032922HAO01273SPRINGFIELD – To help students access state, federal and community benefits, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) spearheaded a measure in the Senate to require universities to designate an on-campus benefits navigator.

“The pandemic has put a lot financial strain on students, and they may not always know what assistance is available to them,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Having a point-person on campus for college students to go to will increase access to the resources they need to thrive.”

House Bill 4201 requires the each public university and community college in Illinois to designate a benefits navigator to assist students in identifying and applying for benefit programs and campus-wide and community assistance programs.

Additionally, the benefits navigator will participate in a statewide consortium with navigators from other universities and colleges to develop best practices and coordinate information.

“The benefits navigator will be a go-to person for students needing to traverse campus and community resources and will help to address resource insecurities like food and housing that many college students face,” said State Representative Maurice West, House sponsor of the legislation. “Having benefit navigators in our colleges and universities will ensure many students obtain the tools and resources they need to successfully complete college and make a better life for themselves and their families.”

House Bill 4201 passed the Senate Tuesday and heads to the governor for final action.

Category: Press Releases

PolishSPRINGFIELD – To center and support the power of the Polish community in Chicago, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a measure to designate Milwaukee Avenue from Sangamon Street in Chicago to Greenwood Road in Niles as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

“Polish communities have always had a large impact on the Chicago area, even far beyond their unique and recognizable cultural touchstones like food and the arts. Their local businesses have historically anchored neighborhoods and sustained local social and economic development,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I remain firmly committed that stronger communities means a stronger Illinois. We in Springfield will continue to innovate and construct public policy to that end.”

Under House Bill 5581, a section of Milwaukee Avenue will be recognized under the Illinois Department of Transportation as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

Last year, Sen. Pacione-Zayas, along with House Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) passed a law that allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to designate cultural districts to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois. HB 5581 provides a stepping stone for this community to be designated in this way.

“My hope is that this is only the first step in showing up for the Polish community through concrete designation,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I hope to work with Polish communities and institutions in my district, like the Polish American Chamber of Commerce, to further recognize and empower these communities.”

HB 5581 passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.

Category: Press Releases

BenefitsNavSPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans across the state are struggling to make ends meet, including university students. To help students find assistance programs, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a measure to require universities to designate a Benefits Navigator.

“There are so many assistance programs available that are underutilized,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Ensuring students are aware of their options to get support is important, especially for individuals struggling to make ends meet while in college.”

House Bill 4201 requires the each public university and community college in Illinois to designate a Benefits Navigator to assist students in identifying and applying for benefit programs and campus-wide and community assistance programs.

Additionally, the Benefits Navigator will participate in a statewide consortium with navigators from other universities and colleges to develop best practices and coordinate information.

“This legislation will ensure someone on campus is available to help students get the support they need to succeed,” Pacione-Zayas said. “From assisting students apply for child care funding to finding scholarship opportunities, the Benefits Navigator will be there to help.”

HB 4201 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday and goes to the Senate floor for full consideration.

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – As the state and country loosen COVID-19 restrictions, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) issued a statement regarding the health concerns associated with the pandemic for children and people who are immunocompromised:

VaccineClinic1“This past winter, the Omicron surge was responsible for 20% of all child deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. This statistic instigates the need for continued action as the pandemic continues.

“Because children under five are still unable to get vaccinated, they are at a much higher risk for infection and acute illness, warranting the need for continued masking for them as well as immunocompromised people.VaccineClinic23

“Schools throughout the district I represent face low vaccination rates, with many not yet hitting 50% of eligible students being vaccinated. As new variants emerge, I am calling on schools and communities to continue to encourage vaccines for those who can get it, as higher vaccination rates are vital to protecting the community at large. Additionally, I encourage people to continue to mask up as an extra layer of protection for themselves and those around them.”

Pacione-Zayas urges students and parents to attend her district office’s last March vaccine clinic at 3140 W. Montrose Ave. on Tuesday, March 22 from 12-5 p.m. These clinics have provided approximately 2,000 vaccines to community members since last year. Find other vaccination opportunities in Chicago using the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder.

 

 

Category: Press Releases

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
 
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020