New State Resources for Businesses & Individuals


This week, the state of Illinois introduced three new resources for businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19:

  • Business Interruption Grants

  • Help for Illinois Families

  • Emergency mortgage and rental assistance programs.


Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG):


The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (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 are located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (these areas have not been announced yet).


Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship since March, as demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020.


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 1,000 grants of up to $20,000

  • 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

DCEO will make the application for BIG available on Monday, June 22nd.


More information on the program is available here.


Help for Illinois Families:


DCEO has also launched a new initiative to help Illinois families access and afford home energy assistance and other essential services during COVID-19. Effective immediately, the Help for Illinois Families initiative is implementing an online Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) pre-applications to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to start the application process remotely and to determine eligibility. For FY21, more people will be eligible in order to assist additional households needing support due to challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. 


This initiative also remains available for all qualifying low-income households, regardless of how they may be affected COVID-19. Eligible families may qualify for hundreds of dollars of support; all applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.


CSBG is available immediately. LIHEAP expansions do not begin until July 27th. More information on the program is available here.


Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance:

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is launching a $150 million program to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is expected to provide approximately 30,000 renters who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic with $5,000 grants. Eligible 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. The assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant and as a condition of accepting the assistance, landlords must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the ERA.


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. Homeowners' income prior to the pandemic cannot exceed 120% of the area median income (AMI). Eligible homeowners must have 1) an unpaid mortgage balance on or after March 2020 through present-day and 2) the ability 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.


Both programs will launch in August 2020 and run through the end of the year. Both programs will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted. Governor Pritzker will extend the ongoing residential eviction ban through July 31 to provide a smooth transition into the assistance programs.


Additional information is not available yet, please continue to check the IDHA website here for information when it's available.

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