BIG Grants rd 2

CHICAGO – More than 50 small businesses facing economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the district State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) represents received financial relief through the Business Interruption Grant Program, and he is urging more to apply. 

“I was proud to support legislation to make these extremely valuable grants available for our small businesses as we head into the winter and the pandemic continues,” Villivalam said. “Our local economy is powered by both family and minority-owned businesses. While outdoor dining was employed over the summer to help generate business, that is much more of a challenge during the winter months.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the funds this week as part of the second round of BIG program funding. Applications will also remain open until all of the funding is spent. 

The second round of grants awarded between $5,000 to $150,000 to 52 businesses in the 8th District, which received nearly a combined $1.5 million. These funds can be used to help cover expenses like payroll costs, rent, and utilities, as well as pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, increased training and new technology.

“While these grants provide much needed financial relief, there is simply no question that we need an all of the above strategy that includes a federal stimulus package,” Villivalam said. “Additionally, I will certainly and I know other folks will support their local and small businesses throughout the winter. Getting takeout or simply purchasing a gift card can really help out a small business owner.” 

The BIG program is the biggest state-funded financial support program created in response to the pandemic to date. Applications are available on the DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases

Senate floor

SPRINGFIELD – After a renewed surge in COVID-19 infections forced the postponement of the upcoming General Assembly veto session at the Capitol, Senate Transportation Chair Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and Spokesperson Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles) pledge to continue to work together to improve Illinois’ infrastructure.

Villivalam and DeWitte remain committed to working in a bipartisan manner on a number of issues.

“Even though the Illinois General Assembly will not be convening for veto session due to the recent rise in COVID-19 infections and increasing hospitalizations, we pledge to continue to do the work of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee, including—among other vital issues—ensuring the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan is executed in a responsible and transparent manner,” Villivalam said. “We remain committed to ensuring our roads, highways and bridges are safe.”

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Category: Press Releases

COVID-19 testingCHICAGO – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to take advantage of a new temporary testing site set up at the Lincolnwood Town Center parking lot.

“We need to continue our strong testing and contact tracing operations to stay ahead of the virus and keep our positivity rates down,” Villivalam said. “This temporary testing site a way to make it easier than ever to get a fast, easy and free test, but it’s also key to being able to safely reopen our state and economy. Testing and contact tracing are vital to being able to continue getting back to normal activities without compromising on our health and safety.” 

The temporary testing site is located at 3333 W Touhy Avenue in Lincolnwood. Testing will be available Thursday, Nov. 12 through Monday, Nov. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Simple nasal swabs will be used, and both drive-thru and walk-up testing are available. Anyone can get tested regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms. The tests are free, and the results will be available within four to seven business days. Residents should bring their insurance card but can still get a test without insurance. 

“We’ve worked very hard to keep our state’s net positivity rate down,” Villivalam said. “If we don’t want to face any major setbacks to restoring a sense of normalcy, we have to stay vigilant.”

Category: Press Releases

2020 Illinois Senior Hall of FameCHICAGO – The Illinois Department on Aging recently announced the 2020 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame inductees, and State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is sending his congratulations to Vivian Mitchel of Morton Grove. 

“Inductees like Vivian Mitchel have made important contributions to our communities,” Villivalam said. “I want to congratulate Vivian for being this year’s Labor Force inductee and I want to thank her for her hard work and dedication to uplifting the spirits of those at the North Shore Senior Center by planning fun and engaging activities for everyone.” 

Vivian Mitchel has served in a variety of professional roles throughout her life. She spent years working at Oakton Community College, where she founded the Emeritus Program, an umbrella for multiple senior programs and services with the motto “Older people are healthier when they have a purpose.” She also worked tirelessly at the North Shore Senior Center planning and executing memorable day trips, play-acting classes, entertainment luncheons, and the Super Senior Day.  

The Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1994. It contains four separate categories that honor residents ages 65 and older for their personal achievements. Since its inception, 125 people, including the 2020 class, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The ceremony took place during the department’s one-day virtual symposium focused on COVID-19 and its impact on older adults and the Aging Network.

Category: Press Releases

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District Office
3851 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(872) 208-5188

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M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5500

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