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CHICAGO - The Senate Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus releases the following statements from its members regarding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program introduced today by Governor JB Pritzker. The program aims to avoid massive evictions across the state due to families’ inability to pay their rent. The Latino Caucus lawmakers fought hard to make this $150 million funding available to communities in need. 

Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), Cochair of the Latino Caucus and Caucus Whip 

“The Program for Rental Assistance will provide many families in Illinois the housing security they deserve and need during this pandemic,” Aquino said. $150 million will go a long way to help many residents of our state in financial distress. Although this effort is a step in the right direction, our communities’ needs are so high that we will need more help. The federal government needs to step up its efforts and provide more support, so we can provide the security to all families in Illinois that they will have a safe roof over their heads.” 

Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago), Assistant Majority Leader 

“Ensuring Illinoisans are not pushed out onto the street for the inability to pay is crucial in supporting working families,” Martinez said. “And while the mortgage and rental assistance programs will provide relief for many residents, we must prioritize all who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads in the midst of skyrocketing unemployment rates and health crisis ensued by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Antonio “Tony” Muñoz (D-Chicago), Assistant Majority Leader

“Our community has been disproportionally effected by COVID-19, both in contracting the virus and from the widespread financial insecurity it has caused. The Latino Caucus made it a priority to push for the rental assistance program and make it accessible for undocumented families to make these important resources available for our communities. Unfortunately, our state is stretched thin and we desperately need the federal government to act in order to fill the gaps we were unable to address.”

State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin)

"This program is a step in the right direction that me and my colleagues in the Latino Caucus fought hard to secure," Castro said. "However, it is important to point out that there is still a long way to go, because Illinois currently just does not have the resources necessary in order to provide relief to the people who need it most. We still need help from the federal government to ensure that those suffering the most from the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis are supported."

State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago)

"Latinx communities continue to face disproportionate health and economic challenges during the pandemic. We fought hard to get our communities the most assistance as possible from the state's CARES Act funds, but it will not be enough to cover everyone who is struggling. We will continue fighting until every one of our neighbors has secured stable housing and access to health care."