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Congresswoman Pushes For Solutions Amid Persistent Mail Issues In Rogers Park, Edgewater

CHICAGO (CBS) -- We've been digging for months into mail delays that are frustrating residents across the city - to say the least.

On Tuesday night, CBS 2's Tara Molina's investigation took us to one neighborhood where help is finally on the way.

Jackie Liss said she did not receive one piece of mail in more than a month. Her congresswoman's office says she is not alone.

Now, they are finally getting somewhere in addressing issues, they say, started pre-pandemic.

There are mail customers outside the Rogers Park Post Office at 1723 W. Devon Ave. all the time, according to those who need it.

Jackie Liss is one of them.

"I kind of feel helpless," Liss said.

Liss lives in Edgewater, and just went more than 40 days without one piece of mail.

"There's things that I'm waiting for," she said. "I've gone to online bill payments just to make sure I'm not waiting."

Liss works in sales - from home, now. She said the empty mailbox is already robbing her of holiday cheer.

"I was waiting and excited, during these times that are so challenging, to get a nice card in the mail," she said.

That is just part of why Liss is one of hundreds who have called the office of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) for answers.

"I was the 30th person in this ZIP code calling that day," she said.

Liss said she was told letter carriers are being added to fill staffing gaps left by COVID-19 – with workers out sick.

The congresswoman's office confirmed that, saying they hope the added staff target delays and issues that started pre-pandemic. Schakowsky issued this statement:

"In the last few weeks, I've heard from hundreds of my constituents who have experience delays in their mail delivery. As of this week, we have started to see some improvements in mail delivery in Rogers Park, Edgewater, and West Ridge. Some constituents who had not been receiving mail for days or weeks are now seeing some deliveries. However, there are still many others in those neighborhoods who are still not getting their mail, often for a week or two at a time. People are waiting for unemployment insurance letters, checks, bills, prescription medications, and other important mail. We need to make sure that people get their backlogged mail, and that they start getting regular mail delivery service.

"These neighborhoods have had a history of problems with USPS that pre-date the COVID pandemic. I am in contact with the local leadership of the Post Office and will continue to push for solutions. We will remain vigilant and will do everything we can to make sure that people get the mail they are relying on, now more than ever."

We checked-in with USPS on that, asking what is being done in other neighborhoods who need help. Spokesman Tim Norman said the situation has improved in Rogers Park, and also mentioned another Post Office in West Town:

"Mailing and delivering challenges at Rogers Park have improved. ZIP Code 60647 served by the Roberto Clemente station is expected to be current by close of business tomorrow. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change daily.

"We continue to encourage customers that have a concern with their mail delivery, questions about specific pieces of mail, and/or other service issues to contact their local Postal station or our Consumer Affairs office at (312) 983-8403.

"In regard to hiring, we have new hires coming in every day and assigned to different locations. There have been new employees sent to Rogers Park and other areas and flexed to whatever area they are needed most. During the holiday season, we staff additional employees in all our operations to handle the enormous increase in mail volume."

Molina has repeatedly asked USPS to share which ZIP codes are having the most trouble right now, so people waiting on mail know if they're in an area with staffing issues. The USPS did not address those requests Tuesday night.

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