September 2023 Newsletter

I have some very exciting news to share with you! Last month, my husband Patrick and I welcomed our daughter, Hattie Saoirse Croke, to the family. We are overjoyed with the new addition, and big brother and sister P.J. and Mary Pearl are very excited that they have us officially outnumbered!

Towards the end of September, I will be transitioning out of maternity leave. I look forward to connecting with you at meetings and events in the district and introducing our newest constituent coordinator, Hattie, to the community!

As the summer comes to a close and we all start to resume our daily routines, I wanted to remind you that my office is available to assist with any questions or concerns related to state programs. A few of the state-related agencies that my office can help provide assistance with include:

If you need help with an issue outside of the state’s purview, we are happy to connect you with the appropriate office.

The Secretary of State’s Office Announces the Skip-the-Line Program

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias’ new Skip-the-Line program has officially begun! The new program was introduced in an effort to improve customer service and eliminate the unpredictability of wait times at Illinois DMVs. Customers will be required to make appointments for in-person visits at 44 of the busiest DMVs. All Chicago and suburban locations and select central and downstate DMVs will require an appointment for REAL IDs, driver’s licenses and ID card services, and in-car driving tests. Vehicle-related services – such as titles, registrations or license plate renewals – do not require an appointment.

All DMVs will also have extended hours of operation going forward. Every DMV will extend hours of operation to 8 am – 5:30 pm from Monday – Friday. Select facilities will be open on Saturdays from 8 am – 12:30 pm.

Customers are encouraged to visit to schedule an appointment, look up DMV location information, and take advantage of many online services, including renewals of driver’s licenses, ID cards and plate stickers. You may also call (844) 817-4649 to schedule an appointment.


Support for New Arrivals

The 18th and 19th District Police Stations are continuing to shelter and house newly arrived migrants until space becomes available at local shelters. The biggest need is meal donations and deliveries. Please consider signing up through the provided link below if you can to deliver lunch or dinner on a given day/time.

18th District

The Chicago Furniture Bank is the city’s largest provider of furniture for the unhoused population. The organization is working alongside New Life Centers to provide furniture to our unhoused neighbors and to new arrivals resettling into permanent housing. If you’re interested in donating extra furniture to help transform an empty house into a home, please visit:

FEMA Assistance for Cook County Residents

Last month President Biden signed a Disaster Declaration to allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide individual assistance to Cook County residents who were impacted by the severe storms and flooding that occurred between June 29th – July 2nd, 2023. The individual assistance includes grants for temporary lodging, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the storms. To apply, please visit or call 1-800-621-3362. FEMA also recently opened Disaster Recovery Centers to help assist Cook County residents who are applying for FEMA assistance. To locate a center near you, visit the Disaster Recovery Center Locator. The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is October 16th, 2023.


Grant Opportunities

The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is pleased to announce the release of the Fiscal Year 2024 Rebuild Illinois Cultural Capital Planning Grants. The purpose of the Rebuild Illinois Cultural Capital Planning Grants is to help organizations that provide arts programming get the objective information and analysis they need before they commit their organization’s energies and financial resources to a facilities project. Rebuild Illinois Cultural Capital Planning Grants will support project-related activity from January 1st, 2024 – December 31st, 2024. Applicants will request a specific grant amount in the application and awards will range from $5,000 – $50,000. No cash match is required for this grant. For more information, including how to apply, please visit IACA’s website. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, October 25th, 2023 at 11:59 pm.


Governor JB Pritzker recently announced the Federal Grant Support Program to help Illinois compete for additional federal funding to strengthen our businesses and communities. Illinois-based businesses and organizations seeking federal grants that align with the State’s economic development objectives are encouraged to apply through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to have part of their match covered by state dollars. More information can be found here.

DCEO Grant Training Information Sessions

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is conducting information sessions and office hours designed to help entities seeking grants. The training session topics will detail the pre-qualification process, as well as other critical information. To view and register for an upcoming session, please visit the Grant Management Training Invitation List webpage.

Do you want to stay up-to-date on active state grant opportunities? Subscribe to Illinois NOFO Notifications to receive a weekly digest of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) offered by state agencies.

To subscribe, send a blank email (subject and body) to


Federal Student Loans

The pause on federal student loan payments ends this month. Interest rates on federal student loans will resume and borrowers will be notified throughout September and October of the current amount they owe along with their exact payment due date.

Recently, President Joe Biden announced the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. The new income-driven repayment plan will replace the existing Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan. The SAVE Plan will decrease the percentage of personal income that borrowers have to pay each month towards their federal student loans from 10% to 5%. Borrowers on the REPAYE Plan will automatically get the benefits of the new SAVE Plan. For more information, including how to apply, click here.

To help assist Illinois borrowers, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is partnering with the University of Illinois system to provide free webinars focused on the return to repayment process. To register for an upcoming webinar, click here.


In the Community

Northalsted Market Days

My office tabled at the recent Northalsted Market Days festival alongside the offices of Congressman Mike Quigley, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz, State Representative Ann Williams and 44th Ward Alderman Bennett Lawson. I hope you had a chance to stop by, say hello, and grab a few of our resources!

Nourishing Hope Visits

This past month my office picked up a few volunteer shifts at Nourishing Hope! They volunteered at the Headquarters and the El Mercadito locations, organizing large food drop-offs and helping people pick out their groceries. The organization provides people all throughout the city of Chicago with a handful of services that include mental health counseling, access to groceries, and assistance navigating through various social services. If you’re interested in volunteering to help this organization continue their great work, visit to sign-up for an upcoming shift!


Our summer interns (a few pictured above) recently ended their internship with my office and have headed back to school! They were a hardworking bunch that were eager to learn. I hope you got a chance to meet our interns over the course of the past few months. I look forward to hearing about all of the amazing things Delaney, Alex, Andres, and Brennan (not pictured) will do in their future endeavors!


Upcoming Events

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

The 18th Annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts will take place Saturday, September 9th, and Sunday, September 10th from 11 am – 7 pm. Come check out art from over 120 artists, live music, food vendors, and activities for little ones.

Lincoln Central Association’s Evening in the Garden

Lincoln Central Association’s Evening in the Garden will take place on Sunday, September 17th, from 5 – 7 pm at Fire Station Park, which is located at Larrabee and Armitage behind the fire station. First held in September of 2014, this annual garden party celebrates the close of summer, our garden volunteers and the garden harvest. The event includes food, wine and beverages from near-by restaurants and businesses. The event is free and open to the public.


1st Annual 44th Ward Family Bike Parade

Please join Congressman Mike Quigley, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz, State Representative Ann Williams, and I for Alderman Bennett Lawson’s first annual 44th Ward Kids Bike Parade on September 23rd! The parade will begin at Belmont and Broadway at 9 am and will roll to Wellington and back. Come join the fun!


18th Police District Council Meeting

The 18th Police District Council will be hosting their monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 26th from 6 – 7:30 pm at the St. James Lutheran Church (2050 N Fremont St.).  RSVPs are encouraged – visit this link.


19th Police District Council Meeting

The 19th Police District Council monthly meeting is planned for Saturday, September 30th from 12 – 1:30 pm. The meeting will take place at the Merlo Public Library (644 W Belmont Ave.). RSVPs are encouraged – visit this link.


018th District CAPS Office Shred Event

The 018th District CAPS Office is hosting a Paper Shredding and Electronic and Prescription Drop Off on October 11th between 1 – 5 pm. The event will take place in the 18th District Chicago Police Department parking lot. This complimentary service is provided to 018th District residents only. For any questions, please contact the 018th District CAPS office at (312) 742-5778.


PAWS Chicago Partnership

We have a new PAWS Chicago pal to introduce for September: Meet Moby!

Moby is ready to be the center of his adopter’s world! He is a small mixed-breed pup who would be best in a home with a patient owner and without any other furry companions. Moby does well in a home with children and could be adaptable around any new feline friends!

If you’re interested in adopting Moby or another furry friend, visit PAWS Chicago for more information!


I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer! Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. We’re always happy to be a resource for you.