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.

    Innovation DuPage can help transform your idea into a viable commercial venture. Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to explore your next steps. If you are interested in connecting with entrepreneurs like you, check out our public events.

    The Power of We

    Key Takeaways

  • Economic development agencies are continuing to take actionable steps to help local businesses by providing resources and assistance
  • ID and our partners strive to support diverse communities and their businesses with employment and financial opportunities for POC
  • All entities are committed to serving the entrepreneurial community and coming together, boundless by the Power of We
  • Connect to entrepreneurial support services starting with a 1-on-1 consultation.

    The success or failure of a small business often depends on the individual at the helm of the venture. However, a natural problem arises when these entrepreneurs are exposed to new business responsibilities outside of their experience portfolio. Strategic planning, managing finances, utilizing digital marketing channels and establishing proper sales processes are only a few of the obstacles that business owners face. All these disparate areas challenge the entrepreneur’s individual ability to succeed. These difficulties are only amplified by the public health crisis that we are currently facing.

    Fortunately, operating your own business does not have to mean going it alone. There are regional organizations that collaborate to provide you and your business with the support services you need. This critical network of Business First Responders was recently highlighted in the Business Ledger’s article, “Working Together to Keep Business as Usual”.

    Pre-Downturn Collaboration

    It didn’t take COVID-19 to usher in the level of collaboration that we are experiencing during this downturn- the seeds for these channels were planted well before that. Innovation DuPage was created to act as the connective tissue of our region’s entrepreneurial support services. In its first year in business, ID focused on connecting founders to regional resources. This gives entrepreneurs the ability to scale at a faster pace without the steep price tag.

    Gray Matters Games (GMG), a board game company and inaugural ID member, is the perfect example of what these partnerships are able to accomplish. They worked with students in a marketing and strategy class at Elmhurst College on a launch plan for their game “Office Decathlon.” Through this relationship, GMG also hired a marketing intern from the College. At the College of DuPage (COD), GMG collaborated with a team of students from the graphic design program and brought their latest game “Alphabet Race” from concept to testing stage. Once again, this connection led the company to a new hire – a brilliant design contractor that’s been helping them on a number of projects. But that’s not all. Through ID, GMG linked up with the Executive MBA program at Northern Illinois University to create an international marketing plan. This will give GMG an opportunity to diversify their offerings and expand their retail footprint.

    When the world seemed to turn upside down, the interlocked relationships have helped to keep companies afloat. Regional economic development organizations came together to offer business owners a ‘breath of fresh air’ while the concept of a ‘new normal’ became inescapable.

    Operating in a Time of Dramatic Change

    “Collaboration between regional workforce boards like workNet DuPage, economic development agencies like Choose DuPage and College of DuPage’s Business Development Center (BDC) is critical. These entities are working with regional chambers of commerce, the business incubator Innovation DuPage (ID) and a number of colleges and universities to continue the necessary support of the small businesses that are impacted most during these uncertain times.”

    As the COVID-19 crisis enveloped the country, the COD Business Development Center was the first on the front lines to assist businesses in our community. The rush for financial relief was focused on “[helping] companies apply for payroll protection, business loans and develop contingency plans”. Since mid-March, they have assisted hundreds of clients and have run 29 webinars. They are a lifeline of support at a time when assistance is needed more than ever before.

    Choose DuPage similarly took up the call to action. When the federal government’s dollars allocated toward the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and the Emergency Disaster Injury Loans (EDIL) dried up, small business owners had few places to turn to. Choose DuPage and DuPage County’s response was to launch the Small Business Relief Program. County businesses were given an opportunity to apply for grants that assisted with employee retention payroll, utilities and rent. Meant for businesses with less than 15 employees, the $1.5 million dollars allocated toward the program gave small business owners yet another opportunity to stay afloat.

    The County’s workforce development agency, workNet DuPage, was at the forefront as well. They provided employers with training assistance to retrain their internal talent pool, assisted with recruitment support efforts and offered a number of resources to assist business owners. They performed all of these functions all whilst helping job seekers connect with funding for job training and aiding laid-off workers in applying for unemployment insurance.

    The list of support services goes on and on. What is most important is not the individual work that these organizations have carried out, it is the collective effort behind them. Though none of these organizations can fully mitigate the impact of this global pandemic, together they are able to minimize the long-term repercussions.

    Inclusion of Diverse Communities

    Our responsibility to support small business owners from minority communities is critical. They are suffering from this public health and economic crisis disproportionately. Resources and programs to help bolster their businesses will help to increase employment and financial opportunities for POC communities.

    The COD Continuing Education department, BDC and ID are collaborating on English Learning Acquisition Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ELA ICAPS) business classes. Program participants are first-generation immigrants who either have established businesses or are aspiring entrepreneurs. The course covers vital business topics including leadership, strategic planning, finance and sales. Simultaneously, participants are receiving incubation services from Innovation DuPage that includes 24/7 access to our coworking space (under ‘normal’ circumstances), mentorship and webinars/workshops. Though this program was originally slated to take place in-person, the necessary adjustments were made to continue delivery of high-quality instruction online.

    The Construction Industry Owner-to-CEO program is a collaborative effort put forth by the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) and ID. This offering is geared towards assisting POC, female and veteran-owned construction businesses. Subject areas include: contract bid process, project management, insurance & bonding and finance. Like so many others during this pandemic, the construction industry has been hit hard. Paving a path toward recovery will not be easy for any of these businesses. It will require an increased understanding of their industry, connections to new opportunities and support from peers and mentors. These are the very tenets of the Owner-to-CEO program.

    An Eye Toward the Future

    Though social distancing keeps us physically further apart, regional economic development agencies and partners are coming closer together than ever before. Together, we are dedicated to serving the entrepreneurial community. We will continue our work to bring you the high-quality programs you need. No matter what new challenges arise, we will be here to help guide you through.

    The small business community is made up of our neighbors, friends and family members. When the community comes together with a resolve to adapt and innovate, the Power of We is boundless.

    Connect with Us

    Innovation DuPage can help transform your idea into a viable commercial venture. Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to explore your next steps. If you are interested in connecting with entrepreneurs like you, check out our public events.