Courtesy of AustinTalks

Applications for Chicago’s new cash assistance program will be accepted starting at 9 a.m. Monday, April 25 and ending by midnight Friday, May 13.

The Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot is a $31.5 million program that will support 5,000 low-income households with $500 monthly payments for one year.

The program is one of the largest monthly cash assistance programs in the nation, city officials say.

Residents can apply at any point during the three-week window to be considered for the lottery that will be held in May. Application assistance will be available in-person, online with chat support and through a phone hotline in multiple languages.

To be eligible for the lottery, residents must live in Chicago, be 18 years or older, have experienced economic hardship related to COVID-19, and have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (ie $57,575 for a household of 3).

Only one applicant per household can apply and be entered into the lottery. The lottery is designed to prioritize individuals living in poverty (at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level) and communities with pre-existing economic hardship to align with the equitable recovery goal of the Chicago Recovery Plan.

“The Chicago Resilient Communities pilot is a way for us to efficiently support the communities and households that were hardest hit by the pandemic with dignity as well as build on our work to eradicate poverty,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services also announced the selection of the following agencies to help run the program:

  • Pilot Administrator: GiveDirectly with AidKit. GiveDirectly is an international nonprofit with expertise in administering one-time and monthly cash transfer programs internationally and in the U.S. for COVID-19 response.
  • Outreach and Recruitment Lead: YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Founded in 1876, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a social enterprise committed to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The YWCA will be responsible for coordinating community-based outreach for the pilot to ensure this opportunity reaches Chicagoans in need. 
  • Local Outreach Delegates: In addition to the YWCA, the city will also partner with five other delegates to execute targeted outreach strategies to specific populations, such as the housing insecure, undocumented residents, people with disabilities, veterans, unaccompanied youth, returning residents and non-English speakers. These delegates include Center for Changing Lives; Phalanx Family Services; Pui Tak Center; Spanish Coalition for Housing; and United African Organization.
  • The city is also partnering with the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab to complete a study on the impacts of the pilot and residents’ experiences. All applicants will be asked about their interest in participating in this study; participation in the study is 100% optional and will not affect selection decisions for the pilot.

The Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot is one initiative within the broader $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan to promote safe and thriving communities and an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19.