In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chicago has joined the State of Illinois in issuing a Stay at Home order effective Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CT. In addition, City of Chicago facilities are closed to the public. Staff are prioritizing essential services to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees. As such, we may be delayed in responding to non-essential inquiries and service requests. To stay up to date on the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 response, please visit the City Coronavirus Response Center site.
What happens after I complete the application?
After you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email from Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana. After the application closes on May 4th, eligible applicants with complete applications will be placed in a lottery. Winning applicants will be will be assigned to one of the following Grant Administrators that will validate eligibility prior to issuing the grant.
Winning applicants will be notified by one of these organizations by May 11th.
How are grant recipients selected?
Grant recipients will be selected via a lottery process, with grants distributed equitably based on population across eligible Community Areas.
How soon will I receive my grant if I am selected?
The application will close on Monday, May 4th. Winners will be notified by May 11th and should receive funds within two business days of notification.
How were eligible Community Areas determined?
To be eligible, 65 percent of the individuals in a Community Area must have an annual income below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
How can I check whether my business is located in an eligible Community Area?
What can I use the grant for?
Grant proceeds must be used for working capital (rent, payroll, utilities, taxes, insurance, operations).
If I have multiple businesses in different communities, can I get multiple grants?
Each business owner is eligible for only one grant.
Who from my business needs to complete the grant application?
The application should be completed and submitted by the owner of the business. If 2 or more owners have equal ownership in the business, then one of the owners must complete the application.
Are undocumented businesses eligible for a grant?
Yes. Undocumented immigrants and green card holders who own businesses are welcome to apply. A form of identification is required. Valid state-issued IDs, CityKey, consular ID, passport, or other forms of identification will be accepted.
What types of businesses are not eligible for the grant?
The following businesses are not currently eligible for a grant: chain businesses; not-for-profit social clubs or not-for-profit organizations that have a national affiliation; branch banks; pay-day loan stores; pawn shops; astrology, palm reading; liquor stores, night clubs; adult bookstores, massage parlors, adult entertainment venues; track wagering facilities; trailer-storage yards and junk yards; any uses similar to those listed above.
Are non-profits eligible for the grant?
Yes, non-profits are eligible. The Executive Director should be listed as the business owner in the application and the grant will be made out to the organization.
Why do I have to submit my banking info and is my information safe?
Submitting banking information helps us process payments for grant recipients as quickly as possible. The online application process is fully secure and you can also be assured that none of your information will be sold.
Are independent contractors included in the employee count?
No, only W-2 employees are included in the number of employees.
Do part-time employees count towards the requirement to have four or fewer employees?
To be eligible, a business must have four or fewer Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees. Part-time employees contribute to the FTE count.
As of what date must a business have four or fewer employees?
Businesses must have four or fewer employees during the majority of 2019.
What if I need help completing my application?
Questions can be submitted via these webforms:
Additionally, Chicago’s Small Business Navigators can provide individualized support for this application and other financial options.