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Holmes calls for justice for unemployment scam victims

Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 12:38 PM

holmes chair2 022520AURORA – Nationwide, scammers are targeting those receiving unemployment benefits at this difficult economic time exacerbated by to the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) warns area residents who haven't applied for unemployment benefits but receive a debit card claiming to provide benefits that they could be the target of a scam.

“It’s shocking in the midst of these crises to learn scammers are targeting vulnerable residents and their unemployment benefits,” Holmes said. “To bring scammers to justice, IDES is aggressively pursuing fraudsters filing false claims.”

Recently, individuals began receiving KeyBank debit cards and unemployment letters in the mail, without having applied for benefits. IDES warns that people who received these erroneous mailings may be targets of fraud.

IDES launched an investigation into what appears to be a nationwide fraud scheme targeting applicants to the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. IDES said ambiguous federal guidelines—developed hastily to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic—leave PUA claimants open to attack. IDES maintains this scheme is not connected to the PUA program access issue experienced in May.

An IDES team is working directly with individuals whose identities are being used or have possibly been stolen. The department is also working with local and federal law enforcement authorities to pursue and prosecute those committing fraud.

“If you have received a debit card in the mail without applying for benefits, you should not activate them,” Holmes said. “IDES urges you to call them immediately at 1-800-814-0513 to report identity theft. 

Online, you can use the IDES Contact Form. On the drop down, select the option, “UI Fraud/Identity Theft". Complete the required fields and DO NOT include social security numbers or other personal identifiable information in the comment section. Be sure to include an email address so that you will receive an autoreply providing important information and steps you can take while you wait to hear back from them. 

Victims of fraud should also check their credit reports for possible suspicious activity, post a fraud alert and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.

Bush announces much-needed repairs to Joppa Avenue

Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 12:00 PM

road const 080520ZION — The unsafe alley between the 2100 and 2500 blocks of Joppa Avenue in Zion will be repaired after the city received nearly a million dollars in state grants, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) announced Wednesday. 

“Ambulances, police and other first responders have struggled to access this alleyway for years, and this reconstruction project will now allow first responders to best serve Zion residents who live in the area,” Bush said. “Working together with Mayor Billy McKinney and the city council, we were able to identify and fund much-needed project.”

The Joppa Avenue alley has deteriorated to the extent it’s no longer accessible to emergency vehicles, such as police and fire, resulting in families in the area not receiving the help they need in a timely matter. The city will resurface the alley and replace storm drains, so stormwater stops collecting. The $914,000 worth of repairs is coming from the Build Illinois Bond Fund.

“Zion’s partnership with State Senator Bush and Representative Mason has put the city at the top of the list for state investments, and we appreciate their hard work,” McKinney said. “I have traveled to Springfield frequently since I have been elected and continue to be in regular communication with our outstanding legislators.”

Other Zion-based projects for Fiscal Year 2021 include: 

  • $750,000 for costs associated with a grant to Zion School District 126 for costs associated with improvements for Zion Benton Township High School.
  • $550,000 for a grant to Northpoint Resources for costs associated with renovations to the North Pointe Group Homes in Zion.
  • $100,000 for a grant to the Safe Place in Zion for costs associated with infrastructure improvements, including security system and upgrades.
  • $195 million for critical infrastructure projects in Lake County, including $122 million for regional stormwater management projects to reduce flood damages and restore and enhance the natural drainage system in Zion and other communities. 

Stadelman highlights new mental health programs

Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 10:06 AM

stadelman 030920ROCKFORD — State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is highlighting the Illinois Department of Human Services’ new mental health programs to help people who need additional resources for crisis support, housing and community care during their times of need.

“As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, now more than ever, it’s important to provide people with help they need,” Stadelman said. “These new and innovative programs will help people get the help they need.”

IDHS announced three new mental health programs Monday to provide additional support for Illinoisans. The agency worked with community mental health centers and non-traditional service providers to develop capacity and to deliver clinical services and non-traditional supports.

A new program called the Living Room Program is designed specifically for people in need of a crisis relief program to break the cycle of psychiatric hospitalization. It provides a safe and welcoming atmosphere where individuals can process an event while learning how to avoid a future crisis.

The Transitional Living Centers Program is a housing resource for people who have mental illnesses and who are in need of an immediate place to stay while they work to find permanent housing.

Additionally, the Transitional Community Care and Support Programs are for people who are currently in IDHS State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals and preparing to be discharged. It will include funding for non-traditional supports, such as cell phones, food, clothing, transportation, and other resources that are necessary for individuals to succeed as they transition back into communities.

Individuals seeking help from the Living Room Program may seek help directly or be referred by first responders or medical professionals. Participants of the other two programs will be referred by IDHS and other providers.

For more information and to find additional mental health resources, click here.

Belt supports new IDHS mental health programs

Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 09:59 AM

belt 030520EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) applauds the Illinois Department of Human Services for creating three new mental health programs for Illinoisans in need of help during a challenging time. 

“The COVID-19 virus has not only hurt people’s physical health — it has also diminished the mental health of many,” Belt said. “Providing residents with mental health resources will support them during the overwhelming stress of the pandemic.” 

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced the new mental health programs Monday to provide additional support for Illinoisans. The agency worked with community mental health centers and non-traditional service providers to develop capacity and to deliver clinical services and non-traditional supports. 

The first new program — pegged as the Living Room Program — is designed specifically for those in need of a crisis respite program to divert crises and break the cycle of psychiatric hospitalization. It provides a safe, inviting, home-like atmosphere where people can calmly process a crisis event while learning how to avoid a future crisis. 

The Transitional Living Centers Program is a housing resource for people who have mental illnesses and who are in need of an immediate place to stay while they work to find permanent housing. 

Additionally, the Transitional Community Care and Support Programs are for people who are currently in IDHS State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals and preparing to be discharged. It will include funding for non-traditional supports, such as cell phones, food, clothing, transportation, and other resources that are necessary for individuals to succeed as they transition back into communities. 

Individuals seeking help from the Living Room Program may seek help directly or be referred by first responders or medical professionals. Participants of the other two programs will be referred by IDHS and other providers.

For more information and to find additional mental health resources, click here.

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