Community News & Updates !
["BE HAPPY IN THE MOMENT, THAT'S ENOUGH.
EACH MOMENT IS ALL WE NEED, NOT MORE."
~ MOTHER TERESA]
Join the Office of Equity and Racial Justice for the Together We Heal 2021 Virtual Summit on Friday, January 29, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. We’ll come together to reflect on the racial healing work happening in Chicago. The event will feature performances from local musicians, presentations from City Departments and anchor partners, and a conversation with the Mayor. Stay tuned for more details!  

Until then, there’s still time to host a healing event and put it on the Healing Map. Visit chi.gov/togetherweheal for more. 

If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, join our anchor partner Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Greater Chicago at the 5th Annual National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, January 19. This event is a free, immersive, virtual event that promotes cultural healing practices and multi-cultural drumming performances to guide and set the tone for Racial Healing Circles. Click here to register. 
Time to Order New Parking Passes

Your current residential guest parking passes will expire on Dec. 31. To make sure you don't get a ticket, stay safe, and avoid unnecessary contact, please purchase parking passes and city stickers online right now.

If you order today, you will receive them in plenty of time.

Buying City Stickers and Parking Passes on-line is convenient and you can order 24 hours a day at ezbuy.chicityclerk.com.

You can learn how to order online by using our Guest Parking Passes 101 guide or
watch our video below for step-by-step details on how to purchase your passes or stickers online.
Late Fee Waived for 2021 Property Taxes

The Cook County Board of Commissioners have waived late fees for two months on both property tax installments due in 2021.

The Board unanimously passed the waiver which exempts property owners form the 1.5 percent per month late fee on all Tax Year 2020 property taxes. Specifically:

  • The First Installment of 2020 taxes is due March 2, 2021, with application of late charges moved back to May 3, 2021.
  • The Second Installment of 2020 taxes is due August 2, 2021, with application of late charges moved back to October 1, 2021.
2021 Shared Sidewalk Program

The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program will open for new applicants on January 11, 2021.

The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program cost per square foot charged to property owners is well below what a private contractor would charge. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities may qualify for a further discounted rate.

Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of participants is based on availability of funds. The program typically reaches capacity quickly, so you are encouraged to apply early on January 11. You must apply again in 2021 if you wish to be considered, even if you applied last year. Applications will only be accepted through the City’s 311 system by calling 311 or through the City’s service request website property owner’s contact information and the property address are required at the time of request.

Visit here for more information about the program.
At-Home Covid Testing
Now Available

Several private companies offer at-home tests so you can avoid having to visit a healthcare provider or testing site. These self-collected, at-home tests have been authorized by the FDA.

Some options are available for free, regardless of insurance or documentation status: The nose swab from Pixel by LabCorp will bill your health insurance or the federal government for those uninsured or undocumented, so you may pay nothing upfront, and health insurance companies are legally not allowed to pass the cost of your COVID-19 test on to you. With some other nasal swabs here and here and saliva options here and here, you may have to pay upfront and claim the money back from your insurance, though many are accepted by HSA and FSA plans. This is not an exhaustive list and CDPH does not necessary recommend any specific private company.
 
For additional testing options, visit here. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) encourages residents seeking a COVID-19 test to first contact their primary care provider since they are best served when tested by someone familiar with their medical history.
We wanted to provide you with an update on COVID vaccine rollout.

 While supply is limited, CDPH is following CDC guidelines for distribution of the vaccine. Based on this guidance, healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff are prioritized to receive the vaccine first (Phase 1a). As more vaccine becomes available in early 2021, frontline essential workers and individuals 75 years of age and older are the next priority group recommended to receive the vaccine (Phase 1b). Additional information on essential workers and their vaccine prioritization group is available from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm695152e2.htm#T1_down

 

CDPH has been working with healthcare and community partners to increase our ability to quickly distribute a large amount of vaccine. As supply increases, the vaccine will be available through additional vaccination providers, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. CDPH is also opening vaccination clinics for healthcare workers not affiliated with a hospital or healthcare system. CDPH began vaccinating healthcare workers today at Malcom X College, by appointment only. 

 

CDPH anticipates vaccine distribution for healthcare workers in Phase 1a will continue through January and likely into February. As additional vaccine becomes available, we will begin to offer Phase 1b vaccinations for frontline essential workers and individuals 75 years of age and older (possibly late February/early March). 

 

Please find attached a vaccine FAQ document. In addition, I am sharing a more detailed messaging document which was recently updated by our vaccine team.

 

We will be also be providing updates on vaccine rollout on this website: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid19-vaccine/home/latest-updates.html
Relief available to residential and business customers struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic

Peoples Gas is providing additional benefits to assist customers facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois utilities and consumer advocates announced an agreement creating these benefits on June 19. The following benefits are available as part of the agreement.

Residential customers

Reconnection of customers disconnected prior to COVID-19 emergency
Residential customers whose natural gas service was disconnected in 2019 and reside at the same premises, will have the option to have their service restored if they contact us at 866-556-6001 by Aug. 25, 2020. Reconnection fees for these customers are waived until Dec. 31, 2020.
New Bill Payment Assistance Program

Peoples Gas has committed $12 million in additional assistance for customers. Beginning July 6, 2020, residential heating customers with an arrearage on their Peoples Gas account who have received a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Share the Warmth grant since October 2019 will receive a Bill Payment Assistance Program (BPAP) grant toward their natural gas bill. A credit up to the amount of the customer’s arrearage, or $500 — whichever is less — will automatically be applied to the customer’s account.
Eligible customers who have not yet applied for a LIHEAP or Share the Warmth grant are urged to do so, as they may also receive a BPAP grant. Additionally, a customer whose account remains in arrears after all credits have been applied should contact us at 866-556-6001 to set up a payment arrangement.

Extended deferred payment arrangements
Residential customers who have fallen behind on their bills are eligible for an 18-month payment plan. Customers receiving Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) support or expressing hardship are eligible for a 24-month payment plan. These more flexible deferred payment arrangements are available until Dec. 31, 2020.

Learn whether you qualify for LIHEAP.
Residential customers’ down payments for the more flexible plans are capped at 10% of the deferred payment amount until Dec. 31, 2020.
LIHEAP-eligible customers and customers indicating hardship will not need to make down payments to enter into a flexible deferred payment plan until Dec. 31, 2020.
Customers who default on a flexible plan or whose financial condition changes may receive a one-time revised deferred payment plan with similar terms if they contact Peoples Gas before Aug. 1, 2021.
Commercial and industrial sales service customers may enroll in or renegotiate deferred payment plans until Aug. 31, 2020. Peoples Gas will offer a six-month deferred payment arrangement with a 30% down payment.

Suspension of new deposit assessment
Peoples Gas will not assess new deposits to new and existing residential customers until Aug. 25, 2020. For customers eligible for LIHEAP or indicating financial hardship, no new deposits will be assessed until Dec. 31, 2020.
[773-284-5057]  [ward18@cityofchicago.org]
18 Ward Alderman | 8359 S. PULASKI RD, CHICAGO, IL 60652