for funds up to $16,000 to implement innovative, community-level strategies to increase applications to CEL programs in their communities. For more information on the opportunity and a link to the application, click here.

COVID-19 Funeral Assitance

FEMA is amending the agency’s COVID-19 funeral assistance policy to assist with COVID-19 related fatalities that occurred in the early months of the pandemic. Individuals who would like to apply for assistance should call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline toll free, at 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday - Friday. More information on COVID-19 Funeral Assistance can be found here.

Category: Newsletters

Querido vecino,

Espero que usted y su familia estén disfrutando de las primeras semanas del verano.

A continuación, encontrará algunas actualizaciones importantes de los servicios estatales que podrían interesarle, incluyendo información sobre cómo solicitar asistencia para el alquiler, obtener un descuento en los servicios de Internet y protegerse contra el robo de identidad.

Mi personal y yo estamos dispuestos a ayudarle a navegar por estos programas, así como responder a cualquier otra pregunta o preocupación que pueda tener sobre los problemas que enfrenta nuestra comunidad. Le animo a ponerse en contacto con nosotros llamando al (773) 278-2020 o visitando mi página web.

¡Mantengase al fresco!


Cristina Pacione-Zayas, State Senator, 20th District


Program de Pagos De Alquiler de Illinois Abierto

A partir del 1 de julio de 2021, Illinois ya no suspenderá las licencias  de conducir por cualquier deuda de multas o cuotas.

Descuento En el Servicio de Internet para familias con bajos ingresos.

Tenga cuidado con los mensajes de texto y los correos electronicos que solicitan información personal.

Tres grandes agencias de calificación crediticia mejoran las perspectivas financieras de Illinois.

Aprendizaje a Temprana Edad -  Campaña de Inscripción y Reclutamiento en Chicago

Asistencia para gastos fúnebres por COVID-19

Category: Newsletters

Para leer en español, haz click aqui.

Dear Friend,

I’m excited to announce Illinois has entered Phase 5 of our Restore Illinois recovery plan, meaning all capacity limits have been lifted. We have officially entered our new normal!

Here’s what Phase 5 will look like:

  • Businesses across all industries—including bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, live music venues, and indoor and outdoor recreational spaces—can return to full operations for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Festivals, conventions and other large events can resume.
  • Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by local business and workplace guidance.

Find the full list of Phase 5 guidelines here.

You can find a list of guidelines for the city of Chicago here.

Keep in mind: Under Phase 5, masks should still be worn in crowded, high-risk areas, like public transportation, congregate living facilities and health care settings. To protect those around them, unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask indoors and practice social distancing, and residents who are immunocompromised should consider wearing a mask in settings where others may not be fully vaccinated.

In short, getting vaccinated is your ticket to normalcy. It’s a safe, quick and easy way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the virus—and it’s available to all residents age 12 and older. Find a vaccination site near you and make an appointment today. Information on vaccine sites in Chicago can be found here.

Illinois has reached a test positivity rate of less than 2%, with more than half the population fully vaccinated, and hospitalization metrics have been on the decline since early May. These statistics are something to be proud of—Illinois could not have made such positive progress without the help of residents like you, who have masked up, social distanced and gotten vaccinated to protect your community. On behalf of the friends and neighbors you’ve kept safe: Thank you.

As we enter the final stage of our recovery, remember that my staff and I are here to help. For assistance with aid programs, state agencies, grant applications and more, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 773-278-2020 or reach out on my website here.

Let’s move forward into this new era, together.


Cristina Pacione-Zayas, State Senator | 20th District

Category: Newsletters

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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