New fund offers $1,000 to Chicagoans excluded from federal COVID-19 aid

Senator VillanuevaCHICAGO – A new cash assistance program will provide financial support to Chicago residents who were excluded from federal stimulus aid, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced.

“Federal stimulus packages systematically excluded mixed-status families,” Villanueva said. “This new fund covers those who were left behind and makes sure that everyone, regardless of status, gets the help they need.”

The City of Chicago is launching the Chicago Resiliency Fund in collaboration with Open Society Foundations and The Resurrection Project. The fund will provide $1,000 per household for eligible Chicagoans, including undocumented individuals, mixed-status families, dependent adults and returning residents.

Applications will become available June 22. Find more information and apply at

Villanueva: State budget helps those left behind in CARES Act

villanueva floor 052220CHICAGO – As this year’s budget was signed into law, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) commended its focus on providing relief for the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Relief packages from the federal government have systematically left out those who need the most help,” Villanueva said. “Our budget affirms the dignity of all people by ensuring that no one is left behind.”

With thousands of Illinoisans out of work, the Illinois Housing Development Authority was allocated $396 million for rent and mortgage assistance grants. Residents who lost their income due to the pandemic will be eligible for these grants. The Illinois Department of Employment Security was also given an additional $60 million to reduce the backlog of claims needing to be processed.

Because many immigrant families were left out of federal relief, the state is adding $32 million to immigrant welcoming centers. These centers reduce systemic barriers that immigrant residents may face when accessing state services. Medicaid eligibility was also expanded to include all seniors regardless of status so long as they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Senate Bill 264 takes effect July 1.

Villanueva: Lawmakers must address root causes of systemic injustices

villanueva floor 060520CHICAGO – After the murder of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

“What happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and so many other Black Americans is unacceptable, but it is not new. The rage that people are feeling now, and have always felt, is justified and I stand with them in solidarity.

“Action must be taken to address the systemic inequities that enable these extrajudicial murders. Those in law enforcement and the perpetrators of violence must be held accountable for their actions – just like any other public official. I add my voice to those who demand accountability in law enforcement, an end to mass incarceration, cash bail and the overall lack of resources in communities of color, among many other issues that impact Black communities and communities of color. Not just for the short term, but for the long term.

“I must also recognize the anti-blackness and racism that exists in Latino/a/x communities. It is real and divides us at a time when we should be united with our Black neighbors. As a leader in my community, I am committed to doing all I can to ensure that Black and Latino/a/x communities can stand together to address the issues that plague our communities.”

Villanueva votes to give essential workers more benefits, protect retail workers who enforce mask etiquette

villanueva 052320SPRINGFIELD – With essential workers facing more risks on the job, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) voted to pass a labor package that increases public employee benefits, protects retail workers and expands collective bargaining rights.

“Working people deserve dignity on the job,” Villanueva said. “Expanding paid disability leave, legal protections and the right to negotiate a fair wage will ensure that they have a safety net.”

Senate Bill 471 would expand paid disability leave for first responders by 60 days due to decreased access to rehabilitative services. The legislation would also elevate a charge of battery of a retail employee to aggravated battery if the incident took place during or up to six months after a declared public health emergency. Aggravated battery would also apply to incidents that occur while an employee is performing duties that include relaying directions for health and safety precautions.

“Retail employees are facing harassment and worse for enforcing face mask requirements,” Villanueva said. “We need to proactively expand legal protections to working people who put themselves at risk every day to provide essential services.”

In addition to those provisions, the legislation would also require existing racetracks with 10 or more employees to engage in collective bargaining if the track wishes to expand to include a casino. While the horse racing industry is excluded from federal collective bargaining laws, Illinois has extended similar protections to most businesses.

“As these facilities expand operations, they will also be expanding their workforce with janitorial, food service and other backstretch employees,” Villanueva said. “This measure will create a huge opportunity for those workers to improve their lives and receive the wages they deserve through the opportunity to collectively bargain.”

 Not all backstretch employees would be covered under this bill. Villanueva plans to introduce legislation to expand coverage during veto session.

Senate Bill 471 passed the Illinois Senate 47-3.

Sen. Celina Villanueva

Sen. Celina Villanueva

11th District

Years served: 2020–Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Higher Education (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Born in Chicago and raised in Little Village. Full-time state legislator. Former Civic & Youth Engagement Manager at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Bachelor’s degree in Latino/a Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Community organizer and avid reader.

Associated Representatives:
Edgar Gonzalez, Jr.
Michael J. Madigan