Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and ABC7 Chicago Host “Black and Latino Homes Matter” Telephone Bank for Property Tax Refund
In an effort to help those who may not know if these funds are owed to them, the Cook County Treasurer’s Office is holding its fourth telephone bank on Tuesday to connect taxpayers with their money.
However, this time the focus is on Latino homeowners during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Any owner in Cook County can call. However, for Tuesday’s telephone banking, a particular focus is on communicating with Latino landlords during Hispanic Heritage Month.
The last three telephone banks have helped homeowners recover over $ 16 million.
Juan Moreno and his wife Debbie have lived in Lansing, Illinois for two decades. They have seen how expensive it can be to own a home in Cook County.
“We have managed to be here for 20 years, even though property taxes keep going up,” Juan said.
This year has been more difficult than ever for the couple after Juan was fired from his job due to the pandemic. Debbie also had to find a second job to help make up the difference.
They are among those who did not know that a lifeline was at hand.
“I got the phone call and it was my friend. She said, ‘Hey Debbie, I have this number, it’s ABC7 News. You should call her because you can get your money back. taxes, ”said a sad Debbie.
Debbie’s friend was talking about Black and Latino Houses Matter Phone Bank, where owners in Cook County called to find out if the county owed them any money.
The idea came from Treasurer Maria Pappas last year after her data revealed more than 36,000 properties in Cook County were at risk of being sold due to unpaid property taxes.
“So once a year, when taxes haven’t been paid, they’re sold in a tax sale. That date is November 5, ”Pappas said. “They are in great danger, because of the 36,000 packages on the list, 75% are in Latin American and African American neighborhoods … there is something really wrong here.”
If you’re one of the people in the county with unpaid property taxes, Pappas said his office may owe you money.
For example, if you did not claim your senior exemptions, you could be owed thousands of dollars; or if you and your mortgage company paid taxes at the same time, it is a double payment and you may be entitled to cash back.
The treasurer’s office is sitting on more than $ 100 million in refunds just waiting to be claimed.
She said that for some homeowners in the Latin American community, there is an underlying fear that she hopes to resolve with this phone bank.
“Fear enters any government building,” Pappas said. “There is a fear of entering any government building – and of being undocumented. There is a fear. We took it out. We got rid of it.”
Pappas also went door-to-door to homes and businesses to inform people in Black and Latin American communities of their exemptions.
In Pilsen, Alfredo Del Toro, owner of Gallery Hair Design, was extremely concerned about his high property tax bill of $ 5,700, but he never asked for his homeowner’s exemption, senior citizen exemption, or freeze. seniors.
After applying and filling out the paperwork, he learned that the county actually owed him $ 4,700, which brought his big property tax bill down to just $ 1,000.
“Good, good! Very, very good. [I’m] happy for my dad too, ”Del Toro’s son said.
Down the street in Wagner Bakery, owner Ezequiel Flores thought he owed $ 2,400 in property taxes, but after claiming his senior exemptions he learned Cook County owed him $ 4.00
Back in Lansing, the Morenos took their friend’s advice and called the telephone bank to see if they owed any money and found out that they had missed their homeowner exemptions four years ago and that they had received a huge refund.
They received four checks totaling $ 8,000.
We said, ‘Okay! It was at the right time because he wasn’t working, “said Debbie,” and when we got that we thought it was for real. “
The Morenos have said they will use the money to pay other bills and have a romantic night out this weekend.
Here are the bank details of the phone:
Dated: Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Site: Cook County Treasurer’s Office
Phone number: 312. 603. 5105
Samantha Chatman, consumer investigation reporter with ABC 7’s I-Team, will report on the Phone Bank throughout the day. A team from the Treasurer’s Office, fluent in Spanish, Polish, Chinese and English, will take care of:
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