$30 million announced in IL welcoming center funding

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state budget
Governor JB Pritzker, January 2020 (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Information provided by the Office of the Governor

ELGIN, Ill. (October 16, 2020) – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced $30 million in CURES funding has been allocated to welcoming centers across Illinois to support the state’s most vulnerable communities facing challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. $18 million in funding will go towards housing and utility assistance for families in need, $4.5 million will be used to support employment and job training services and $4 million in funding will be used to provide healthcare education. The remaining $2 million will go towards a multilingual effort to reach Illinois residents eligible to receive support and $1.5 million will be used for technical assistance.

“Our Welcoming Centers play a vital role in our pandemic response and so much more. In fact, places like Centro de Información and the Spanish Community Center have been on the ground monitoring inequities in healthcare and alerting my administration to the needs of immigrant communities, especially in this time of need,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With the help of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, we gave $20 million worth of direct cash assistance to residents who weren’t eligible for the federal government’s stimulus program. Undocumented immigrants contribute billions of dollars in state and local taxes, and Illinois is proud to help more of our residents access the helping hand they deserve in this trying time. In fact, that application period doesn’t close until the 19th, so visit www.icirr.org/covidil to apply.”

In addition to $30 million in CURES funding, IDHS received $30 million in the fiscal year 2021 budget for immigrant-related support services including $10 million to connect immigrants with critical services and citizenship support and $20 million for cash assistance for Illinoisans ineligible for the federal pandemic stimulus.

To be eligible for the cash assistance program, applicants must be an Illinois resident and experienced a financial hardship due to the current health crisis. Priority will be given to residents that are not eligible for any federal stimulus, unemployment insurance, or public benefits due to their immigration status. Illinois residents have until October 19, 2020 to apply for cash assistance. For more information go to www.icirr.org/covidil or text “COVID” to 52886.

Immigrant and refugee support services are available at seventeen welcoming centers across the state. The Illinois Welcoming Center’s innovative model eliminates systemic barriers that immigrants may have in approaching state services. The goal of IWC’s is to strengthen the overall human service delivery system for immigrants and refugees and build the capacity of immigrant and refugee communities.

For more information about immigrant and refugee support services, visit www.dhs.illinois.gov/welcome, email [email protected], or call 312-793-7120.