News from the Reference Desk Category: Financial aid

IL Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program begins June 23

From the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO):

DCEO will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July.
In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic and are located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs). 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.
Specifically, the program includes support for:

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

The application for BIG will be available on Tuesday, June 23–keep checking site for updates.

Cook County Community Recovery Loan Fund Now Accepting Applications

Cook County has launched an initiative to provide economic relief to small businesses and independent contractors in response to COVID-19. Beginning today, the Community Recovery Loan Fund is accepting applications. The $10 million fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors. The fund is only available in Suburban Cook County. Application deadline is June 17, 2020
Who can apply?
Small Businesses  are eligible if they are: 
  • Employing 25 or fewer employees
  • Earning less than $3 million in annual revenue
  • Located in suburban Cook County, and
  • Revenues have decreased more than 25% as a result of COVID-19
Independent Contractors  are eligible if you are:
  • Making at least half of your yearly income in 1099 contract work 
  • Earning less than $100,000 annually 
  • Residing in suburban Cook County 

Spanish Language Resources and Tools from the CFPB

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018, the Hispanic population in the U.S. was made up of just under 60 million people, or nearly one-fifth of the nation’s population. The Consumer Financial protection Bureau (CFPB) has a selection of financial education tools and resources for our nation’s diverse Hispanic and Latino community that are available in both English and Spanish. It recognizes the great variation in the needs, interests, and financial well-being of Hispanic and Latino households. Its resources are intended to be useful for individuals and families during many different stages of their economic life, as they pursue the goals and aspirations that are important to them.

Tip of the Month: New Protections for Servicemembers and Veterans

In May 2018, the President signed new protections for servicemembers into law.  In addition to requiring free security freezes and one-year fraud alerts at the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, this law also addresses a number of key financial issues for the military, including:

  • -Holding lenders to more stringent requirements when they participate in VA’s refinance programs
  • -Ensuring continued foreclosure protections for servicemembers up to one year after they leave active duty
  • -Prohibiting medical debt that should have been paid by the VA to be reported as part of a veteran’s credit history
  • -Providing free credit monitoring for active duty military, including the national guard

Get more information about these protections here.

Are You Ready For Some Financial Football?

Already missing your weekly pigskin fix? Well, you can hang on a bit longer AND increase your financial literacy with this new game from Visa and the NFL! They’ve teamed up to help teach financial concepts with Financial Football, a fast-paced, interactive game that engages students while teaching them money management skills. The fall 2018 release features new 3D graphics and game changing opportunities with audibles, blitzes and game breaking plays. Are you ready for the new game?