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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden took executive action Friday to speed a stopgap measure of financial relief to millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic while Congress begins to consider his much larger $1.9 trillion package.

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(WTTW News)

The Southwest Side community is home to many essential workers and has been a hot spot for the coronavirus throughout the pandemic.

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(WTTW News)

The number of distribution centers being built in the Chicago area is on the rise. Supporters say they can create jobs in places that have long faced disinvestment and unemployment. But critics say they aren’t always good jobs.

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In this Dec. 10, 2020, file photo, a "Now Hiring" sign hangs on the front wall of a Harbor Freight Tools store in Manchester, N.H. The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The Labor Department's report Thursday underscored that President Joe Biden has inherited an economy that faltered this winter as virus cases spiked, cold weather restricted dining and federal rescue aid expired.

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(WTTW News)

A federal judge has permanently banned Illinois’ panhandling law from being enforced on the basis the statute violates the First Amendment. The case was part of a yearlong effort by advocates, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, to eliminate such laws.

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(WTTW News)

When Illinois required businesses to shut down last March because of the coronavirus pandemic, many workers were left without an income. Now, researchers say they are seeing a dramatic increase in poverty.

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A still image taken from “Firsthand: Living in Poverty.” (WTTW)

Poverty is not just an urban issue. We speak with Lake County resident Gary Ladehoff, who is featured in WTTW’s new documentary series “Firsthand: Living in Poverty,” and Maggie Morales of the Lake County Community Foundation.

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 A still image taken from “Firsthand: Living in Poverty.” (WTTW)

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, communities of color across Illinois and in Chicago were experiencing an epidemic of poverty. We discuss the root causes of poverty and what public officials are doing to address it.

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(nosheep / Pixabay)

What are basic income payments, and why do some advocates say they can help families in poverty reach their financial goals? We discuss the concept as part of WTTW’s new “Firsthand: Living in Poverty” initiative.

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(WTTW News)

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that one-third of Chicago’s Latinos — the majority of them women — are living in poverty. We explore the relationship between poverty and domestic violence.

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(WTTW News)

North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side has faced challenges of economic depression, unemployment and violence for many years, all before the pandemic exacerbated those issues last spring. 

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President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic during an event at The Queen theater, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum)

Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. 

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Andrew Walcott, owner of Fusion East Caribbean & Soul Food restaurant, poses for a photo at the restaurant in East New York neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Walcott had to furlough four employees at his restaurant just before Christmas, after New York state stopped allowing indoor dining. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)

The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. Before the pandemic, weekly applications typically numbered around 225,000. 

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(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that Illinois’ ban on evictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic would be extended once again as the COVID-19 pandemic rages, despite the start of efforts to distribute vaccines.

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(WTTW News)

On the day that Illinois reached the unfortunate milestone of surpassing one million cases of the coronavirus, we go to one of the Chicago communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic. 

Essential workers have kept our economy going, now we want to hear what they need to keep going

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Pharmacist Tim Riley is one of more than a million workers who have kept showing up to work in person to keep the economy going. (Sandy Bressner / Shaw Local)

Thousands of workers around Chicago have been labeled “essential” to maintaining our health, educational and economic infrastructures. We want to hear from those essential workers about what they need to keep going.