Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Announcing the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund

LISC is taking swift action in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to 
mitigate economic impact on residents in the hundreds of communities where we work. 
We are launching the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund to assemble and deploy 
resources to our local partners, small businesses and residents who are being hit hardest. 
The Fund will deliver operating capital, emergency subsidies and IT support, as well as technical assistance, to keep our partners and their communities strong and functioning through this unprecedented situation. Find details here.

Beware of scams, frauds and schemes

The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). Find more information here.

Families First Cornoavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Requirements

Effective tomorrow, April 1st employers must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. All employers covered by the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (i.e., certain public sector employers and private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees) are required to post this notice.
More information and downloadable poster versions of the notice are available here.

IMPORTANT: Given many are working remotely, an employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Lots of tasty choices for delivery or carry out here on the southwest side. Find a downloadable list here.

The National Main Street Center Survey

The National Main Street Center is gathering data on how small businesses across the country are holding up, and we would love to hear from small business owners in Chicago via a short survey.

The survey takes about five minutes to complete, and we’re collecting responses through 5pm PT on Friday, April 3rd.  Individual survey responses, including any personal information, will be confidential, and results will be presented only in aggregated, summary form.

Strong data helps make us stronger advocates to Congress, to state legislators, and to our local elected officials in explaining the kind of resources needed by small businesses to weather the storm.

Would you please help us by encouraging small businesses in your community to respond to this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6K96DHF.

IDHS Survey for Community Based Organizations

In order to understand the acute needs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) among community-based organizations across the state, please consider completing this short survey before April 1. 

The survey is designed to more precisely understand statewide PPE needs. Please note that completing the survey, unfortunately, is not a guarantee that you will receive the supplies, and it is not a purchasing order.

As you fill out the survey, please give your best estimate of need over the next 30-90 days, accounting for both your organization’s staff and customer/client populations. 

If you or anyone you know is aware of extra PPE that can be donated, please send a message to PPE.donations@Illinois.gov

Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act

Wondering what the new CARES Act legislation means for you and your business?
Find a link to the downloadable Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act along with information on other available programs here.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

April 1st is Census Day!

The time has come for everyone to be counted! Less than one week ago, the 2020 Census fully kicked off, and invitations continue to arrive in mailboxes across the nation. Currently, more than eleven million households have responded. America is stepping up to shape our future and ensure families and communities are counted. Click here for more info.

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund Webinar

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection
will host a webinar to provide an overview of the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, loan terms, requirements, and how to apply. To register, or for more information, go here.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Unemployment Benefits Filing Schedule

Due to the unprecedented number of claims for unemployment benefits, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has implemented a filing schedule. You can file for benefits both online and by phone. Please note: Part-time employees are permitted to apply for benefits.

New Online Filing Schedule:
Last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. 
Last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Call Center Filing Schedule:
Last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm. 
Last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
Fridays 7:30am – 6pm. will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether you receive benefits Claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid off or let go from their job due to COVID-19. Please visit IDES.Illinois.gov. for details and more information.

City of Chicago Mental Health Resources

Emotional reactions to this emerging health crisis are expected. Remind yourself, your family and your friends that feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed or having other symptoms of distress such as trouble sleeping is normal. If symptoms become worse, encourage them, and yourself, to reach out for support and help. 

The following are free mental health resources available to all Chicago residents:
  • Connect to a NAMI Chicago Helpline mental health counselor by calling 311 or directly at 833-626-4244
  • Connect to Bright Star Community Outreach's trauma counseling helpline at 833-TURN-123
  • Connect to free teletherapy services at Chicago Department of Public Health Mental Health Centers by calling 312-747-1020.
  • For after hours support, contact Crisis Text Line which serves anyone, in any type of crisis, 24-hours a day. Instructions: Text HELLO to: 741741 to access a trained crisis counselor.

Visit the City's Coronavirus Resource Center for more information.

Friday, March 27, 2020

City of Chicago COVID-19 resource page

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) resources page for City of Chicago Businesses, Consumers and Employees impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak. Lots of updates and helpful information. Take a look at it here.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Cook County needs to know how the crisis is affecting your business

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a challenging business climate and Cook County wants to help you navigate this difficult time. Please complete the survey below to help the County prioritize business assistance programs. The survey link is here.

SIgn up for the Cook County text alerts at 888-777 with the message "alertcook"

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Grant program for restaurants and hospitality industry

This afternoon Governor Pritzker announced three new state initiatives to assist with the COVID-19 crisis.   Small businesses must apply for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program by April 1st. For more information go here.

City fund supplies emergency loans for small business

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

You can help

17th Ward Constituent Night Postponed

Parents, need internet access?

If you are aware of families who cannot afford internet access, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)  has posted free internet access opportunities to support school learning during the closures from AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast at www.isbe.net/keeplearning under "free internet access resources."

Monday, March 23, 2020

Free tools and advice to help your business during the crisis

With the unique challenges of COVID-19, Godaddy is committed to helping you keep your business open — and your customers and employees safe. find free tools and expert advice here.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bilingual SBA disaster loan training available now

All Illinois small businesses can now apply for low-interest disaster loans to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We know you have questions about the program, and the Illinois District Office is committed to hosting free webinars as long as there is demand. These trainings will cover:
  • Eligibility
  • Use of proceeds
  • Terms
  • Filing requirements
  • Additional small business resources
Choose the date and time most convenient for you. Click the link to register now.
This event is cohosted with the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Session will be in English with Spanish translators.
More webinars will be announced soon! Watch your email for future events.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Tax Filing Deadline extended to July 15

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Government has extended the April 15 tax-filing deadline to July 15, an unprecedented delay that will give people more time to prepare and pay their taxes as workers lose jobs and businesses close during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

Governor orders shelter in place for all Illinois-what does this mean?

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state starting Saturday, essentially commanding residents to stay in their homes as the officials take drastic measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. What does this mean?
Read about it here.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

It's Census time!

Stuck at home? What a perfect time to complete the census! An accurate census is important to determine how funds are provided to state and local governments. This money is then used to fund programs and infrastructure like healthcare, housing, education, and transportation here on Chicago's Southwest side. For more information, and to fill out the census, click here.

Mayor Lightfoot announces small business loan program

As a response to the COVID-19 challenge, the City is establishing a $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will help to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate health crisis. 
Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans that can be repaid over a term of up to five years. To apply, or for more information, go here.

An update on federal assistance from Senator Dick Durbin

Our friends at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce held a webinar with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin this morning. He provided an update on federal assistance available to businesses and individuals as well as relief packages that are quickly being put together in D.C. Watch a recording of the webinar here.Watch the full webinar here. 

Accion's response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Our friends at Accion are working hard to creatively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that threatens the health of small business owners, employees, customers, families, and communities.
Key points include:

  • reduction in loan payment 
  • expedited application process.
  • ongoing assistance
For more information and/or contact info, go here.

SBA Disaster Loan Program Now Open

The SBA planned disaster loan assistance website is now accepting Illinois applications. Key points of the loan include:

  • up to $2M available per business
  • 3.75% interest rate
  • up to 30 year term
  • no banks involved-loan comes directly from the SBA.

To apply, or for more information, go here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


City adopts hold-harmless policies on compliance citations; Residents who owe debt will not face ticket doubling and defaults on payment plans during this health crisis. Read the full press release here.

Important Changes at BACP

Until further notice, all City of Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection offices will be closed to the public. This includes the following locations.

•         Small Business Center, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 800

•         Public Vehicle Licensing Center, 2350 W. Ogden Ave. 1st Floor

•         Public Vehicle Inspection Facility, 2430 W. Pershing Ave. 

BACP will continue processing business licenses, where applicable, online or over the phone. Please visit www.chicagobusinessdirect.org or call 312-74-GOBIZ. 

The renewal of public passenger chauffeur and vehicle licenses will be deferred until April 30, 2020. BACP staff will continue to work servicing public vehicle licensees during closure to the public. BACP staff will be available at bacppv@cityofchicago.org and 312-746-4300. 

Public vehicle inspections scheduled at the BACP Public Vehicle Inspection Facility from March 19, 2020 to April 30, 2020 will be rescheduled. An updated inspection list will be posted on the Public Vehicles page, and BACP will notify taxicab affiliations and license managers via e-mail of updated public vehicle inspection dates. 
The BACP team will continue to be accessible for any questions via phone and email. 

Kenya Merritt, Kenya.Merritt@cityofchicago.org   312-744-5288

Edwin Tumlos, Edwin.tumlos@cityofchicago.org  312-744-5366

Paul Hobbs,     Paul.Hobbs@cityofchicago.org  312-744-7391

Marshell Elder-Key, Marshell.Elder@cityofchicago.org  312-744-5378

To stay updated on the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus. Additionally, BACP has created a resource page for businesses, consumers and employees at www.chicago.gov/BACPCOVID19.


WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, in consultation with the Trump Administration and the Coronavirus Task Force, today authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Details are here.

What residents need to know about the Corona-virus crisis.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working to reduce the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by detecting new cases quickly and providing guidance to communities to help minimize transmission. Find updated information about staying healthy and protecting others here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

SBA offers low cost loans to affected Illinois businesses

Today the GSDC team joined other economic development professionals in hearing directly from the SBA about planned disaster loan assistance. Key points include:

  • up to $2M available per business
  • 3.75% interest rate
  • up to 30 year term
  • no banks involved-loan comes directly from the SBA.
Note: You cannot apply until the SBA declares Illinois/Cook County a disaster area. we expect this within days (the Governor declared it last week). Find more information about this program at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ or contact your Greater Southwest Business Development Team, Andrew Fogaty and Erika Gonzalez.
For Spanish, click here.

Monday, March 16, 2020

CDC Guidance for business and employers

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019
find up to date information here.

Corona-Virus updates from City Hall

is the Coronavirus crisis negatively impacting your business? If so,the Illinois Department of Commerce wants to know. Please fill out this short form.

GSDC responds to the Coronavirus crisis.

In order to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus, the Greater Southwest Development Corporation offices will be closed to the public from now until March 30th. GSDC services WILL continue uninterrupted with key personnel working remotely and available via email.