I hope this message finds you safe and well. Starting on Monday, April 12th, the State is opening up to universal eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older. All 101 counties and Suburban Cook County have met the timeline set forth for this goal. Information about vaccine locations and appointments can be found on the coronavirus.illinois.gov website. Residents who don’t have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284 to book an appointment. The hotline is open 7 days a week from 6am to midnight with agents available in English and Spanish. Please remember to continue to wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. We are moving in the right direction! We’re All in Illinois.
This week, the SBA opened the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program portal. However, we received notice today that the SBA has temporarily suspended the portal due to some technical issues. They will re-open it as soon as possible to ensure all applicants have fair and equal access. Applicants can still register in the portal and SBA will share updates as they come available. SBA will also share an exact time and date prior to the re-opening of the SVOG application portal. I will share that information as soon as I receive it.
Just a reminder, the PPP has been extended to May 31, 2021. DCEO Team RED has set up additional webinars that will focus on this program as well as other COVID-19 relief options. Details of these webinars are below. We also have numerous other program updates, so please read on! Don’t forget to follow us on our social media channels for real time updates.
Restore Illinois Plan
All regions of the state are currently under Phase 4 guidelines. DCEO has released an updated FAQ document to accompany the updated numerous Phase 4 guidelines that are effective immediately. As part of these updates, we have guidelines for activities such as social events, amusement parks, outdoor markets and festivals, meetings, conventions and trade shows, and overnight camping. All the Phase 4 guidelines can be found on our website here.
Bridge to Phase 5 Update
Since March 8, Illinois has seen 10 days of increases in the seven-day rolling average for hospital admissions. The COVID-19 test positivity on March 10 was 2.5%. Today’s reported test positivity is 3.3%. While these rates are certainly significantly lower than the peak, they represent a potential early warning sign about a possible resurgence. Chicago has seen its daily case rate increase by nearly 50% since last week, along with six days of increases in test positivity. Suburban Cook County has seen its daily case rate increase more than 40%, along with nine days of increasing hospital bed usage. Region 1, the Northern portion of the state including Rockford and surrounding communities, has seen eight days of increasing hospital bed usage and six days of increasing test positivity.
To advance into the Bridge Phase that is the final step before the full reopening, the entire state must achieve several metrics:
• 70% of residents 65 years and older must have received a first dose;
• Hospitals must maintain 20% or greater ICU bed availability;
• Hospitalizations for COVID-19, admissions for COVID-like illness and deaths must hold steady or decline over a 28-day monitoring period.
As outlined in the March 18 update to the Restore Illinois plan, IDPH will evaluate statewide performance against the metrics by looking back at the data from the preceding 28 days. While Illinois is on pace to reach 70% first doses for residents 65 years and older in the coming days, IDPH is monitoring an increase in new hospital admissions for COVID, which will need to be appropriately addressed and resolved before moving into the Bridge Phase. IDPH epidemiologists will continue to focus on the most recent 10 days to monitor any acute trends that prevent the state from reaching the Bridge Phase. Statewide reopening metrics can be found at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/statewidemetrics. More information on the Bridge to Phase 5 plan can be found here. If you have questions on the guidelines or how they apply to a situation, please reach out to us for guidance.
Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration, has extended the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. This round of the PPP will continue to be processed through participating financial institutions and will be available through May 31, 2021. This round is open to both First Draw PPP Loans and a Second Draw PPP Loan. In general, a First Draw PPP loan is for eligible borrowers who did not receive a PPP loan before the program closed in August 2020. A Second Draw PPP loan is for certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan and used the full amount of their First Draw PPP loan on authorized expenses, generally have 300 employees or less, and have suffered a 25% reduction in gross receipts.
SBA announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. While these changes are being implemented, SBA will work with community partners to improve the emergency relief “digital front door” and conduct extensive stakeholder outreach. And, SBA will strengthen its relationships with lender partners to advance equity goals, deliver funding efficiently, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. SBA will:
- Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants;
- Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal;
- Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP; and
- Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.
Since the program has been extended, Team RED has set up additional webinars to provide businesses with information and assist with questions on all SBA programs. April webinars are listed below:
- April 15 –10 am Click here to register
- April 23 –1 pm Click here to register
- April 30 –9:30 am Click here to register
Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. This week, the SBA opened the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program portal. However, we received notice today that the SBA has temporarily suspended the portal due to some technical issues. They will re-open it as soon as possible to ensure all applicants have fair and equal access. Applicants can still register in the portal and SBA will share updates as they come available. SBA will also share an exact time and date prior to the re-opening of the SVOG application portal. I will share that information as soon as I receive it. Please check the SBA website, www.sba.gov/svogrant, for more information.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible entities include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives, and
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
You can refer to this Eligibility Requirements Chart to help determine qualifications for the program.
SBA has issued more guidance on this program in the past week. Applicants can apply for PPP prior to applying to the SVOG program. If they do receive a PPP loan after 12/27/20, they will have the SVOG reduced by the PPP loan amount. SBA has proved FAQ;s and a link to a webinar recording that covers the program. To follow updates on this program, please click here to go to the SBA’s website. Applicants must also have a valid SAM.gov registration to apply for this program. Here’s a link to a video on how to apply: SAM.gov Entity Registration Training – YouTube .
Small Business Administration Program: Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
SBA has announced that for loans approved starting the week of April 6, 2021, the maximum loan amount will be increased to $500,000. For loans approved prior to the week of April 6, 2021, please clickhere for information from SBA on loan increases.
The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The first payment is deferred for one year. Applicants must be physically located in the U.S. or designated territory and suffered working capital losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons. Eligible applicants include the following:
- Businesses with 500 or fewer employees or defined as small per SBA.gov/SizeStandards
- Cooperatives with 500 or fewer employees
- Agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees
• Most private nonprofits
• Faith-based organizations
• Sole proprietorships and independent contractors
The deadline to apply for this program has been extended to December 31, 2021. The SBA has also extended deferment periods for all disaster loans including EIDL until 2022. All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note. All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note. For more information and the application, please click here to go to the SBA’s website.
DCEO Office of Community Development Updates
Community Development Block Grant
On Monday, the recipients of the 2020 Public Infrastructure grants were announced. DCEO will hold a CDBG Grant Administrator’s Workshop virtually on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. All administrators of awarded 2020 CDBG Housing and Public Infrastructure grants must attend. To register for this workshop, go to our website here.
HUD has announced our 2021 CDBG Allocation and we are happy to receive about $220,000 more this year. We will be updating our Guidebooks over the next month and they will be available on our webpage asap. However, we do not anticipate many changes over the 2020 Guidebooks. The Application Workshop for Housing will be Thursday, April 22, 2021 and the PI Application Workshop will be April 12th. All of these will be virtual with registration available on our website here. The Application Deadline has been set for Tuesday, August 3rd for both Housing and Public Infrastructure.
Team RED will be hosting numerous program webinars in addition to the PPP webinars noted above over the next few weeks. Please join us and learn about these programs. While different team members from around the state are hosting the webinars, they are open to anyone to attend. You can view the full list of upcoming events on our website here.
Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA)
Date and time: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:00 am
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Pre-Award Process. The Department uses an accountability program to take a customer-centered approach to grants management and monitoring. The agency, which administers and oversees nearly 10,000 grants each fiscal year, manages various economic, community and workforce development programs, services, and initiatives. The Department of Commerce partners with businesses, local governments, nonprofit organizations, workers and families to enhance the state’s economy.
Advantage Illinois Loan Program for Small Businesses
Date and time: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 6:00 PM
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Advantage Illinois Loan Program.
This program enhances capital for Illinois businesses, which is a top priority. By working with the state’s banking community and venture capitalists, DCEO will help entrepreneurs and small
businesses start-up, expand, and create new jobs at a faster rate.
Export Finance: Getting Paid, Currencies and Insurance
Date and Time: April 19, 2021, 12:00-1:00PM CST
Exporting involves choices about currencies, risk and credit. Join our webinar that walks you through the pros and cons of different options with these topics.
To register go to: http://bit.ly/2M7cWWQ
Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
Date and Time: April 22, 2021, 1:30-2:30 pm
BEP assists businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities gain access to the State of Illinois procurement process. BEP certification with the State of Illinois can also open the door to opportunities with other public and private entities which are looking for diverse suppliers.
CDBG Public Infrastructure and Housing Rehabilitation Program for Rural Communities
Date and Time: Monday, April 26, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Community Development Block Grant Public Infrastructure and Housing Rehabilitation programs. These programs are grant opportunities that can assist with public infrastructure and housing rehabilitation needs within your community. Learn more about these programs and how to apply for the grants.
Advantage Illinois: How local community banks can partner with the State of Illinois to help small business
Date and time: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:00 am
Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority. The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity. Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is here to assist. In this webinar you will learn how the state’s banking community can help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand and create new jobs at a faster rate by partnering with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity through this participation loan program. Guest speakers include John D. Hill and Mark Schultz, Advantage Illinois Team for the Office of Business Development. Local community banks are encouraged to attend!
CDBG Public Infrastructure, Housing Rehabilitation and Economic Development Program for Rural Communities
Date and Time: Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Community Development Block Grant Public Infrastructure, Housing Rehabilitation and Economic Development programs. These programs are grant opportunities that can assist with public infrastructure and housing rehabilitation needs within your community. Learn more about these programs and how to apply for the grants.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Overview
Date and time: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 10:00 am
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar as we give an overview of the agency and talk about the programs available to help businesses.
Ameren Energy Efficiency Programs
Date and time: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 10:00 am
Please join DCEO and Krista Lent of Ameren for an energy efficiency program event. The Ameren Illinois Small Business Direct Install Initiative (SBDI) gives small businesses the opportunity to ensure they have the most energy-efficient lighting installed in their facility at very little out-of-pocket cost.
Register Here: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9692b2c52bf3e0b4b24a5ad6fe1721db
Upcoming SBA program webinars for Central and Southern Illinois
Below are two events that the SBA is hosting over the next couple of months. Click on the links below for more information.
Central & Southern Illinois: Marketing & Selling to the Federal Government
https://marketingandsellingfedgov.eventbrite.com Event date: 5/5/21 from 9am – 11am
About this Event
Are you located in Central and Southern Illinois? Have you thought about having the federal government as one of your customers but unsure as to where to start?
Come and join us to learn about SBA resources to help your small business successfully identify and compete for federal contract opportunities. We will cover information on the following certifications
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB)
Self-Certification for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
Team RED Office hours
DCEO’s Regional Economic Development Team is hosting weekly office hours on the days and times listed below. These sessions are designed as open times that the Team is available. The Team will provide you with the latest updates and answer any questions you may have on state or federal programs. Feel free to drop in for any assistance you need. If these times do not work for you, please reach out to your regional Team RED representative. We’re always here to help.
Mondays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mdac63fc058a28665bc12f2db155d8e81
Wednesdays from 1pm – 2pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mab7683a4fd7c1b69c9aead26b0fce1ea
Thursdays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=me64c9d6620b31db8645644cf588f956b
Fridays from 10am – 11am
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m097b6d22cef426d023f9d5375ba167b4
DCEO Office of Minority Economic Empowerment
The Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) is committed to providing minority-, women-, persons with disabilities and veteran-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state with equitable access to opportunities and resources. Through dynamic partnerships, targeted outreach, and tailored programs and initiatives, OMEE aims to create an inclusive business ecosystem for communities that have traditionally faced systemic barriers to entry and growth. This investment spurs local economic development in underserved areas resulting in a revitalized and thriving Illinois economy. OMEE is gathering contact and business information for an internal database to support our businesses and stakeholders more effectively. Please click here to update your information with us. Feel free to reach us at with any questions. You can find more information about OMEE including programs they are hosting on their webpage here.
Open DCEO Notice of Funding Opportunities
Below is a list of open Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) currently with the Department. Please use the links to go to additional information on our website. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions on these.
- Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program – Applications due 4/12/21. For more information, click here.
If you have upcoming meetings or events and would like DCEO to participate, please reach out to me. One of our goals is to ensure information about our programs and activities is getting out to the communities and we’re happy to participate. We are now working on scheduling workshops for 2021, so please let us know if you are interested in partnering with us to provide program information to your organization and region. If you want to receive updates from the Department, you can fill out this form and you’ll be added to our Department contact list. I also encourage you to follow us on our social media channels for real time updates.
Local CURE Support Program
Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (Local CURE) Support Program: DCEO is continuing to work with our communities across the state to submit their reimbursable expenses related to COVID-19. It’s not too late to submit expenses. The deadline to submit reimbursable costs has been extended to January 31, 2022. DCEO has posted information on our website here. The website also has some good Q&A documents that can help with determining if an expense is eligible for reimbursement. Additional guidance has been released on Substantially Dedicated Payroll and Claiming the Costs of Implementing CDC Guidance for Public Employees and within Public Spaces or Facilities. Check out these new documents and other guidance here. If you have not been able to access the portal or have not received the access email, please send a message to our partner, Crowe, at and they will be able to assist you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You have other questions you can send them to and we will get back to you.
Other DCEO Programs
Broadband Expansion Funding Opportunity
Broadband Expansion Capital Funding
The state is releasing $50 million in funding for the second round of matching grants through Connect Illinois, the state’s $420 million statewide broadband expansion plan. Eligible applicants include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments. Up to $5 million per project will be available during the second round, and subsequent rounds will follow over the course of the next several years. The second round of Connect Illinois calls for a nonstate match component requiring companies to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments. The application for the second round of funding largely mirrors requirements of the first application – including a 50 percent nonmatch in most cases. To ensure an equal playing field, the administration has instituted an exemption allowing a lower nonstate match for project proposals concerning economically distressed communities. This program change acknowledges the difficulty of connecting the hardest-to-serve areas of Illinois, and the compounding challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, allowing underserved communities to be competitive when applying for critical infrastructure dollars. In addition to providing universal access to basic broadband for homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions by 2024, the State’s broadband plan seeks to improve utilization of broadband for various uses in education, telehealth and economic development. All Connect Illinois projects must meet the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois’ Business Enterprise Program. Click here for the NOFO. Application deadline has been extended to April 12, 2021.
PC’s for People
Through a first-of-its-kind collaboration by the State of Illinois, PCs for People and various community partners, Illinois has launched a statewide network that will receive, refurbish and redistribute used computers to those in need. This initiative responds to the 1.1 million Illinois households currently without computers and aims to bridge the digital divide for those without internet access to help improve connectivity essential for remote learning, work from home, telemedicine, and other requirements of everyday life. To source the network with newly refurbished computer devices, the State of Illinois is working with private and philanthropic partners to build a pipeline for Illinois households in need. For more information, click here.
If you are interested in donating equipment to this program, PCs for People will accept any and all used computer equipment, redistributing what it can refurbish and recycling what it cannot refurbish. PCs for People is NAID AAA and R2 certified, requiring the non-for-profit to practice the highest standards of information destruction, hard drive sanitization, and environmental computer device recycling along with a zero-landfill policy. If your entity is undertaking a pc refresh or you know of an entity that is looking to undertake one and would be interested in donating to this program, please let me know and we’ll help make the connection to PC’s for People.
Other News and Notes:
USDA Rural Development – Community Facility Loans
USDA Rural Development has the authority to guarantee or make direct loans to public bodies and not-for-profit corporations in rural areas to construct, enlarge or otherwise improve essential community facility projects which serve the public. Related costs such as land, architectural, legal, environmental analyses, interest during construction, equipment and machinery, and certain other costs are eligible. Applicants for direct loans must be unable to get credit elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms. Projects in rural areas and communities of not more than 20,000 in the population are eligible. The loan repayment period shall not exceed 40 years or the useful life of the facility. Health care facilities, group homes, assisted living projects, rehab and counseling centers, fire and rescue buildings and vehicles, courthouses and city halls, and many other types of projects are eligible. Eligible applicants for direct loans pay the lower interest rate in effect at the time of loan approval or loan closing.
Interest Rates for April 1, 2021, TO June 30, 2021, are:
THIS QUARTER, ALL APPLICANTS WILL BE GIVEN THE 2.250% MARKET INTEREST RATE REGARDLESS OF THEIR MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
Guaranteed loans are available to entities desiring to borrow from and make payments to their local lender. Interest rates are negotiated between the borrower and lender and may be fixed or variable. However, guaranteed loans cannot be issued on tax-exempt debt. Projects in Rural Areas and communities of not more than 50,000 in population are eligible for the guaranteed loan program.
A limited amount of grant funds is available to assist eligible applicants in developing otherwise unaffordable projects. Projects in small, rural communities with low-income levels receive the highest priority for funding. Generally, grants are made in conjunction with loans. Grants for 100% of the project cost are not available.
Income data, other information, and guidance on completion of an initial application can be obtained from the USDA Rural Development Area Offices in Ottawa, Princeton, Galesburg, Jacksonville, Champaign, Effingham, Mt. Vernon, Marion or the State Office www.usda.rd.gov/il.