Much of Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood is represented in the City Council by 26th Ward Ald. Roberto Maldonado, who was first appointed to the position in 2009.
As new numbers show COVID-19 rates among Chicago Latinos have surged in recent weeks, Maldonado is pushing for more testing in the community and in other areas he represents, such as parts of the Hermosa neighborhood.
But he says the biggest challenge for residents in the 26th Ward has actually been receiving their unemployment checks from the state of Illinois.
“That is the number one concern that we have among our constituents … the number one calls are about the inability to get access to the checks from unemployment,” Maldonado said. “They do the right thing, they apply, they have applied, they’ve been waiting for weeks and nothing, nothing is going on.”
Maldonado says he encourages residents to keep trying, and to continue calling his office so his staff can push the Illinois Department of Employment Security to respond.
As the weather gets warmer, another pandemic-related issue has arisen in the expansive Humboldt Park itself, which has drawn many seeking exercise or social contact on nice spring days.
Maldonado says it’s important for people to not gather, even when they feel pent up at home.
“So this past weekend, there were too many club cars out here. The tennis courts, they were packed. And there is no way you can maintain social distancing with packed tennis courts or too many car club members here,” he said. “Maybe Mayor Lightfoot should drive by Humboldt Park one of these beautiful days, and maybe she’ll stop some of those groups [from] congregating.”
Community Reporting Series
“Chicago Tonight” is expanding its community reporting. We’re hitting the streets to speak with your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and leaders about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. See where we’ve been and what we’ve learned by using the map below. Or select a community using the drop-down menu. Points in red represent our series COVID-19 Across Chicago; blue marks our series “Chicago Tonight” in Your Neighborhood.