GLENVIEW – To help Illinoisans enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) partnered with the Conference of Women Legislators and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a virtual Q&A on coping with mental health challenges over the holidays.

Senator Fine was joined by NAMI Illinois State Program Director Teri Latter and Professor Mary E. Garrison, a professor of social work at Millikin University, who offered expert advice to help residents stay well during times of stress. State Representative Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) and State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) also joined the conversation.

“We are in the middle of a holiday season like no other, and it’s critical that we have the tools and resources to care for our mental health during this time,” said Senator Fine. “I learned so much from Teri and Mary about how to process the emotions we’re all experiencing, and I hope others can watch the video and benefit from the conversation as well.”

The panelists discussed ways to manage a variety of common stressors facing families this year, including being separated from loved ones and maintaining holiday traditions during the pandemic.

“There's no doubt that the holidays, while being a great time for family gatherings and celebrations, are often fraught with stress, anxiety and even depression. Layer COVID on top of that, and many people will be struggling this year,” said Latter. “That's why it's so important to acknowledge that, take care of ourselves and have frank discussions on how to manage things so that the holidays can be enjoyable for everyone.”

Legislators also asked about helping older adults feel included even when they can’t physically be together, negotiating personal relationships in a divisive political climate, and dealing with feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and burnout.

The Q&A was cosponsored by the Conference of Women Legislators, a bicameral, bipartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of all Illinois women through state, local and federal initiatives.

“It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Stay in tune with your emotions, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support,” said Senator Fine. “If you’re feeling hopeless or overwhelmed—or even if you just need someone to talk to—NAMI Illinois can help.”

A recording of the conversation is available here.

For more information on support groups, webinars and other resources NAMI offers, visit NAMIIllinois.org or call 1-800-950-NAMI. Those in crisis can reach anonymous, confidential support 24/7 via the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Category: Press Releases

05232019CM0345GLENVIEW – To offer support to working class families and communities of color in Illinois, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is drawing attention to the new SmartBuy mortgage and student loan assistance program.

“Young people—and especially young people of color—face disproportionately higher barriers to homeownership, including burdensome student loan debt,” said Senator Fine. “The SmartBuy program can help give prospective homebuyers a boost and begin to bridge the historical disparities in access to housing opportunities.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) launched the SmartBuy program Dec. 1, 2020. The program offers a safe, affordable 30-year fixed rate first mortgage with $5,000 in assistance to be used toward a down payment and/or closing costs. In addition, the program will provide 15% of the purchase price, or up to $40,000, in student loan debt relief to borrowers.

To qualify for SmartBuy, potential borrowers must have at least $1,000 in student loan debt and must pay off their full remaining student loan balance at closing. The program also requires a FICO mid-score of at least 640, and applicants must meet certain income and purchase price requirements.

SmartBuy was created using appropriations allocated to IHDA in the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, and is expected to assist approximately 500 to 1000 borrowers.

Learn more about SmartBuy and find a list of SmartBuy approved loan vendors at www.ihdamortgage.org/smartbuy.

Category: Press Releases

Get covered Illinois FBGLENVIEW – The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, and State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is urging uninsured and underinsured Illinoisans to visit the marketplace now to explore their coverage options.

“Everyone deserves quality, affordable health insurance they can trust, especially during a global pandemic,” Senator Fine said. “Illinoisans have until Dec. 15 to shop the ACA Marketplace for a plan that fits their budget and their coverage needs.”

This year, Illinoisans will be able to choose from 179 plans from eight insurance providers. There are also tax credits available to help lower-income residents reduce their monthly payments and find affordable coverage.

Last year, more than 240,000 people received tax credits, and after credits were applied, the average monthly payment was $153.

There are three tiers of coverage to choose from that balance coverage and cost: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Anyone who is already covered under an ACA plan will automatically be enrolled in the same or a similar plan if they don’t make a different selection.

“During this public health crisis, don’t wait until you need care to start thinking about coverage,” Senator Fine said. “Now is the time to find or reevaluate your health insurance plan to make sure you’re protected.”

To learn more or select a plan, Illinois residents can visit https://getcoveredillinois.gov.

Category: Press Releases

Fine mask photo 2GLENVIEW – More than $400,000 has been awarded to 20 North Shore businesses through the second round of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program, and millions of dollars are still available, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) announced Friday.

“The pandemic hit our small business community hard. With increased mitigation measures now in effect in our region, many business owners are hurting,” Senator Fine said. “These funds will offer small businesses a hand, allowing them to retain employees and keep the lights on during this challenging time.”

In the district Senator Fine represents, 20 businesses—including restaurants, salons and performing arts venues—received a combined $415,000. Grants ranged from $5,000 to $90,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

In total, more than $46 million has been awarded to 1,200 small businesses across the state in the second round of the BIG program. This investment builds on the $49 million awarded to more than 2,800 businesses in the first round of funding.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, but applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“I’m glad to see so many local businesses receiving aid from the BIG program to help them get through this tough time,” said Senator Fine. “I encourage all struggling small businesses to apply as soon as possible to ensure they get the support they need.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO website.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Information

Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
Suite A
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717

laura@senatorfine.com