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Bennett, community leaders hold press conference to promote 2020 Census

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2020 03:02 PM

bennett census 091020CHAMPAIGN — With many households still uncounted, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana), State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Champaign-Urbana community leaders at a press conference this morning to encourage residents of Champaign County to complete the 2020 census.

“The census is quick and easy—it only takes a few moments to complete,” Bennett said. “The census determines the amount of federal funding and representation our communities receive. Champaign County is currently at risk of losing up to two congressional districts based on our current response rates.”

Across Champaign County, participation in the 2020 Census is lower than in the 2010 Census. Only 67.4% of residents have completed their census forms this year, as opposed to 70.4% of residents in 2010.  The group urges all residents to fill out their census forms it is the only way to accurately account for the entire county.

“It is crunch time. There are less than 30 days to make sure that every single person in the state is counted in the census,” Ammons said. “Funding and resources that our communities desperately need for the next ten years are on the line. So do your part. Get counted at my2020census.gov today!” 

Historically, the census has undercounted certain key constituencies—including young children, people of color, urban and rural low-income households—at disproportionately high rates.

Higher self-response rates means fewer individuals are likely to receive visits from census surveyors to be counted in person. This year, census surveyors are putting their and their families’ health at risk of COVID-19, and limiting visits may mean saving lives.

"It’s very important for the future of this county that the people complete their census forms," Rose said. 

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has staff dedicated to helping people through the census completion process. There are additional assistance hubs located at the University YMCA and the City of Urbana.

Residents can also complete the census for their household at my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020.

Senator Fine hopes to boost census response rates in hard-to-count areas of the North Shore

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2020 11:42 AM

family census 091020GLENVIEW – With the Census Bureau set to end its counting efforts a month earlier than scheduled, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is urging residents to fill out their census forms as soon as possible.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on our community, but your participation in the 2020 Census can help us recover,” said Fine. “The census is the best tool we have to protect after-school programs, health care services, food assistance and the other vital community resources we rely on.”

The census is safe, secure and confidential. It takes less than 10 minutes and can easily be done from the comfort of one’s home online, by phone or by mail. It determines congressional representation, helps determine how federal funds flow into states and provides information that will impact communities for the next decade.

Some areas of the North Shore are reporting low response rates. In parts of downtown Evanston, as little as 61.5% of residents have responded to the census. Without a 100% response rate, schools, roads, hospitals and other critical community services in these areas could be affected.

“If you have already filled out the census, thank you for doing your part to ensure a full and complete count,” said Fine. “Help us spread the word by calling a friend or neighbor to make sure they get counted, too.”

Residents can complete the census for their household at https://my2020census.gov.

Bush: $36 million to tackle opioid crisis is a great step, but more work needs to be done

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2020 11:19 AM

opioids 091020GRAYSLAKE – As a steadfast advocate for addressing the state’s growing opioid crisis and creator of the Prescription Drug Task Force, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is pleased to learn the state has been given $36 million to continue to fight the epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic is a serious and complicated issue that only continues to get worse,” Bush said. “These funds are a great step toward fighting the crisis, but there’s so much more work that needs to be done."

Illinois received $36.7 million in federal funding to fight the opioid crisis – specifically because of issues arising in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will expand prevention, treatment, recovery and overdose response initiatives across the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed vulnerable populations – especially those with opioid use disorders,” Bush said.

The programs receiving funding will bring critical services to help people with opioid use disorder, assist those on a path to recovery, provide emergency lifesaving medication for people experiencing an opioid overdose, and deliver a prevention and support message across the state.

Bush has worked to address Illinois’ growing opioid crisis since first entering the General Assembly. Most notably, she passed a package of proposals in 2018 that, among other things, created a pilot program to treat youth and young adults with substance use disorders and allowed law enforcement agencies to develop and implement deflection programs that offer alternatives to jail for individuals suffering with substance abuse.

Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, Bush is meeting with advocacy organizations and other legislators to look at potential measures to combat the opioid crisis.

People who are experiencing problems with substance use disorder, should call the state’s Helpline for Opioids and other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP – 1-833-234-6343, text “HELP” to 833234, or visit HelplineIL.org.

Morrison outlines suicide prevention resources in Lake County

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2020 11:19 AM

therapy 091020DEERFIELD – In 2020 alone, 55 lives have been lost to suicide in Lake County. On this World Suicide Prevention Day, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) wants to remind people they matter and help is always available.

“During a time of increased stress and social isolation stemming from the public health crisis, more people are feeling helpless and out of control,” Morrison said. “Help is out there for everyone. There are a number of resources in Lake County to help people understand their feelings, offer support and point them in the right direction.”

The Lake County Health Department offers a free Crisis Care Program. The confidential hotline, available at 847-377-8088, can help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or substance abuse. Counselors are also available in person at 3002 Grand Lake Ave. in Waukegan. Anyone who needs help can call or walk in, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Help is extended to every resident of Lake County – no matter their age. Kids who are struggling are encouraged to download the “Lake County Help” app to their smartphone, which they can use to text anonymously with a licensed clinician.

Additionally, any Lake County resident who needs assistance finding mental health or substance abuse treatment, as well as food, shelter, rent or utility assistance can call 211 or text their zip code to 898211 to speak with someone who can help.

“We must continue to check on our friends and family – even if we can’t physically be with them,” Morrison said. “Learning the warning signs of suicide and lending a helping hand can save a life. Suicide is preventable.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers a number of resources to help people in crisis or those worried about a friend or family member. The lifeline offers 24/7 confidential support at 1-800-273-8255. Morrison also encourages everyone to learn the risk factors and warning signs of suicide so they can help their loved ones. For more information, click here.

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