CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicagoans were excluded from the coronavirus stimulus program will be eligible for $1,000 in cash assistance from the new Chicago Resiliency Fund.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday announced the $5 million program, which will provide checks to Chicago families who were not eligible for stimulus money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The mayor said the program is targeted to at undocumented immigrants, families with mixed immigration status, college students living in poverty, and people recently released from prison.
"This announcement today has literally been weeks and weeks in the making, and I am so glad that we are finally able to say it's here, we are going to provide these supports," Lightfoot said.
The CARES Act provided stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per adult and up to $500 per child under age 17, but undocumented immigrants and citizens married to undocumented immigrants were not eligible for the funds.
"Throughout COVID-19, but really way beyond that, our immigrant and refugee community have really been stressed. Always because it's a difficult life to leave your home country, and come someplace new, and really try to start building a life, but it's been particularly challenging in this environment, with this president, who literally came down the stairs, what now seems a lifetime ago, demonizing our immigrant and refugee community for his own political gain, and unfortunately he has not stopped," Lightfoot said.
Raul Raymudo, co-founder and CEO of The Resurrection Project, a nonprofit community service agency which will serve as lead fiscal agent for the Chicago Resiliency Fund, said the $1,000 checks from the new program will be available to any Chicago resident who was not eligible for a federal stimulus check. Officials estimated up to 300,000 people in the city are eligible for the assistance.
"We know $1,000 may not go a long way, but it certainly will help in these troubling times, so that families can stay in their home, put food on the table, and pay utility bills," he said.
Officials said payments should begin going out later this month. Applications for the cash assistance can be filed through the Resurrection Project's website.
The Chicago Resiliency Fund has been funded by private donations, including $1 million from the Open Society Foundations, and $4 million from an anonymous donor.
"This is not just a one-and-done announcement. To every Chicagoan out there looking for ways to help your fellow residents – and I get that question all the time – our neighbors, our brothers and sisters are struggling. This is an important additional way that you can support," Lightfoot said.
Donations to the Chicago Resiliency Fund can be made at resurrectionproject.org/chicagofund.
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