Dear friends,

In these uncertain times, we all have a lot of questions. As your lawmaker, one of my most important jobs is providing you with useful, accurate information. 

I wanted to take a moment to share information on recently expanded childcare programs and what’s available for rent and mortgage assistance. Finally, there’s also a reminder we are all dealing with a lot of stress and it can take its toll. There’s a number below and additional information should you need it.

Together, we will come out of this situation stronger than before. 

Child care assistance

Essential workers in Illinois are now eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program.

The expansion includes nurses and doctors, supporting staff in hospitals, grocery store clerks and food producers. Most expenses of emergency childcare centers and homes will be covered. Emergency childcare centers will receive additional reimbursement rates above their usual pay rate. 

Childcare centers interested in re-opening as emergency child centers are able to apply for a permit through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. To apply, click here.

Home childcare providers do not need a permit and can serve up to six children.

For more information on assistance available at the Department of Human Services visit: DHS.illinois.gov/helpishere and coronavirus.illinois.gov

Rent and debt resources

If you are experiencing problems with paying your rent or mortgage, or have other debt issues as a result of COVID-19, please continue reading, as this newsletter may be helpful to you and understanding your rights.

Many landlords are understanding, so I encourage you to contact your landlord first, if you haven’t already. However, here are some resources that could help, if you and your landlord can’t reach an agreement.

  • The state has put a moratorium on evictions (as well as utility disconnections) while Illinois’ Stay at Home Order is in place, which is currently set through April 30. However, you are still responsible for paying your rent and bills.
  • Debt collectors are not allowed to visit you in person during this time. They can still call, however.
  • Some local agencies are providing assistance to those who are struggling to pay rent. You are encouraged to contact your local homelessness prevention provider. They may be able to help bridge the gap if you need assistance to avoid homelessness or eviction.
  • To learn more about unemployment compensation, visit the Department of Employment Security’s website. It is experiencing heavier than usual traffic right now, so if it’s down when you try to visit, check back later.

 

Managing mental health

Many Illinoisans have spent weeks self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak, and some are now feeling more stress and worry due to the constant unknown and lack of social interaction.

The West Suburban Cook County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health offers specialized resources for individuals who may need assistance through a crisis line. The number for the line is available 24 hours, seven days a week and can be reached at 708-524-2582. The hotline can direct you to a comprehensive suicide hotline, suicide intervention and prevention, and over-the-phone counseling.

Harmon also encourages residents to take simple steps to care for themselves, such as:

    • Connecting with friends and family online,

    • Keeping regular work hours while at home,

    • Preparing healthy meals,

    • Exercising regularly, and

    • Staying up to date with accurate information.

 

As always, please reach out to my office with questions and concerns. My staff is working remotely, but we are still answering calls and emails—contact us by calling 708-848-2002 or by visiting www.donharmon.org.

Stay safe and healthy.


Sincerely, 

Senate President Don Harmon

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear friend,

The governor’s Stay at Home Order means that many of us are disconnected from our usual social circles. It’s important that we follow recommendations from state and federal health officials and stay home as much as possible.

However, there are many ways to feel more connected to your community while practicing social distancing—help out your neighbors safely by donating your dollars, time, or talent to COVID-19 relief efforts.

Here are some ways you can lend a (clean) hand:

Volunteer with Serve Illinois

Serve Illinois connects healthy volunteers with community service opportunities. During the COVID-19 outbreak, several civic and faith-based organizations, especially those organizations that focus on homelessness, meal delivery, and senior citizens, are in need of extra help. Find a statewide list of volunteer needs here.

 

Check on your family, friends, and neighbors


Seniors and immunocompromised individuals are at especially high risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. For many of them, simple errands—like going to the grocery store or the pharmacy—may put their lives in danger. Call, text, or video chat your friends and loved ones to ask how you can help. Even if they have everything they need, it could comfort them to hear a friendly voice.

Give blood


Social distancing measures have resulted in the cancellation of many blood drives in the state, but a blood shortage would only worsen the health care crisis we are facing right now. The American Red Cross is looking for healthy, eligible individuals to donate blood. Sign up to donate or volunteer here.
 

Assist your local food bank


With schools closed and many Illinoisans out of work, some households are running low on food. That’s why local food pantries are especially important right now. Whether you’re in need of assistance or you’d like to donate, use this online locator to find your nearest food bank.

Donate supplies to first responders


Health care workers across Illinois are in need of personal protective equipment, or PPE. If you or your business would like to donate unopened, factory-made masks, gowns, gloves, or other protective gear, contact Serve Illinois here. Note: The state is not accepting homemade supplies, but your local first responders might be able to use these items—contact them directly for more information.

 

Do what you can to help others in little ways, too.

  • Make sure everyone has access to basic necessities by buying only what you need—no need to hoard.
  • Order delivery from local restaurants or buy a gift card from your favorite boutique to keep small businesses afloat.
  • Complete the census online or by mail to ensure our communities receive the funding they need.
  • Stay home as much as possible to protect others from the spread of coronavirus.

During these challenging times, we must remember to stick together. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean complete isolation—there are safe ways to remain active in your community, even from home.

As always, please reach out to my office with questions and concerns. My staff is working remotely, but we are still answering calls and emails—contact us by calling (708) 848-2002 or visiting www.donharmon.org.
 

Stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

 

Senate President Don Harmon

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear friends,

Over the past few days, Governor Pritzker has been offering daily updates and guidelines on some of the measures recommended to ensure minimal spreading of the coronavirus.


While the coronavirus is changing how we go about our daily lives, it’s important to remain calm and to take proper precautions. Right now, the best possible thing you can do to help is to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to venture out. Regardless of your health or age, it is vital that we take this recommendation seriously, as preventing further spread of the disease is the key to keeping you, your family, and our community healthy.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind:

  • The Illinois State Board of Education is working to provide meals every day to all students, no questions asked. 
  • All bars and restaurants are closed as of Monday, March 16 at 9 p.m. Restaurants will have take-out, drive-thru and delivery options still available.
  • All gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited starting Wednesday, March 18. Grocery stores, pharmacies and medical facilities are exempt. However, fitness clubs, theaters, religious services, and bowling alleys are included.
  • To provide some relief to local eateries during the coming weeks, Grubhub is suspending commissions and Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees on orders from independent restaurants. Some larger restaurants are offering free delivery. Many delivery services have introduced no- or low-contact delivery options.
  • Ameren and ComEd are suspending any disconnections and waiving late payment fees. Other major utility companies, like People’s Gas and Nicor, are suspending disconnections as well.
  • The Attorney General’s Office will work to impose a moratorium on utilities shut-offs in the immediate term.
  • AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and others are preserving telecom services.
  • The Illinois Department of Employment Security is allowing workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to apply for unemployment.
  • All Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities are closed to the public through March 31. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards, vehicle registration and other transactions will be extended by 30 days. More information and some services are available online.
  • The Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • In order to apply for an emergency injury disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration, Illinois needs data from businesses across the state. If your business has been affected by COVID-19, please complete this online survey.
  • The Illinois Attorney General’s office encourages residents to file a complaint if they notice price gouging on essential items related to the coronavirus outbreak, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products and protective gear.

 
Our state’s governmental and economic leaders are stepping up to do their part in helping our people during this immensely difficult time. They know as well as I do that now, more than ever, it’s vital that we watch out for one another.

Continue to check the llinois Department of Public Health’s website for daily updates.

Sincerely,

Senate President Don Harmon 

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear Friend,

I know the ongoing coronavirus public health situation has caused tremendous upheaval in our lives and communities, either through the closure of schools, cancelation of travel and activities, adjustments to normal routines and above all, concern for loved ones and neighbors.

As you may know by now, the Illinois General Assembly has canceled its session days for next week, in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

My local Oak Park office is here to help.

For those who are minimizing travel and are limiting unnecessary contact with others do not hesitate to contact our office by sending me an email here or giving us a call at 708-848-2002.

Above all, I urge you not to panic. The State of Illinois is prepared to handle the developing situation, and I'm confident our officials will do their best to keep citizens safe.

Sincerely,

Senate President Don Harmon

What is coronavirus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. Most of the time, they aren't much different from a cold or flu virus— coronavirus symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and usually only last for a short amount of time. There are no specific treatments for coronavirus, but to relieve symptoms, patients are instructed to take pain and fever medications, drink plenty of liquids, and stay home and rest.

What’s the status of coronavirus in Illinois?

Currently, the number of coronavirus cases in the state remains low, but it continues to climb. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has posted coronavirus case totals and test results on its website, updated daily.

Is Illinois prepared to handle a potential outbreak?

Illinois health officials have acted swiftly to contain the virus, and they are prepared for the future. Illinois was the first state to provide coronavirus testing, and hospitals and health providers across the region are already expanding their surveillance efforts by offering patients with flu-like symptoms the option to be tested for the virus. IDPH has outfitted two additional labs in central and southern Illinois to handle the extra testing load.

On March 9, Gov. Pritzker issued a statewide Disaster Proclamation, which will allow Illinois to receive federal resources and support to advance preparation and planning. This declaration will build on the state's strong response to the outbreak.

How do I know if my family and I are at risk?

Public health officials will reach out to individuals who may have been exposed. They are actively monitoring the situation and will update the public in the event that certain measures— like school and business closures— are necessary.

How does coronavirus spread?

According to the CDC, coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person. Act the same way you would act if you had the flu— if you think you may be sick, keep your distance from other people and always cover your coughs and sneezes.

How can I stay healthy?

The IDPH and the CDC have issued recommendations to help people avoid coming down with coronavirus. Keep in mind: These tips are helpful for avoiding any virus, including the flu and the common cold!

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If I get sick, will insurance cover my care?

If you have questions regarding health insurance and HMO inquiries, please call the Illinois Department of Insurance at (877) 527-9431. If you have questions regarding Medicare beneficiaries and caregiver inquiries, please call CMS at (800) 548-9034.

With questions and concerns about coronavirus,

please call the IDPH 24/7 hotline at 1-800-889-3931
or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Category: E-Newsletters

OAK PARK – Senate President Don Harmon released the following statement today after President Joe Biden signed a historic investment in infrastructure:

“I look forward to the transformative projects Illinois will be able to begin as a result of this legislation. Every region of Illinois will benefit. We have the opportunity to modernize our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, improve public transportation, increase access to broadband Internet and further our commitment to green energy.”

###

Category: News

Contact Me

Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
327 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

Oak Park Office:
6941 W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
 

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