COVID-19 Financial Assistance Programs

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County Programs

[Updated May 21, 2020] Community Recovery Initiative:  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic,  the Community Recovery Initiative is a comprehensive economic relief program and consists of a variety of supportive services, including the Community Recovery Fund and the Technical Assistance Network. Each will provide direct financial relief to underserved communities, educational services, and enable access to direct assistance.

State Programs

[Update May 21, 2020] The Business Invest - Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program (“Program”) is an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer has made up to $500 million in deposits available to banks and credit unions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The purpose of this funding is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing. 

Through this program, the Treasurer's Office partners with approved financial institutions to provide loans -- either lower rate loans, or loans to a business or non-profit that would not otherwise qualify -- to Illinois small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund (for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $3 million in 2019 revenue).  Successful applicants will pay nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. Those in our area will go through Accion to apply for a loan. Learn more about the program and apply here. 

State Treasurer Announces Bridge Loan Program: view the 3.23.2020 Press Release and Program Flyer for more information. Through this program, the Treasurer's Office partners with approved financial institutions to provide loans -- either lower rate loans, or loans to a business or non-profit that would not otherwise qualify -- to Illinois small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at the Illinois Treasurers website.

Illinois Department of Revenue Relief from Sales Tax: Short-Term Relief from Penalties for Late Sales Tax Payments for Eating and Drinking Establishments. 

Federal Programs

CARES Act | The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now.  The US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has published an extensive guide, see link below.

Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act | Includes details on: Paycheck Protection Program Loans, Small Business Debt Relief Program (non-disaster loans), Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Grants, and Small Business Tax Provisions.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans

[Updated May 21, 2020]  The PPP is designed to help small businesses & non-profits maintain payroll in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Eligible businesses who enroll in the program will receive a forgivable loan to use for payroll purposes, in addition to helping pay for utilities, rent, mortgage interest payments, and more. PPP applications are to be submitted through participating lenders. Find a lender using the SBA PPP Lender Tool

Those interested in PPP program may listen to these recordings of previous trainings.

PPP Loan Resources from the Small Business Administration (SBA)General Program Overview for the Paycheck Protection Program

If you have applied for a PPP loan but have found your lender non-responsive, you may want to consider other avenues to ensure that your application has a great likelihood of being processed and accepted. It is not uncommon for organizations to have multiple simultaneous PPP applications filed with different lenders.  However, your organization may only receive one PPP loan.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan/Grant Programs

As posted on the SBA Website 5/14/2020:

SBA has resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processing these applications on a first-come, first-served basis. SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.

SBA Small Business Debt Relief Program

The Small Business Administration is providing a program to assist small businesses who have non-disaster SBA loans – namely 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and microloans.  The SBA will cover payments (on principal and interest) in addition to fees for six months.  This program will apply to preexisting loans in these categories, in addition to new borrowers who take out these loans within six months of the CARES Act becoming law. Refer to the links below if you think that your business could benefit from these options: 

Employee Retention Tax Credit 

The CARES Act includes an Employee Retention Tax Credit, designed to encourage employers to retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The IRS describes the credit as a “fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that Eligible Employers pay their employees. This applies to wages paid between March 12, 2020 and January 1, 2021, with a maximum credit for any employee amounting to $5,000. Additional IRS guidance is available here. This credit is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Employer Payroll Tax Deferral

 A provision in the CARES Act allows for the deferral of the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020. These deferred amounts are due in two installments – one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Included deferrable taxes include the employer portion of FICA taxes and half of SECA tax liability. Guidance should be posted soon at the IRS coronavirus webpage.  Deferral is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program.

Paid Sick and Family Leave Tax Credits

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are offering small and mid-size employers more information on refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing their employees paid sick and family leave wages related to COVID-19. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020, gives businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid sick leave and family and medical leave related to COVID-19. Eligible employers can receive a credit in the full amount of the qualified sick leave and family leave wages paid for between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.  Employers can be reimbursed immediately by reducing their federal employment tax deposits. If there are insufficient federal employment taxes to cover the amount of the credits, employers may request an accelerated payment from the IRS. View the FAQs. has coronavirus resources for a wide audience. Those with FHA-insured single-family home mortgages can find helpful information regarding payment assistance.  If you're a HUD-assisted resident, or you are an owner of a multi-tenant building, or are a community stakeholder that utilizes HUD funding, site is a good starting point for information on COVID-19 resources.

Tax Extensions

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) COVID-19 resource page, including information on the Federal tax deadline extension. 

State of Illinois Department of Revenue COVID-19 resource page, including information on the State tax deadline extension.

Business Counseling (+ Assistance with Applications)

 In addition to direct financial assistance to small businesses and non-profits, the recent stimulus packages have included significant funding for enhanced small business counseling services. These organizations are well versed in how to help small businesses succeed and stand ready and willing to help your organization navigate these difficult times. Counseling resources include:

In addition to serving women entrepreneurs, the Women’s Business Development Center is mandated to serve the needs of underserved entrepreneurs, including low-income entrepreneurs. Minority Business Development Agency Business Center | 312-755-2563.


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