5th 'Black and Latino Houses Matter' Phone Bank helps 1,500 callers get back $3.4M

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and ABC7 hosted the final phone bank of the year for Black and Latino Houses Matter on Thursday, December 9.

The fifth phone bank conducted by the Treasurer's Office in 2021 helped nearly 1,500 Cook County taxpayers identify almost $3.4 million in potential refunds and missing exemptions.

About $23 million in refunds were identified for taxpayers during the five phone banks this year.
The phone banks are part of Pappas' effort to preserve homeownership and remove properties from the Tax Sale. A disproportionate number of properties on the list are in majority Black and Latino communities.

Since March 2020, the Treasurer's Office has returned more than $92 million to majority Black communities in Cook County and more than $48 million to majority Latino communities.

"It's so gratifying to see the results of these phone banks with ABC7 as well as the other outreach events I have organized throughout Cook County - and I'm not done," Pappas said. "My office is looking forward to a full calendar of events in 2022 to continue our mission of preserving homeownership and creating generational wealth in communities of color."

Samantha Chatman, consumer investigative reporter with ABC7's I-Team, reported on the phone bank throughout the day.
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