Illinois Governor JB Pritzker visited Crosswalk Community Action Agency in West Frankfort Monday to speak about grants administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“Since mid-April, Crosswalk has received more community assistance requests than anywhere else in the state of Illinois other than Cook county,” Pritzker said.
He said COVID-19 has had devastating financial implications for Illinois’ most vulnerable.
“We have dedicated an additional $90 million this year to our Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and our Community Services Block Grant program through the federal CARES Act,” Pritzker said.
A total of $275 million has been allotted to these programs, which help to provide food, rent, temporary shelter, and bill-pay assistance for low-income families.
The income threshold for the programs has been increased by 150% to 200% of the federal poverty level. That means one million more Illinoisans are now eligible for community assistance.
“This increase in income guidelines will allow thousands more who might possibly have never received assistance from any type of community action agency before to receive assistance now,” Executive Director of Crosswalk Debra Jackanicz said.
According to Jackanicz, Crosswalk staff have already seen a record number of customers applying for assistance through the agency’s new website http://helpillinoisfamilies.com.
“Not only does this website eliminate the need for in-person contact, but it also addresses the transportation barriers that many of our customers face,” Jackanicz said.
For a family of four, this increase will now support a monthly income of up to $4,300.
Residents seeking emerging relief can visit helpillinoisfamilies.com to determine their eligibility.