ELGIN — State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) joined Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services to announce $30 million in state funding for Immigrant Welcoming Centers across Illinois to support members of immigrant communities facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will allocate $18 million in funding will go to housing and utility assistance, $4.5 million will be used to support employment and job training services, and $4 million will be used to provide health care education. The remaining $2 million will go to a multilingual effort to reach Illinois residents eligible to receive support, and $1.5 million will be used for technical assistance.
“These Welcoming Centers will be an invaluable resource for immigrants in our area who may be having difficulties navigating through the many, sometimes complex, services that our state provides,” Castro said. “This would be true even in a general sense, but during a global health pandemic that has been shown to disproportionately impact communities of color, it could literally mean the difference between life and death.”
IDHS received an additional $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.
“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,” Pritzker said. “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.”
To be eligible for the cash assistance program, applicants must be an Illinois resident who has experienced a financial hardship due to the current health crisis. Priority will be given to residents who are not eligible for any federal stimulus, unemployment insurance, or public benefits due to their immigration status. Illinois residents have until Oct. 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 17 welcoming centers across the state, including Centro de Información in Elgin.