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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Chicago Businesses Hit Hardest By Coronavirus Can Apply For Grants Through State’s $220 Million Program

Far North Side businesses are eligible for a grant program intended to help shops in areas hit hardest by the pandemic.

Devon Avenue businesses are teaming up to provide meals for area first responders
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WEST RIDGE — The state’s grant program for businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic is still taking applications.

Business owners can apply for a Business Interruption Grant online, with applications in English and Spanish. This round of grant funding is meant for businesses in areas of the state hit hardest by coronavirus and the ensuing economic fallout.

A map here shows which areas qualify for the assistance.

One of the qualifying areas is West Ridge, which had the largest known breakout in the state in the early stages of the pandemic. Businesses in Rogers Park and Uptown are also eligible for assistance.

In the ZIP codes that make up much of West Ridge, 31 businesses have received funding during the second round of the grant program.

In State Sen. Ram Villivalam’s 8th District, which covers West Ridge, Pulaski Park and some northwest suburbs, 52 businesses have received funding this round, totaling $1.5 million.

The grants were awarded in amounts of $5,000-$150,000, Villivalam said.

Villivalam said he is pushing for minority-owned businesses to take advantage of the program.

In areas like Devon Avenue in West Ridge, business owners are dealing with the pandemic on two fronts: Business has slowed and access to aid and information is limited, Villivalam said.

“It’s been challenging for them,” Villivalam said. “They are trying to adjust to our new normal, but there are barriers to asking for information from the city, county or state.”

The types of businesses being awarded the grant funding vary greatly.

Usmania Chinese Restaurant, 2253 W. Devon Ave., received $20,000, according to the state. West Ridge-based Mahal Cab Company received $5,000.

There are restrictions on who can receive the grant funding this round, but Villivalam said he is encouraging all business to apply.

“Though there are stipulations, you never know,” he said. “It’s really being done on a case-by-case basis.”

For more information on the business grant program, including how to apply, click here.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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