Gov. Pritzker announces $257M in emergency relief funding for those impacted by COVID-19

Illinois News

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker responds to a question after announcing that three more people have died in the state from from Covid-19 virus, two Illinois residents and one woman visiting from Florida, during a news conference Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WEHT) Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has announced $275 million in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) programs. This funding includes an additional $90 million allocated via the CARES Act, allowing the state to increase eligibility for these programs to 1 million income-qualified Illinoisans.

Eligible Illinois residents and families can apply to receive assistance with food, rent, utilities, temporary shelter, medicine and other essential household services. To learn more about these expanded offerings and to fill out new remote applications made live today, visit www.helpillinoisfamilies.com.

With the passage of the State’s FY21 budget, an additional $90 million in federal CARES Act funding will be allocated for community assistance programming, making way for a total $275 million investment that will help families impacted by the crisis. To provide additional relief for families in the face of COVID-19, the Governor’s budget also increases the eligibility income threshold up to 200 percent of federal poverty level.

To connect Illinoisans with expanded program offerings, DCEO has launched a new remote application process that will provide applicants the option to begin the intake process online or over the phone with the assistance of a live agent. The state’s new website and call center will be accessible for all residents.

Applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted. In the coming weeks DCEO will partner with its network of 35 statewide Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to conduct outreach to high-need communities to let them know about this critical funding available, and to inform them of easy steps they can take to apply immediately.

Qualifying participants could receive hundreds of dollars in relief support. Last year, the average household qualifying for LIHEAP received $600 in assistance.  Expanded eligibility for CSBG takes effect immediately. New LIHEAP eligibility will come online at the end of July, residents can still apply for 2020 programing through June 30.

Residents who believe they may be eligible are encouraged to visit the website and follow easy steps to apply immediately. The State is reminding applicants of the following documentation required for applying, depending on type of assistance being sought:

  • Proof of employment (paystubs) for the head of the household for the last 30 days.
  • Copy of current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly).
  • Copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are not included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.

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(This story was originally published on June 15, 2020)

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