BUFFALO GROVE – As the cold winter months begin, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) is reminding Lake County residents about resources for households that need extra assistance and of safety tips to keep their families warm.

“During periods of extreme cold, stay indoors if you can and be prepared to travel if you must,” Johnson said. “Safety is as simple as limiting unnecessary outdoor exposure and putting together an emergency car kit, which includes items most people already have at home.”

Wintertime. Winter background with  thermometer in the snow on frosty day.

To stay safe and healthy this winter, Senator Johnson encourages people to stay indoors during days it’s extremely cold. If spending time outside is absolutely necessary, weather.gov/safety encourages adding layers to keep warm as temperatures drop. Furthermore, if traveling is a must, Johnson encourages people to visit lakecountypassage.com for a map of current road conditions, as well as crashes and stalls that could affect travel time.

When traveling, it’s vital to have a car emergency kit to minimize risks brought on by potentially becoming stranded. It is recommended to have jumper cables, an ice scraper, a cell phone charger, blankets, water and snacks in the car in case of emergency.

At home, should one need to use alternate heat sources, like space heaters, the following should be considered:  

    • Ensure all combustible items are away from the unit 
    • If using a kerosene heater, make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area 
    • Do not run a stove or oven to generate heat  
    • Homes with high-efficiency furnaces should make sure the venting to the outside of the home is clear and not snow covered.

People struggling to heat their house should consider going to one of the many warming centers throughout Lake County for short-term shelter. For a list of warming centers, click here.    

“Too many people have to choose between properly heating their homes or properly feeding their families,” Johnson said.  “Visiting a warming center allows people to reduce their home heating costs by turning the thermostat down while they are at the center. I highly encourage anyone struggling to keep their house heated to take advantage of these locations.”

Johnson also wants to remind residents that many electric and gas utilities have pledged not to shut off the heat this winter, due to the financial challenges many families are facing due to COVID-19. Anyone who’s struggling to pay their heating bills should contact their utility providers first to see if they qualify for extra assistance or a payment plan.

Category: Press Release

BUFFALO GROVE — State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) is encouraging families who want to buy a house but are hindered by student loan debt to take advantage of Illinois’ new SmartBuy mortgage and student loan assistance program. 

Black Graduation Hat placed on brown paper

“Young people, particularly young people who live in minority communities, are often held back from purchasing a home due to the weight of student loan debt,” Johnson said. “Families deserve the peace of mind that they can have both a quality education and a forever home.” 

The Illinois Housing Development Authority launched the SmartBuy program, which offers a safe, affordable 30-year fixed rate first mortgage with $5,000 in assistance to be used toward a down payment and/or closing costs. In addition, the program allows people to combine their student loan debt into a mortgage in an effort to lower the high interest rate of student loans and get rid of the student loan portion of debt. The program provides 15% of the purchase price, or up to $40,000, in student loan debt relief to borrowers.

A 2018 study by the University of Illinois found that outstanding student loan debt negatively impacts wealth accumulation for all borrowers — regardless of race — but the impact is especially significant for Black and Latinx borrowers.

To qualify for SmartBuy, potential borrowers must have at least $1,000 in student loan debt and must pay off their full remaining student loan balance at closing. The program also requires a FICO mid-score of at least 640, and applicants must meet certain income and purchase price requirements.

SmartBuy was created using funding from the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan, and is expected to assist approximately 500 to 1000 borrowers.

Learn more about SmartBuy and find a list of SmartBuy approved loan vendors at www.ihdamortgage.org/smartbuy.

Category: Press Release

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. —State Senators Julie Morrison and Adriane Johnson are congratulating a number of Lake County-based museums who were awarded part of a $22.8 billion grant to improve facilities and develop new exhibits. 

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“Museums serve as a place for people to explore, families to bond and children to learn,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “Due to the ongoing public health crisis, many of these outstanding facilities have lost money, despite continuing to share their facilities with the public through new virtual ways.” 

Buffalo Grove Park District was one of more than three dozen institutions to receive part of the $22.8 million in funding. The Educational Gardens at The Nature Classroom program through the park district received $246,000. 

“Museums and the exhibits and programs they offer help tell a story of our community and state’s history,” said Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove). “The additional funding will allow these institutions to expand, grow and create more opportunities for Lake County residents and all who visit.”

The Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, spearheaded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, was open to any museum operated by a local government or located on municipally-owned land.

The  Waukegan History Museum Expansion at the Carnegie Center through the Waukegan Park District, located in the district Johnson represents, also received $750,000 in assistance through the grant program. 

Additionally, the Chicago Botanic Garden, located in the district Morrison represents, received $750,000 for water main improvements. 

For more information on the Museum Capital Grant Program, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s website.

Category: Press Release

I am pleased to announce Anton Mathews and Jack Schmerer have joined my team to help me best serve the constituents of the 30th District. 

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Mathews will serve as my new constituent services lead. He is a lifelong resident of Lake County and a devoted leader in the Waukegan community. He previously served as an outreach and communications specialist with the Lake County Treasurer’s Office. 

Mathews currently serves as chairman of the College of Lake County Lakeshore Advisory Board and as a member of Leaders United of Lake County. Additionally, he gives back to the community by mentoring youth in Waukegan.

I know Mathews will bring his strong commitment to building up our community and helping others in his new role of assisting and serving every resident of the 30th District.

Jack Schmerer

Schmerer will serve in a part-time capacity as an aide to assist me and support the work we do on behalf of constituents in the district.

Schmerer has considerable business experience and has been an audio-visual consultant for over 30 years. He served as a commissioner on the Buffalo Grove Park District Board for 13 years and currently serves on the Buffalo Grove Park District Friends of the Parks Foundation. 

Please help me congratulate these two extraordinary men and thank them for all the work they’ve already done and will continue to do. 

Category: Press Release

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