OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (December 2021) — We can easily lose sight of it. But often, the greatest gift we receive is the opportunity to give back.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family that has always put public service first. When my parents served in the Illinois Senate, they knew their role was to help others get ahead or get back on their feet. I have tried to follow in their footsteps as the Senator for the 40th District these past two years.
We are experiencing a historic COVID-19 pandemic that just will not quit. People are exhausted, physically and mentally. Businesses and families are struggling. This is yet again a holiday season where it would be easy to think of what we are missing out on, and to be depressed and angry about it.
But with these challenges come the opportunity to make a difference. My team and I are working every day to help turn people’s pain into hope for better days to come.
We put together this list of resources for this month’s column as one more way to give the gift of giving. If you or someone you know is hurting, please take advantage of this state and local aid:
- Income-eligible renters could receive up to $25,000 in assistance from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Illinois Rental Payment Program. Learn more at: https://www.illinoishousinghelp.org/
- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has millions of dollars available to help prevent people from having their utilities, water or sewer service shut off. Visit DCEO’s website at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/Pages/default.aspx, and search for Help Illinois Families to access the resources page
- Child care is vital to ensure working parents can support their families. Illinois is leading the country with more than $1 billion in relief provided during the pandemic to keep their doors open so they can support working families. Learn more at: https://www.inccrra.org/.
- Employers across the state are looking for trained, capable and dependable workers. A career in the trades can be very rewarding. Unions like IBEW Local 9 will be opening applications for their apprenticeship programs in January: https://www.ibew9edu.org/.
- Our Illinois leadership has worked tirelessly to stay on top of our response to the pandemic. If you need to know where to get a vaccine or test, or how else you can do your part to bring this disease to an end as quickly as possible, visit our robust COVID-19 website: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/.
- If you need help understanding your unemployment benefits, visit: https://www.illinois.gov/services/service.certify-unemployment-benefits.html/.
I am preparing to head to Springfield in early January for the start of our 2022 legislative session. I look forward to sharing with you soon more about my priorities for the session, and to hearing from you on what we can pursue to help our district and our state.
As we head into 2022, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I urge you to contact me anytime I can help: 708-756-0882, or at http://www.senatorpatrickjoyce.com/. I will continue to share the latest news on my website and on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/senPatrickjoyce40/.
Sen. Patrick Joyce
D-Essex, 40th State Senate District
OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (December 2021)