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Martinez appointed to state’s reopening commission

Sen. Iris Y. MartinezCHICAGO – To ensure underserved communities are considered in plans to restore the state’s economy after the COVID-19 crisis, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) has been appointed as a member of the bipartisan Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission.

“Communities of color have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, and it’s up to state lawmakers to prioritize their needs while recommending policies and practices to safely reopen,” Martinez said. “I look forward to voicing concerns from my constituents and other minority residents in this collaborative group to recommend solutions that work for everyone in Illinois.”

Martinez urges ComEd customers to explore new COVID-19 relief options

Senator MartinezCHICAGO – To help Illinois families pay their electric bills during the pandemic, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is highlighting a new support package from ComEd and the Illinois Commerce Commission.

“With unemployment numbers at a record high and rising every day, residents need assistance with utility bills,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, these measures can provide relief for families struggling to keep the lights on.”

The package includes a number of provisions to help customers get back on their feet, including an extension of ComEd’s current policy suspending disconnections until the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Residential and small business customers will have an additional 30-day grace period, during which time ComEd will not disconnect service for nonpayment.

Low-income households earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level are eligible for financial assistance for past-due balances. Under this package, customers will have more flexible payment options, including longer payment plans, and ComEd will waive reconnection fees and new deposit requirements for residential customers.

These new supports supplement relief measures ComEd has already put in place, like budget billing options, grants and debt assistance.

“Working families are struggling in many ways throughout the pandemic,” Martinez said. “It’s reassuring to see companies helping people get back on their feet.”

Customers who are struggling to pay their outstanding balances and electric bills are encouraged to contact ComEd’s customer care team as soon as possible at (800) 334-7661, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information is also available at ComEd.com/CARE.

Martinez to struggling families: Rent assistance is on its way

martinez 031120CHICAGO – To support working families financially burdened by the COVID-19 outbreak, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is promoting the state’s effort to provide grant programs for residents struggling to make ends meet in disproportionately impacted areas.

“Because of unemployment issues and other financial stresses during the pandemic, many working families have struggled to keep a roof over their heads,” Martinez said. “Thankfully, relief will soon be available for Illinois residents, especially in black and brown communities.”

Prioritizing renters impacted by the pandemic, the Illinois Housing Development Authority is launching a $150 million program with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The program is scheduled for August 2020 and intended to run through the end of the year.

IHDA is also launching a separate $150 million program for eligible Illinois homeowners with grants of up to $15,000 to provide support with mortgage payments. The program is also expected to launch in August 2020 and provide assistance through the end of the year. More information will be available in the coming weeks on IHDA’s website: https://www.ihda.org/.

Other grant programs announced Wednesday include assistance for small business through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity totaling $85 million, resources to lessen effects of poverty for Illinois residents through the Department of Human Services totaling $32.5 million, and Emergency Senior Services Funds worth up to $5 million administered by the Department on Aging.

Martinez announces Chicago Public Schools to receive grant

Senator MartinezCHICAGO – To recruit and retain quality educators at city schools, Chicago Public Schools will receive a $200,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to support teacher residencies, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) announced Thursday.

“Although teachers have always played a vital role in our communities by educating our youth, we’ve really seen a wave of appreciation and support due to the extra sacrifices and hard work educators have exhibited during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martinez said. “Encouraging more people to join the teaching profession and investing in residency programs is an important step to offer the opportunity to inspired, educated individuals considering making a career change.”

Teacher residency programs offer an alternative to the traditional teacher preparation experience. In partnership with state-recognized higher education institutions that have approved teacher preparation programs, residency programs provide clinical experience alongside mentor teachers, while also providing additional staffing in high-need areas.

ISBE is accepting applications for the next round of Teacher Residency Planning Grants. The grant application is open to local education agencies that serve high numbers of students of color or low-income students, or have a high demand for new teachers.

Interested applicants can learn more about the grants and apply here.

Senator Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader
20th District

Years served:
2003 - Present
 
Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations; Pension Investments Special Com. On (Co-Chairperson); Revenue (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.

Associated Representatives:
Jaime M. Andrade, Jr.
Will Guzzardi