ComEd, Nicor offering assistance programs
ComEd and Nicor Gas are offering several programs to assist residents in need.
ComEd is offering its Helping Hand program to assist customers who are most in need while recovering from economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides eligible customers a one-time grant of as much as $300 toward a past-due balance. The program is available until funds are exhausted. To be eligible, residents must have a combined household income for the 30 days prior to application (gross income for all household members, before taxes are deducted) at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. In addition, one of the following concerns must be expressed:
- Unexpected loss of income or reduction in income (including job loss or furlough)
- Sudden illness to you or a family member
- Other stated COVID-19 impacts
To apply for the one-time bill assistance, call (800) 334-7661 and mention the Helping Hand program. Learn more on the ComEd website.
Nicor Gas options
Nicor Gas is offering extended payment options and providing energy-saving measures to help customers and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit Nicor's website for information on LIHEAP Energy Assistance Funding, extended payment arrangements, the Energy Aide Program, energy assistance resources, free weatherization, credit counseling assistance and more.
CEDA offering utility assistance
The Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Inc. (CEDA) has programs to assist eligible residents with paying utility bills. CEDA offers support through the following programs and online applications:
South Suburban College offering drive-through COVID-19 testing
South Suburban College has signed a new intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to continue free COVID-19 testing on its main campus in South Holland through Dec. 31, 2020. The COVID-19 testing drive-through is conducted by HR Support in the SSC Fitness Center’s east parking lot seven days a week. Tents are highly visible, and cars may enter from either 159th Street or State Street and follow the signage. Daily testing is available from 8 to 4 p.m., and a security detail will continue to be in place while testing is open. More details include:
- Testing is available for anyone, not only Illinois residents
- Testing is available for all ages (with parental consent)
- State-issued identification is required
- Testing will be conducted via nasal swab
- Results are delivered by phone within four to seven business days
South Suburban College is located at 15800 S. State St., South Holland.
CDC issues guidance for Halloween, other holidays
As many people in the United States begin to plan for Halloween, Thanksgiving and other fall and winter holiday celebrations, the CDC is offering considerations to help protect individuals, their families, friends and communities from COVID-19. Visit the CDC website for more information.
Pritzker issues statewide mask mandate at bars, restaurants
Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently announced a new statewide mandate requiring all patrons of restaurants and bars to wear a mask while interacting with waitstaff and other employees when food and beverages are brought to the table and when picking up carryout orders. The new mandate goes into effect Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Applications are now open through Aug. 24. Visit the Illinois Housing Development Authority website for more information or to apply. The IHDA also is offering Emergency Mortgage Assistance Grants beginning Aug. 24. Visit this page to learn more.
PACE temporarily suspends routes
Due to low ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, PACE has temporarily suspended service on 15 routes, including the two lines that operate in Tinley Park, Route 356 and Route 386. PACE is also modifying service to an additional 21 routes. To stay informed on changes like these, subscribe to PACE's text or email alerts for specific routes at PaceBus.com. PACE’s developing response to COVID-19 is detailed PaceBus.com/Health. Riders can also visit that page to subscribe to alerts on this topic.
How to Make Your Own Face Covering
Residents can make their own face coverings using materials around the house, provided these homemade masks cover the nose and mouth. Providence Life Services in Tinley Park has provided a step-by-step guide to creating your own cloth mask. Similarly, Good Morning America recently posted a clip showing how to make a simple mask using a bandanna and two rubber bands.
Illinois to benefit from CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, is the third federal bill to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a price tag estimated at more than $2 trillion, it provides widespread assistance to individuals, corporations and state and local governments. The organization Federal Funds Information for States estimates that Illinois will receive $8.46 billion from the federal bill. Read this memo for more information on how the bill will impact Illinois.
IDPH offering COVID-19 text message program
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has started an informational text message program for COVID-19 information. To opt-in:
- Text the word COVID to (312) 500-3836.
- You will receive a welcome message from IDPH, and a second text letting you know you will receive updates about COVID-19 in Illinois.
- You will also receive a link to the IDPH Frequently Ask Questions page.
- You will receive COVID-19 texting twice a day: once in the morning, and once in the evening.
- You can opt-out of receiving messages at any time by texting STOP to reply.
Find out more on the IDPH website.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has closed its offices until further notice. Residents can still access IDES services using the following methods:
- To file an unemployment insurance claim, visit www.ides.illinois.gov.
- If you have questions about unemployment insurance, call the customer service center at (800) 244-5631 or (866) 488-4016 TTY.
- To certify for unemployment insurance benefits, visit www.ides.illinois.gov or call Tele-Serve at (312) 338-4337 from 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
- To post your resume, search job postings or find a job, visit www.illinoisjoblink.com.
Assistance with Utilities
Several utility companies are offering assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the below links for more information.
- ComEd Energy Assistance
- ComED Customer Assistance Release (Sept. 23, 2020)
- Illinois American Water Assistance
- Nicor Gas Assistance
- Comcast Assistance
Beware of ComEd scams
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, ComEd has received reports of scammers, posing as utility representatives, approaching customers who may be self-isolating or having difficulty paying their bills. These imposters threaten to shut service off or offer cash or credit incentives to obtain a customer’s personal or financial information. In some cases, scammers will “spoof” ComEd’s name and phone number so that a call appears to be from ComEd. They may demand a customer to make a direct payment with a prepaid cash card. In other instances, scammers ask victims to call them back at a different phone number and provide personal information. They may duplicate the recorded message that customers hear when calling a legitimate company, so when customers call the number provided by the scammer, it sounds like an actual business. Find out more at (800) 334-7661 or ComEd.com/ScamAlert.
United Way Fund
United Way has a COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund that can help with bills, rent and food. Residents can call (866) 211-9966 and provide their zip codes for a list of local agencies that provide assistance.
Tinley Park Public Library is offering digital-only cards to anyone living in the 60477 and 60487 area codes. For 90 days after signup, residents will have access to all the downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows and music their eyes can digest. Find out more at tplibrary.org/digital-card, or sign up for the actual card at SwanLibaries.net.
Help Protect Village Sanitary Sewers
With so many people at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Public Works Department would like to remind residents that only certain items should be flushed down the toilet. While toilet paper is perfectly flushable, other paper products and wipes should be thrown away with regular garbage, as they can cause sanitary sewer backups in the resident and/or Village sewer lines. Residents with questions can call the Public Works Department at (708) 444-5500.
Alternate Metra Schedules
Metra is operating an alternate weekday schedule to adjust for the reduced number of riders due to school closures, work-from-home mandates and other consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The alternate schedules, which can be viewed on metrarail.com, represent about half of Metra’s normal weekday service but provide adequate service for those who still need to travel. Read the news release from Metra for more information.
COVID-19 Testing Scam
The Village has received rumors of individuals going door-to-door claiming they can test residents for COVID-19. The Tinley Park Police Department has not received any calls regarding this matter; however, there is no such testing. Testing kits are limited, and only those who show symptoms are being tested. No testing is done door to door. Please call the Tinley Park Police Department immediately at (708) 444-5300 if this occurs.
Together We Cope
Residents looking for food or other supplies can call Together We Cope at (708) 633-5040 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. A receptionist will ask for your name, phone number, the size of your family, your address and which type of help you need. Volunteers and staff will distribute pre-packed bags outside the building, similar to curbside pickup. Visit Together We Cope’s website if you’d like to help by making a cash donation.
- How to Make a Face Covering (Providence Life Services)
- How to Make a Face Covering (Good Morning America)
- Coping with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic
- 'Get My Payment' application
- Economic Impact Payments for Veterans
- Economic Impact Payments for SSI recipients
- Therapy Services for Uninsured Children
- What people really want to know about Economic Impact Payments
- Honoring Our Heroes
- A Guide To Find Work During The Coronavirus Pandemic