Dear neighbor,

I wanted to let you know about the upcoming round of rental assistance from the Illinois Housing Development Authority that opened today! Please keep reading for additional details and for additional resources and events to benefit you and your family.

Consistent with Illinois’ goal to reduce evictions, the Illinois Housing Development Authority opened a new round of rental assistance Monday, Dec.6. If you applied for rental assistance in previous cycles, you are still eligible to apply!

Pre-Eligibility Check 

  • You are either a renter in Illinois or a landlord with a tenant who lives in Illinois.
  • Your household (or your tenant’s household) experienced financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Your household (or your tenants’ household) is behind on rent and/or is at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Your (or your tenant’s) household income is at or below the limit for your county.

Click here to find the income limits for your county.

For future Illinois Rental Payment Program and mortgage assistance program information and updates, please visit

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Citizens Utility Board are reminding residents to apply for $200 million remaining in utility assistance under Gov. JB Pritzker’s Help Illinois Families initiative – an expansion of the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program under the American Rescue Plan. 

Upcoming Events

Reminder to check out my Clean Transportation town hall on Wednesday Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. REGISTER HERE. We will be having a discussion centering equity in future transportation policy. Hope to see you there!

Lakeview residents, I am joining County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and other North Side elected officials for a virtual workshop on property tax appeals on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m. RSVP HERE.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.


State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Dear neighbor,

I wanted to reach out to you to let you know about two important upcoming events that my staff and I will be hosting to benefit you and your family. Please keep reading for additional details!

I am hosting a planned pediatric vaccine event with Hayt Elementary on Dec. 7! Join us from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. for COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11. Walk-ins are welcome!

I am hosting a transportation town hall with the Illinois Environmental Council, Equicity, Warehouse Workers for Justice, the Respiratory Health Association, the Environmental Law and Policy Council and the Active Transportation Alliance that will be a conversation centering equity in future transportation policy and the electrification of public transit! Join us on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. for a free, informational town hall alongside community advocates and partners. To register, click

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.


Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Dear neighbor,


I wanted to say another huge thank you to everyone who donated for the Afghan Refugee Welcome Kit drive! We donated over five pallets of supplies ranging from pots and pans, to clothing, toiletries, and some small furniture items. I am the proud son of an Ethiopian refugee and when my family arrived here, we received a helping hand from community members. I was overjoyed to see our community showing the same warm welcome to the refugees who are relocating to the 7th District. I want to also give a major thank you to State Representative Kelly Cassidy for all of her office’s work to recruit volunteers for the event and collect supplies! She has been an incredible partner in Springfield and a powerhouse for advocacy in our community.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who came this past Sunday morning to transport all of the items into a moving truck. Once again, our community has shown up!

Wrap up of Successful Welcoming Kit drive for Afghan Refugees



I am deeply grateful to Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Alderwoman Maria Hadden, Alderman Harry Osterman, and all the other elected officials who helped to pull this off. I am also thankful to World Relief Chicago and to all of the community members from across the district who stepped up and gathered supplies to support our newest neighbors.

This Saturday is Trans Day of Remembrance
#BlackTransLivesMatter #SuicidePrevention #HB2542
On Trans Day of Remembrance, we confront the violence rampant in Chicago and across the country. Political, religious, and institutional contempt for trans people threatens the physical and emotional safety of trans lives everywhere. Rates of trans suicide and homicide are at record highs. In response to this violence, we will raise up the talent, beauty, and power of our trans communities and invite our allies to engage in concrete action steps to love, support, and protect trans lives. I stand with Chicago Therapy Collective in solidarity this Transgender Day of Resilience.

Chicago Therapy Collective is also hosting a Facebook Live Premiere so that we can all witness their passionate performance of Wildfires (Sault, 2020) featuring all trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive BIPOC Artists. The performance reflects the epidemic of transphobia and its intersections with racism and criminal injustice that takes so many trans Lives every year.

I am also a proud sponsor of HB 2542- the Name Change Modernization Law
Currently, the Illinois name change laws are some of the most strict in the country and are deeply harmful to people who are gender-expansive, trans people, and survivors of human trafficking. The current law bans people from legally changing their name if they have a felony conviction until 10 years after their sentence has ended. HB 2542, sponsored by Representative Kelly Cassidy, would knock-down this ban and allow trans folks, gender-expansive people, and survivors a path to change their name and be who they are. This bill is supported by organizations such as Equality Illinois, Task Force Prevention and Community Services, Transformative Justice Law Project, Chicago House and Social Service Agency, and the ACLU of Illinois. I am a proud sponsor of the bill and stand as an LGBTQIA+ advocate alongside the Chicago Therapy Collective.

Friday was Chicago Public Schools’ Vaccine Awareness Day

I loved handing out stickers with 7th District parent Rachel Gansner and others to all our wonderful and resilient students at Goudy Elementary School who received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday! Her son designed these gorgeous stickers!

#ChildrenCarryOn Campaign
 Last Friday, my office launched the #ChildrenCarryOn Campaign to highlight the true resilience of the children of the 7th District. These children have made some of the biggest sacrifices with the least reward these last 18 months. We should celebrate them and lift up their courage in getting vaccinated. To kick off the campaign, I visited Gale Elementary, Kilmer Elementary, and Goudy Elementary and handed out stickers with a local parent to kids who got the vaccine.

I wanted to share with you other ways to book an appointment near you.
Chicago Public School regional vaccination clinics and mobile school-based events and clinic information can be found below:

Sen. Simmons in the news

Next Week!

Tele-Town Hall for COVID-19 Resources:

My office is hosting a tele-town hall with state officials across the North side of Chicago! We have gathered leaders from service organizations throughout the district and beyond to help people coming out of the pandemic. You can call in at 312-626-6799 with passcode 686019 or use this zoom link:
Plase click this link to join the webinar:
Passcode: 686019

Rep Kelly Cassidy’s office, Ald. Hadden, Ald. Osterman, and my office are running a coat drive to be donated to social service agencies in the district. You can donate your coat at 5533 N Broadway until Dec. 10th!

Community Updates:

Resources for Veterans
Belated Happy Veterans Day to all of those who served, currently serve, and their families. Today, we must recognize the need for mental health access for our veterans of color, women, and LGBTQIA community. Rates of homelessness and mental illness are still high among our veteran community. My office wanted to share the resources in the district for our service members. Please feel free to reach out to our district office to find out other benefits for current and veteran service members.

Resources for Veterans of Color
The U.S. Veterans Administration has established a center for veterans of color. You can check it out here at

Resources in the 7th District

National Diabetes Month

Swedish Covenant Health
On the first Tuesday of every month at 4 p.m., join a diabetes care and education specialist for an engaging presentation on how to stay one step ahead of your diabetes through healthy lifestyle habits, careful nutrition, exercise, glucose monitoring and medication. No physician referral is required. Register for this event>>

If you are struggling to pay for insulin and diabetes medication, the American Diabetes Association has a list of resources that you can use.

Out in the Community

Uptown Chamber of Commerce-Casino Night!

I joined Uptown United and the Uptown Chamber of Commerce for their casino night! I had a great time meeting business owners, teachers, non-profit leaders and residents of the Uptown neighborhood! I want to give a special congratulations to Sarah Wilson on being the new Executive Director.

Edgewater Environmental Coalition- Pumpkin Smash!

I spent a wonderful afternoon with the Edgewater Environmental Coalition and the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce gathering pumpkins so that they can be composted. Thank you to everyone who brought their pumpkins!

Youth People’s Legislative Council- Uplift High School

I held my 2nd Youth People's Legislative Council at Uplift STEAM High School, which provides a curriculum focused on social justice. We talked about violence in Uptown, mental health access, and ideas on how we can create more affordable housing in the neighborhood. These young people are my policy advisors!

Reopening of 15 businesses in Rogers Park

I joined Alderwoman Maria Hadden, the Rogers Park Business Alliance and small business owners in cutting the ribbons to celebrate the reopening of 15 businesses in Rogers Park! As the son of a longtime Rogers Park salon owner, I took great joy in celebrating these diverse business owners!


Planting Grasses with the Edgewater Environmental Coalition - Osterman Beach!

On Sunday, I joined the Edgewater Environmental Coalition and volunteers to plant almost 2000 marram grass bare root plants on Osterman beach. We also spread grass seeds donated to us from the Loyola Beach Dunes Natural Area. Planting these grasses helps prevent shoreline erosion and support a healthier habitat for animals, insects, and residents. Thank you for inviting me!


As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.


Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Dear neighbor,

Recently, we wrapped up one of the most productive veto sessions in recent history. I wanted to write to you with an update of a few key bills that passed or made significant progress.

Veto Session
Veto session is an opportunity for the legislature to reconsider measures that the governor declined to sign and to continue to push legislation that wasn’t called during the spring session. There were no vetoed bills this year. I took this opportunity to fight for issues that matter in the 7th District such as making Illinois a 100% pro-choice state, declaring gun violence a public health crisis and supporting $250 million for violence prevention, re-enfranchising voting rights for people in prisons, supporting the manufacturing of electric vehicles in Illinois, legalizing midwifery, holding student debt service providers accountable, improving the Chicago elected school board and getting our hardworking teachers and education employees paid Covid-19 leave.
Repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act (PNA):
I am proud that both chambers of the Illinois legislature have voted to repeal the PNA, which requires women under 18 to notify a parent when seeking abortion care. The PNA is an outdated law that disproportionately impacts those who are survivors of sexual assault and women of color. The act was blocked by the Illinois Supreme Court until 2013 due to concerns about the constitutionality of the provision. Under the act, minors who are unable to notify their parents or guardians must go through a difficult legal process to request a waiver from a court. The repeal legislation also creates the Youth Health and Safety Advisory Working Group for the purpose of identifying and reviewing laws and regulations that impact pregnant and parenting youth. This will help provide young people with education and resources up front so that we are setting them – and their future families – up for success. I am proud to have been a chief-cosponsor of the legislation to repeal the PNA and to have stood alongside the sponsor, Sen. Elgie Sims, and dedicated advocates and organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to push this measure over the finish line. Reproductive health is a fundamental human right that we must fight for at a systemic level, particularly with what we are seeing in Texas and other states. Governor Pritzker has vowed to sign the legislation.

Re-enfranchising People in Prisons:
I am the Senate sponsor of Senate Bill 828, which would allow incarcerated people in prisons to retain their right to vote. The right to vote is fundamental and vital to our democracy. This legislation has the support of many advocacy organizations, including the League of Women Voters, Equality Illinois, The Marshall Project, and Chicago Votes. It will take broad based advocacy and a persistent focus on undoing historical injustices to reverse the devastating effects of mass incarceration. This legislation is one component of the necessary systemic change that can restore and redeem those who are serving time and prepare them to eventually reintegrate into their communities as productive citizens.

The measure advanced out of the House Rules Committee and to the House floor for debate during the veto session-an important procedural step. The measure came within 4 votes of passage on Oct. 27th, and the House sponsor intends to move it again in the spring legislative session. I will work closely with House sponsor Rep. LaShawn Ford and advocacy groups to see it through the General Assembly. I invite you to learn more about the issue by visiting the Chicago Votes’s “unlocking civics” page.

Investing in the electric vehicle industry:
We have set our state on the path toward a cleaner, greener future – and that continues with the passage of the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act. I voted in favor of House Bill 1769, which would preserve and create jobs by providing incentives to electric vehicle and electric bike manufacturers. The measure provides a tax credit for manufacturers of electric vehicles, parts and power supplies – and businesses in underserved areas would be eligible for an even larger benefit.

Public Safety and Violence Prevention:
I am pleased that both chambers have passed the expansion of the Reimagine Public Safety Act. I stood with Gov. JB Pritzker and several elected officials and community leaders earlier this week as the Governor declared gun violence a public health crisis and signed an Executive Order that creates the Reimagine Public Safety initiative, a data-driven, community-based approach to preventing and interrupting gun violence. This plan provides an unprecedented $250 million state investment over the next three years to implement a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. The overall approach includes four key elements: trauma recovery services for young people, youth development programs, street-based violence interruption work, and high-risk youth intervention. The order also establishes the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, which will focus on reducing firearm deaths and injuries in communities that have been hard hit. This expansion supports communities that have been affected by gun violence by empowering at-risk youth, supporting survivors and working with grassroots organizations to interrupt violence and create systems that rebuild individuals.

Getting Guns Off Our Streets:
I want to also say that another key part of reducing gun violence in Chicago is getting guns off our streets. I am working with Sen. Jackie Collins from Chicago to draft ghost gun legislation that can be moved for consideration when we reconvene in January. Ghost guns are home-assembled firearms without serial numbers that are untraceable by law enforcement. These often are available online and can be purchased without a background check. We are drafting legislation that would ban the sale or possession of ghost gun kits or parts or assembled ghost guns. We are working with advocacy groups like Gun Violence Prevention PAC, Giffords Courage to Fight Gun Violence, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and others to draft the bill and build support for it in the General Assembly.

Teachers Paid Sick Days:
I am proud to have supported House Bill 2778, which gives teachers, public university and community college employees access to paid sick days if their illness is due to COVID-19. In addition, public school teachers who have taken time off because of COVID-19 will have those same paid sick days returned to them. None of our essential workers should be penalized for keeping themselves and our children safe.

Illinois Rental Assistance:
I am pleased to report that the Governor announced last week that applications for a new round of rental assistance will reopen on December 6. The next round of rental payment assistance will include some improvements. The assistance will cover up to 18 months of rental payments, and priority will be given to low-income households and those who have been unemployed for more than 3 months. Housing choice voucher holders are also now eligible. This round of assistance will help those who are experiencing pandemic-related hardship, and I encourage you to reach out to my office for help if you need assistance or have any questions navigating the application process.

If you are behind on rent or know people or have neighbors who need rental help, I encourage you to visit here. If you have already applied please check out this same link to check on the status of your application. While the date for the program reopening is delayed, money from this round will still be distributed to approved Illinoisans before the end of the year as originally scheduled.

We will keep you informed of rental assistance programs once the portal is up and applications are reviewed. I will also continue to communicate with the agencies administering these programs to ensure oversight and prompt review of applications from our District.

Community Updates:

Hindu Heritage Month and Diwali:
I am proud to have supported a measure in the Senate to establish October as Hindu Heritage Month in Illinois. Illinois has one of the largest populations of practicing Hindus in the United States, and they deserve to have their culture publicly honored. I also am pleased to have helped pass Senate Resolution 593, which established Hindu Heritage month and Diwali Day in Illinois. Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs worldwide. Illinois should be a state that is proud to recognize the religious and cultural diversity of its residents.

November is Native American Heritage Month!
November is #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth where we honor the contributions, stolen land, & resilience of our indigenous neighbors. I wanted to share events from the Indigenous Peoples Day IL coalition to commemorate & celebrate this month while continuing the fight for Indigenous Peoples Day to be an official government holiday.

Open Enrollment for the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace starts this month! Don’t forget to review and compare your health plan options before you choose or renew for 2022. Free assistance is available to help you enroll, and you may qualify for financial help. Visit:
Chest & Breast Health Resources Trick-or-Treat
Two weeks ago, our office hosted a health resource fair, along with Rep. Greg Harris, Heartland Health Centers, Howard Brown Health, Sarah’s Circle, and Advocate Illinois Masonic.  This event was a key initiative that helps remove systemic barriers to access to preventative health care, which is a top priority for me. I was honored to have hosted and organized this event! We will definitely be doing this again next year!

Sen. Simmons in the news

Out in the Community

(Senator Simmons at the Amelia Rucker Thompson art exhibit at the Center on Halsted)

I was invited to the unveiling of Amelia Rucker Thompson’s (A.R.T.) latest creations at the Center on Halsted. I was honored to support these beautiful works and supporters of the arts. Amelia’s art conveys so many emotions and experiences, from profound joy to heartfelt sorrow, from victimization and trauma to victory. Her works are progressive and restorative for her and communities across our district.

Indigenous People’s Day Rally at Pottawattomie Park in Rogers Park

It’s time for the first Monday in October to be officially celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day in the state of Illinois. On Monday, Oct. 11, I attended a rally in Rogers Park with other elected officials including State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Alderwoman Maria Hadden and spoke publicly in support of doing just that.

Clark Street Block Party

It was great to meet with service providers for young people, immigrants, and refugee women at the Clark Street Block Party! I really enjoyed getting to know the team from Circles and Ciphers, a restorative justice organization based in Rogers Park and led by and for young people impacted by violence. I also toured the space and got to know the staff with Edgewater based Girl Forward, a safe space serving girls ages 14-21 in grades 9-12 who identify as refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. We are fortunate to have programs like these in the district that meet important needs.

Arcadia Terrace Block Party

Our 7th District office met with neighbors and friends at the Arcadia Terrace Block Party recently! We chatted with residents and took questions about legislation, state programs, and requests for resident services. It was a joy to visit here, as I grew up just a few blocks south of Arcadia Terrace.

Visit Local Farmer’s Markets!

Be sure to visit your local farmer’s markets while they’re still in season!

Sen. Simmons chats with a Rogers Park based dessert entrepreneur and vendor Mickii at the Glenwood Sunday Market!

Sen. Simmons chats with market manager Elsa and chats with vendors and customers at the Lincoln Square Farmer’s Market before buying a pineapple hot sauce and challah!

Local 7th District Farmer’s Market Schedule

The Uptown Farmers Market and Lincoln Square Farmers Market both are still going in November! Check them out before the season ends.

Here are their schedules:

Lincoln Square:

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.


Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Newsletter Archive

Office Info

District Office
1040 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 769-1717 (Phone)
(773) 945-9979 (Text)

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
Stratton Building
Section F, Office G
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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