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

fine floor 052320GLENVIEW – In response to increasing COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations in the region, stricter mitigation measures took effect in suburban Cook County this week, prompting State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) to remind business owners to apply for available aid and encourage residents to patronize small businesses.

“I’m as frustrated as anyone to see our region taking a step back, but these mitigations are necessary to keep our community safe,” Fine said. “Higher rates of COVID-19 mean a higher risk for everyone, including the elderly, those with underlying conditions and our health care workers. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the upward trend of infections.”

Region 10 experienced eight consecutive days of increases in test positivity and seven days of increased hospital admissions, surpassing warning levels in both categories and triggering enhanced mitigation measures under the state's Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

Under this framework, the Illinois Department of Public Health has imposed stricter rules on bars and restaurants, including:

  • Bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m. and may not serve patrons indoors.
  • Patrons may not stand or congregate while waiting for a table or exiting.
  • All tables should be 6 feet apart, and different parties may not be seated at the same table.
  • Reservations are required for each party to assist with contact tracing.

Find the full list of resurgence mitigations here. These measures took effect in Region 10 starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.

To help businesses cope with the negative impacts of the pandemic, Fine urges business owners to apply for a Business Interruption Grant, through which $220 million in aid is available to Illinois small businesses, with priority given to those in regions under increased mitigation measures.

Fine also encourages residents to support the local restaurants and businesses working hard to follow health and safety guidelines.

“In addition to state and federal aid, our businesses need support from the community,” said Fine. “Order delivery or carryout, purchase a gift card, refer a friend or even engage your favorite businesses on social media to lend them a helping hand.”

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