Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Commissioners Donna Miller and Brandon Johnson, Bureau Chief Xochitl Flores of the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, and the Family Independence Initiative (FII) announced the launch of the $2.1 million Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Resident Cash Assistance Program to help suburban Cook County residents experiencing financial insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Many families are having a hard time making ends meet due to job loss during the pandemic. With the unemployment numbers rising and many workers furloughed, it’s becoming impossible to live check by check,” said President Preckwinkle. "This program will offer relief to more than 3,000 residents who are experiencing financial hardship and provide some assistance for those who are struggling to pay bills or take care of essential needs.”
Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the COVID-19 Recovery Resident Cash Assistance Program is available to eligible suburban Cook County residents experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. It will provide one-time payments in the amount of $600 to approximately 3,000 households to support residents whose income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level prior to March 1, 2020.
“The Family Independence Initiative is incredibly proud to partner with Cook County to provide much needed cash to families across suburban Cook County via our UpTogether platform," stated Ebony Scott, Partnership Director, Midwest and Rocky Mountain Region. "As infection rates rise in the suburbs, it is more important than ever to ensure that families have the cash they need to keep their families safe and stable. This effort began because of the advocacy and leadership of Commissioner Donna Miller and President Preckwinkle and should serve as an example to leaders across the country who are looking for innovative ways to demonstrate trust in their communities and offer resources in an efficient and cost-effective way."
In additional to announcing the Cash Assistance Program, Cook County continues to leverage its partnerships with organizations providing critical supportive services during the pandemic, including promoting CEDA’s utility assistance programs.
"Working on parallel tracks, these two programs provide much-needed relief to families in suburban Cook County impacted by COVID-19," said Xochitl Flores, Bureau Chief of Economic Development. "The County remains committed to addressing the needs of residents and will continue to create robust programs to address the critical needs.”
Suburban Cook County residents can apply for heat, gas, and electric assistance if they qualify under CEDA’s income eligibility guidelines. In addition to these services, Chicago residents can also apply for water assistance.
"Our utility programs reach many in need during these challenging times especially with winter approaching," stated Harold Rice, Jr., President & Chief Executive Officer, CEDA. "We are pleased that Cook County is helping us promote our much-needed programs."
To qualify for the Cash Assistance Program, applicants must be a resident of suburban Cook County and provide the following documents:
- One form of government issued identification that includes your current residential address or two alternative forms of identification
- Proof of your COVID-19 hardship due to unpaid leave, care for vulnerable or infected relatives, or loss of wages due to business or school closures.
- Proof of household income meeting eligibility requirements.
- Bank information including account and routing number if you choose to direct deposit. You can typically find this on a check.
Documentation will be requested at time of application. The application opens today and closes on November 6, 2020 at 11:59pm CST.
For the utility assistance program, CEDA is providing assistance for the following services:
- Gas & Electric
- Furnace Repair & Replacement
- Water Assistance
The application is open and closes on October 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST.
For more information and to apply for either program, go to: www.cookcountyil.gov/recovery.