Mayor announces monthly cash assistance program

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, city and community leaders announced new efforts to ease financial hardship on the second anniversary of the Mayor’s Solutions to End Poverty (STEP) summit. The Mayor invited interested residents to sign up to receive notifications regarding the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, a $31.5 million program to benefit Chicago residents and families facing economic hardship caused by COVID- 19. Mayor Lightfoot will also announce details of a groundbreaking fines and fees program that will make Chicago one of the first cities in the nation to consider financial affordability when assessing fines and fees.

“Today’s announcement is in support of our residents who are still struggling to make ends meet,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our innovative monthly cash assistance program will help stabilize and ensure the well-being of residents who have struggled before and during the pandemic. I am committed to continuing to bring relief to our city’s hardest hit communities and look forward to rolling out this new initiative as soon as possible alongside our latest fines and fees reforms and other recovery plan priorities. Chicago.

The Chicago Resilient Communities pilot project will be one of the nation’s largest monthly cash assistance programs and will support 5,000 low-income households with $500 per month for 12 months to provide additional economic stability. To apply for the lottery to participate, residents must live in the city of Chicago, be 18 or older, have experienced economic hardship related to COVID-19, and have a household income at or below 250% of the poverty level federal (ex $57,575 for a household of 3). Residents can learn more and sign up to be notified when the application goes live in April at chicago.gov/cashpilot.

The City is currently reviewing requests for proposals from charitable non-profit organizations to administer the program and conduct outreach and registration activities for the pilot project. To shape this historic initiative, Mayor Lightfoot also assembled an advisory group of Chicago and national experts, including advocates, researchers, aldermen and people with personal experience of poverty, to advise the city on the design and implementation of equitable and effective programs. . The city will also partner with the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economics Lab to assess the impact of the pilot project on participants and generate lessons learned from implementation for the city and the nation. Current pilot partners are listed here.

“Three years ago we came up with the idea of ​​a citywide cash pilot project, and now 5,000 Chicagoans will soon be receiving $500 monthly checks. For those families, this will be a year of relief; it can be a year to catch up on overdue bills, a year to rack up savings, a year when dreams can turn into small businesses, or a year when those vacations are finally possible. worsens inequalities caused by decades of disinvestment and short-sighted policymaking, we believe that direct money can disrupt the vicious cycle of poverty. We commend the Mayor for her leadership and look forward to continuing to support and advise the City in this historic effort,” said Harish Patel, Director, Economic Security for Illinois.

The Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot is just one of three different cash assistance programs that will be available for hard-hit residents this spring. In April, the city will open applications for a $4.8 million Domestic Workers Relief Fund ($500 one-time reduction) and a $10.7 million Chicago 2.0 Resilience Fund for excluded residents. previous federal stimulus relief (one-time reduction of $500). Together, these three funds will benefit more than 30,000 Chicagoans disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These are just three initiatives under Chicago’s $1.2 billion recovery plan to promote safe and prosperous communities and an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19. Learn more about chicago.gov/recoveryplan.

In another step to combat regressive fines and fees that plague low-income households, Mayor Lightfoot also announced that enrollment in the Clear Path Relief (CPR) pilot program will open on April 1. The program is designed to help low-income motorists eliminate old debts. by reimbursing only the initial amount of the fine on the fines incurred during the last 3 years. Additionally, any new tickets will be assessed at 50% of the original fine and will not incur any fees or penalties until December 31, 2023. Individuals will have the option to ‘fix’ violations by purchasing the required stickers instead of paying for the ticket. Each license plate will have an opportunity to “repair” each violation, and the “repair” must be completed within 30 days of the violation.

“At the Chicago Jobs Council, we advocate for policy changes that reduce racial disparities and improve economic outcomes for job seekers marginalized by racism and other systemic barriers. People in financial difficulty should not face disproportionate penalties because they cannot afford high fines and fees, which tends to exacerbate economic hardship for job seekers,” said Dr. Lisa Bly-Jones, CEO of the Chicago Jobs Council. The measures released by the mayor recognize the impact the fines and fees system is having on the people of Chicago and these incremental but significant steps towards reform, reduce the ticket burden on individuals,” said Dr. Lisa Bly-Jones, CEO of the Chicago Jobs Council.

“More than any major American city, Chicago has seen firsthand why reliance on fines and regressive revenue is a losing streak — both for residents and their local government,” said Priya Sarathy Jones, director national policies and campaigns at the Fines and Fees Justice Center. “This new pilot program will provide opportunities for Chicagoans and is a building block to mitigate the harms of ticket debt on low-income communities and people of color.”

This announcement comes two years after Mayor Lightfoot hosted the STEP Summit, which brought together hundreds of Chicagoans to launch a long-term effort to implement evidence-based policies and investments to address poverty and entrenched economic hardship.

Since then, the City has taken many steps to address poverty and economic hardship caused by COVID-19, including providing $637.7 million in affordable housing and emergency rental assistance, investing 1, $4 billion in South and West neighborhoods through INVEST South/West, forgiving more than $125 million in vehicle impound fees, granting $115 million to small businesses and nonprofits profit, distributing nearly £200m in emergency food aid, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, canceling over $9m in debt and setting aside over $11m through utility billing relief and working with the CTA to reduce tariffs to their lowest levels since 2008. Today’s announcement builds on these actions and provides further assistance to those who x who continue to struggle with the economic impacts of the multiple crises that have hit Chicago.

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