Governor Pritzker Announces $900 Million in Grant Relief Programs

The information in this post was last updated on June 30th, 2020. It will be updated as new information is released.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial assistance programs will provide relief for many renters and homeowners impacted by COVID-19
  • Small businesses experiencing hardships and/or damages as a result of civil unrest will receive economic recovery support
  • Poverty-stricken areas can expect funds to rebuild and serve diverse communities
  • State Grant Support

    On June 17th, Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker announced a wide-ranging package of over $900 million in state grant programs to support the communities and businesses impacted by the COVID-19.

    The pandemic has had an immense economic impact on the residents of Illinois. Many are facing financial hardships and businesses from various industries and sectors continue to face obstacles and strains. The new package of grant programs operate with equity requirements, ensuring that disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) receive their fair share of support.

    “We are in a moment that requires a historic effort to mitigate this virus’s devastating effects on the health and livelihoods of the residents of this state,” said Governor Pritzker.

    Read on for details and eligibility requirements of each program.

    Emergency Rental Assistance Program

    The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is launching a $150 million program with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent.

    The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is expected to reach approximately 30,000 renters who are impacted by the pandemic. The program will launch in August 2020 and run through the end of the year. Additionally, Gov. Pritzker will extend the ongoing residential eviction ban through July 31 to provide a smooth transition into the assistance program.

    To qualify tenants must already carry an unpaid rent balance from March through present-day and certify that the reason they were unable to pay rent was due to a COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. Landlords can expect to be paid on behalf of the tenant and they must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the ERA. This financial assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.

    Emergency Mortage Assistance Program

    IHDA is also launching a separate $150 million program for eligible Illinois homeowners with grants of up to $15,000 to provide support with mortgage payments. The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) is expected to assist approximately 10,000 eligible homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage. The program is expected to launch in August 2020 and provide assistance through the end of the year.

    Homeowners’ income prior to the pandemic cannot exceed 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). Only homeowners with mortgage arrearages, or in forbearance, on or after March 2020 through present-day may be eligible to apply. Eligible homeowners must be able to certify that the reason they could not pay their mortgage in full was due to a COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to the mortgagor’s loan servicer on behalf of the homeowner. This program win operate on a first-come, first-approved basis.

    New Business Interruption Grants Program

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to up to 3,500 businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures.

    The application for BIG will open on Monday, June 22 and IDCEO will begin releasing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers, and is funded by the CARES Act. Click here to apply.

    Small businesses that needed to completely shut down or were drastically restricted will get priority in the first wave of grants.

    We are in a moment that requires a historic effort to mitigate this virus’s devastating effects on the health and livelihoods of the residents of this state

    Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020. An emphasis will also be placed on those businesses that are located in areas that have experienced recent property damage due to civil unrest, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

    The program supports the following:

  • Businesses in DIAs – $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each
  • Bars and Restaurants – $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing at least 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 each
  • Barbershops and Salons – $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers – $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each
  • Distressed Capital Program

    The IDCEO’s new economic recovery program will provide $25 million to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during the recent protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020.

    The money will go toward reimburse businesses for the cost of structural repairs, and will place a priority on small businesses, women- and minority-owned companies, uninsured and underinsured businesses, businesses in communities with historic disinvestment, and businesses with “high community impact” such as grocery stores.

    The Distressed Capital Program will reimburse the costs to repair structural damages, including repairs to storefronts and entrances, improving electrical systems, and restoring exterior work.

    The Rebuild Distressed Communities Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will solicit applications from regional and local organizations that will perform outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors, and provide funds to cover the cost of repairs and building improvements for businesses in their region. The Distressed Capital Program also includes provisions to ensure BEP-certified contractors, including minority and women-owned businesses, are the first in line to do the repair work.

    Applications will be made available on Monday, June 22. Click here to apply.

    Poverty Alleviation Strategies

    The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will provide $32.5 million in an effort to immediately mitigate poverty in Illinois and respond to the needs of communities hit hard by COVID-19 and civil unrest. The program will support more than 73,000 people across the state by building upon contracts and services to target communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The actions will begin in June and extend through the summer.

    Specifically, the IDHS strategies will provide:

  • Unemployed Adults – Stipends of up to $4 million to help rebuild businesses
  • Summer Youth Providers – More than $6 million to empower and engage youth and help rebuild communities
  • Foods Banks – $2 million to expand the capacity to feed hungry families in the hardest hit areas
  • Illinois Black and Brown Farmers – $1 million to increase the availability of fresh food and produce
  • Mental Health Services – $2 million to help meet the increased demand for crisis services and better serve diverse communities
  • Community-Based Organizations – $5 million to provide small grants for healing circles, restorative justice circles, and other healing activities
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – One-time $500 payment to help ensure food security, totaling $11.5 million
  • Additionally, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDA) will expand the Emergency Senior Services Funds by providing up to $5 million to support senior residents in need of meals, groceries, medicine, and medical care. The funding will assist seniors who may not have been able to access necessary supplies due to damages to physical locations in their communities. The department will utilize the statewide case coordinator units (CCUs) throughout the Aging network to take referrals for services from all Aging providers.

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