New Grant Program Assists Businesses Affected by Civil Unrest

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) joined the Local Initiatives Support Group (LISC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) in announcing the opening of applications and plans to coordinate reimbursement and capital repairs as part of the Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program. The new program will direct $25 million in funding to help cover the costs of civil-unrest-related repairs while also supporting new investments in economically distressed communities across Illinois. To ensure that communities facing the most acute damages are able to receive support in applying, qualifying and receiving repair work, the State of Illinois has teamed up with local organizations, LISC and CNI, to expedite the review process and ensure assistance follows the needs.

“We know that for many communities and businesses facing unprecedented burdens set forth during the pandemic, recent events of civil unrest have dealt a devastating blow that puts our communities, and our economy, at risk,” said DCEO Director Erin B. Guthrie. “Under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, we’ve worked from the beginning of this crisis to deploy funding widely to those who need it most. This new program leverages our Illinois capital program to direct new investments in community resiliency and help small businesses and community organizations working to restore our commercial corridors to their former glory.”

Selected via a competitive process, LISC and CNI will conduct outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors to perform repairs, and provide funds to cover the cost of completed repairs and building improvements for businesses in eligible communities across the state. Reimbursements can range from $1,000 to $200,000 depending on eligibility and the extent of damages. Additionally, LISC will host the application for the grants on its website.

“LISC is committed to supporting and strengthening communities by increasing opportunities for residents who live, work and do business throughout Illinois,” said Meghan Harte, Executive Director of LISC Chicago. “We are thrilled to be a part of Rebuild Distressed Communities and continue to invest in the prosperity and wellbeing of businesses that need it most.”

To ensure equity in the program, priority for funding will be given to small businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, and essential – such as grocery stores – and businesses in communities that have experienced historic disinvestment. The program also prioritizes contractors from minority, women, and veteran owned businesses to perform the work.

“We know businesses and their employees are hurting during this difficult time, particularly those in communities where resources are scarce,” said David Doig, President of CNI. “CNI is honored to be joining forces with the DCEO and LISC to help businesses in under-resourced communities gain access to the financial support they need to recover as quickly as possible.”

To submit an application or for more information, visit the LISC website at https://www.lisc.org/chicago/regional-stories/rebuild-illinois-distressed- communities-grant/.

The first round of RDC funds are expected to be released in November. LISC and CNI have brought aboard local contractors to conduct repairs, which will help streamline the repairs for local businesses facing losses while ensuring local firms are first in line for the work. All projects will honor state BEP goals.

To assist small businesses, community organizations, and nonprofits with navigating the application process for RDC, DCEO will team up with LISC and CNI to host a series of webinars detailing the grant opportunities, required documentation, and more. The following webinars are scheduled:

  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020 3:30-4:30 p.m
  • Friday, October 30, 2020 12-1 p.m. (En Español)
  • Friday, November 6, 2020 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

This announcement is the latest in a series of grants made available by the State of Illinois for small businesses in Illinois suffering losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Namely, this includes over $1 billion in funding opportunities launched to help small businesses and communities facing losses as a result of COVID-19. These programs have a special focus on equity and the most heavily impacted communities and businesses. This includes the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program – now accepting applications for $220 million available for small business grants. More information on these programs can be found on DCEO’s website or by following the department on @ILDCEO.

 

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