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Holmes calls for justice for unemployment scam victims

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.

Holmes announces $1.59 million in road and bridge improvements this year for the 42nd District

road const 080320AURORA – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased to see nearly $1.6 million in Aurora-area road construction projects slated for this year as part of the state’s ongoing multi-year construction plan.

“This is the right time to see improvements to area infrastructure,” Holmes said. “These Rebuild Illinois projects will create new, well-paying jobs when we need them most; they will also facilitate commerce and transportation, while making needed updates to roads that will improve public safety.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s multi-year plan includes projects to improve the state’s infrastructure over the next six years. These projects were selected based on such criteria as pavement and bridge conditions, traffic volumes and history of accidents. They will create thousands of jobs statewide at a time when many Illinoisans are still struggling with unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Projects slated for Holmes’ district include:

  Description                                                                                                                                                         Year/Investment

Montgomery Road at Waubonsee Creek: This multi-phase project begins with construction engineering to then replace the bridge; it includes replacing superstructure, widening and resurfacing the road, sidewalks and railings.

2021: engineering and construction

$1,125,000

   

Farnsworth Ave at Indian Creek: This year’s phase is preliminary engineering for major bridge repair to begin next year, which will open up the waterway.

2021: engineering

$160,000

2022-26: construction

$1,820,000

US 34 (Ogden Ave. from Rickert to Feldott, Naperville: This year’s phase is land acquisition for another phase beginning next year to relieve a bottleneck and accident-prone area, with added and extended left turn lanes, resurfacing and bicycle and pedestrian traffic accommodation. 

2021: land acquisition

$300,000

2022 – 2026: construction

$1,500,000

 

When construction is underway, motorists should anticipate delays and may wish to seek alternate routes. Holmes encourages drivers to obey posted construction zone speed limits and watch out for workers on construction projects.

IDOT’s complete Multi-Year Plan can be found on its website.

Holmes outlines steps for schools to resume in-person learning

holmes 030420AURORA — As Illinois’ number of COVID-19 cases keeps dropping, health and education officials have given the go-ahead to reopen schools this fall with a thorough set of guidelines, according to Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

“We saw so much success by teachers, parents and students adapting to learning at home during a period none of us expected,” Holmes said. “Things will still be different so that learning can be resumed safely, but it will be back to classrooms.”

The Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health outlined guidelines for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to safely resume in-person learning this fall, while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff is prioritized. The groups worked with educators, superintendents, social workers, nurses and other stakeholders to create the 60-page guidance.

The guidelines for Phase 4 will, among other things:

  • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings;
  • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
  • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
  • Require schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
  • Require an increase in school-wide cleaning and disinfection.

All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving K-12 students must follow these guidelines.

“Students and teachers can maintain health and safety guidelines back in their familiar classrooms and surroundings. It is a great step forward,” Holmes said.

Holmes encourages barbershops and salons to apply for BIG grants

salon 061820AURORA — Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is encouraging salon and barbershop owners who suffered during the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order to apply for Business Interruption Grants through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“Salons and barbershops were some of the hardest hit businesses during the Stay at Home Order,” Holmes said. “They couldn’t provide their services online or to-go. They simply had to shut down entirely. I encourage all eligible businesses to apply if they had significant losses during this period.”

 

Sen. Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader
42nd District

Years served: 2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Commerce and Economic Development (Chairperson); Executive; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Barbara Hernandez
Stephanie A. Kifowit