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Resources for Assistance during COVID-19


Posted  2 months ago  in  Trending

3 MIN READ - Amid state-mandated closures and cancellations, businesses are seeking support and financial relief. Check out the following list of resources and opportunities.

Local Resources

Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund

The fund is a collective effort between Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and the City of Chicago to provide rapid assistance to those within the community who are most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provides essential human services like emergency food, health care, interim housing, rental/mortgage assistance, and childcare, as well as operation support, like cleaning services and supplies. All funds will be allocated to local nonprofit organizations who will disperse services and supplies. A list of funded nonprofit agencies will be provided shortly. Individuals and families in need of support should check back for updates.

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund

The City of Chicago recognizes that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has put a difficult burden on the small business community. As a response to this challenge, the City is establishing a $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will help to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate health crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans up to $50,000. Loan applications will be administered through the City’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) partners. Applications for the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund are now open. If you are interested in applying for a loan, visit here

Chicago Business Tax Payment Deferment 

The City of Chicago will be offering additional financial relief for the business community impacted by COVID-19 by further extending tax payment due dates for restaurants, hotels and other taxpayers by an additional 30 days. To mitigate some of the economic pressure being felt by local businesses, the City will extend tax payment remittances for the months of February, March and April 2020 until June 1.

Cook County Tax Relief Package

Cook County will be waiving fees and fines, as well as deferring tax payments until after May 1, 2020. The county will extend the filing date for home rule taxes to May 1 for the February and March 2020 tax periods. No penalties or interest will be applied during the extension period. That applies to new motor vehicle taxes; use taxes for vehicle dealers; alcohol, amusement and tobacco taxes; gas, parking lot and firearm taxes; and the hotel accommodations tax. 

COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant Program

The City of Chicago is offering assistance for individuals and families impacted by the economic fallout due to Coronavirus. The application process begins Friday, March 27th at 9:00 a.m. until Wednesday, April 1st and 11:59 p.m. All applicants will be entered into a lottery. Applicants can complete this form and expect to hear back from the Department of Housing regarding their application in the days following the close of the application. 

Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge

The Department of Housing and City of Chicago pledge affirms lenders and landlords may offer eligible renters and mortgage holders deferred payment agreements and other financial relief in response to the economic fallout of COVID-19 and continuing after the pandemic. Find more information on the pledge, including the complete list of participating lenders here.

Arts Community Resources - Local, State and National

Find a list of resources compiled by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, including grant and loan programs as well as resources for virtual arts programming.

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund

The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the broader philanthropic community. Grant applications for artists, artisans and cultural organizations are now open. Individual artists and artisans – including stage and production members and part-time cultural workers – experiencing an urgent need will be able to apply for one-time grants of $1,500 distributed by 3Arts. Grants will be awarded through a lottery system and will be disseminated quickly. Additionally, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations of any size will be able to apply for relief through the Arts Work Fund. Based on their demonstrated financial need, organizations will be awarded grants from $6,000 – $30,000. Artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19 are urged to apply for grants through www.artsforillinois.org.

Broken Cherry resource list

Broken Cherry is compiling an ongoing list of resources for service industry and hospitality professionals. In addition to checking resources you could be eligible for, be sure you submit any GoFundMe pages or other fundraisers for your business to get included on this page.

Dining at a Distance

If you’re a restaurant open for business, submit your delivery information, menus, neighborhood, and more to be included on this list. Diners can use this aggregator to find what restaurants in the Chicago area are open for take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery during the lockdown of Chicago’s restaurants and bars during COVID-19. 

Takeout COVID

Takeout COVID lists open restaurants that are selling wine, beer, and food. Restaurants can add themselves for free.


If you are a parent and an essential worker on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, you can get free access to Sittercity Premium for up to three months.

Yelp Resources for Business Owners

Yelp is providing $25 million in relief with an additional $1 million in partnership with GoFundMe, primarily focused on supporting independent, local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees and free advertising, products, and services during this period. Yelp also provides relief for restaurants and bars impacted by the Coronavirus and business owners can update Yelp pages with temporary hour changes, closures, and takeout options.

Transportation Relief

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced multiple actions the City is taking to make travel easier and more affordable for frontline healthcare workers, provide some financial relief for struggling taxi and ride-hail drivers, and help all residents maintain access to essential services.

Millennium Garages Relief Rates

Millennium Garages is now offering special discounted drive up rates through May 15, only $12 for 12 hours & $18 for 24 hours. No promo code, advanced purchase or restrictions.  Just pull a ticket, park and pay at the pay stations upon exit. 

State Resources

State of Illinois Small Business Administration Loans

The SBA will work directly with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Apply online.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Learn more about unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 in the State of Illinois. Find answers to questions like: What if I’m temporarily laid off due to COVID-19?

Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund

The United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, are establishing the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds from individual, corporate, and foundation donors to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.The application process is not yet open, but those interested can sign up for updates here. More details about the fund can be found and donating can be found here.

Illinois Liquor Control Commission

Illinois Liquor Control Commission has announced new guidance on the dispute processes for retailer delinquencies and product returns

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Illinois Small Businesses

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DECO) is working diligently to secure access to helpful resources for small businesses throughout the State of Illinois and has compiled these helpful links regarding COVID 19 resources for small businesses.

Illinois Events Coalition

Created by event professionals throughout the state, the Illinois Events Coalition is aiming to raise awareness for how the vendors, consultants, contractors, gig workers, and small businesses that comprise the events industry are and will be affected by COVID-19. Learn more about the coalition here

Employment Opportunities

Chicago Loop Alliance is compiling a list of organizations with job opportunities during COVID-19. Please note this is not a comprehensive list and opportunities are evolving. The employment opportunities can be found here

National Resources

Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act

The federal government approved $484 billion in COVID-19 relief efforts, with over $380 billion of funding for small-businesses. This bill increased efforts and funds from the C.A.R.E.S. Act. Review the key provisions of the new bill here. The full text of the bill can be found here.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible. Learn more to see if you meet program size standards.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (C.A.R.E.S.)

The federal government passed a relief package of $2.1 trillion to support individuals, businesses, and government impacted by COVID-19. Review the key provisions here. A small business owner's guide to the act can be found here. The full text of the bill can be found here.

U.S. Travel Association

In times like these, it is important for Congress to hear from their constituents about the impact a decline in travel is having on local workers and businesses. Your outreach is critical to U.S. Travel's advocacy efforts that will inform policymaking and inspire congressional action. Chicago Loop Alliance submitted a signed letter of support on March 20, 2020, requesting miscellaneous support (workforce stabilization fund, employment grants, business stabilizations, SBA loan optimization, and tax relief). Voice your support here.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. Find business guidance and loan resources here.

USBG National Charity Foundation: Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

This program offers financial assistance for bartenders and spouses or children of bartenders who experience a catastrophic event or emergency. Please read through the Selection Criteria and Eligibility Requirements for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, and if you believe that you are eligible, please fill out the application, making sure to include the required supporting documents. You do not need to be a USBG member to apply for a philanthropic grant.

Rehab Spot Addiction Recovery Centers

If you or a loved one is in the battle against addiction, treatment centers are still open during the spread of COVID-19. Many people are finding themselves turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms of drugs and alcohol to deal with stress, anxiety and uncertainty. You don’t have to go through this time by yourself. Rehabilitation centers are still open, providing essential treatment for people in need. Learn about treatment, rehab centers and more. 

Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act

The Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act, legislation introduced by Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, would prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The plan would provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and the economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to March 1, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.

One Fair Wage

If you're a tipped worker (restaurant workers, delivery drivers, etc), you may sign up and receive $213 cash from the One Fair Wage. One Fair Wage has been working to support our service industry worker to the best of their ability. Learn more here.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

IRS Tax Filing Extension

The Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for filing from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can defer filing, no matter income or amount owed. The Treasury Department will continue updating information and monitoring issues related to COVID-19.