“IDHS exists to assist residents who are in
greatest need and who have not had access to resources and
opportunities,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. “In response to
COVID-19, we have deployed additional resources to protect and
support people who are experiencing homelessness, people with
disabilities, and victims of domestic violence. These two additional
projects extend our work to reach marginalized communities and
provide some relief during an extremely difficult time.”
Summer Youth Employment Project
IDHS, with support from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information
Authority (ICJIA), is proud to announce a COVID-19 Summer Youth
Employment Program (C-SYEP). Many of Illinois’ young people between
the ages of 16 and 24 face significant challenges to securing
employment this summer. The COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program
will be implemented and managed by IDHS-funded Youth Services
organizations across Illinois.
This group of young people makes up 24% of the overall workforce
employed in industries at highest risk of closure due to COVID-19.
To address this hardship, the COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment
Program seeks to help employ 2,200 low-income, minority and at-risk
youth living in high poverty communities and counties hardest hit by
the pandemic. The primary objective for youth served in the program
will be to develop essential employability skills and to earn
entry-level work experience.
Grantees of the program will partner with local employers in need of
summer employees. Participating youth will be placed in
age-appropriate, ability-appropriate, and experience-appropriate
Work-Based Learning Opportunities, Career Development Experience
Opportunities, or Pre-Apprenticeship programs.
Eligible youth include those low income and/or at-risk youth ages
16-24 who have Illinois residency and are able to provide an I-9
prior to employment. IDHS anticipates that up to 30 projects will be
funded in Champaign; Cook; Lake; Macon; McLean; Peoria; St. Clair;
Stephenson; and Winnebago Counties.
The Immigrant Family Support Project
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Immigrant
Funders Collaborative (IFC) launched the COVID-19 Immigrant Family
Support Project, which will provide pandemic-related emergency
assistance funding to Illinois immigrants – regardless of
immigration status – who are facing unemployment, loss of income,
medical costs, and food and housing insecurity as a direct result of
COVID-19 and are ineligible for any federal funding relief. IDHS
will dedicate $2 million to the effort and the IFC, a private
foundation funders’ collaboration, is raising an initial $750,000 to
support the project.
“IDHS, with private philanthropic partners, can leverage our
resources to support those families who have been expressly excluded
from federal relief funding,” said Grace Hou, secretary of the
Illinois Department of Human Services. “Immigrants play an essential
role in our society and make up the fabric of our communities across
the state of Illinois. IDHS is proud to work with our partners on
the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project to help Illinois’
immigrant community through this crisis. We want everyone to know
help is here – for anyone who needs it.”
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While many Illinoisans have access to support from
federal Economic Impact Payments based on the Coronavirus Aid,
Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and to other state and
federal benefits, many immigrants are excluded. This project will
help fill the gap and provide much needed direct support for
immigrant families in Illinois.
With the IDHS contribution, the Illinois Coalition of
Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) will administer funds through a
state-wide network of over 60 community-based organizations and
Illinois Welcoming Centers who identify, confirm the eligibility of,
and enroll families in the program. Through these partners, funding
will then be distributed to more than 3,600 affected households of
immigrants, focusing on those with the lowest incomes. IFC will also
continue fundraising beyond its initial investment.
In order to be eligible for assistance, applicants must meet the
• Be a resident of Illinois.
• Have experienced an income disruption due to the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic (either a job loss or reduction in hours).
• Not be eligible for federal stimulus or unemployment insurance.
Priority will be also given to households with income below 200%
federal poverty level.
"Before this crisis, Illinois' immigrant communities and communities
of color were already predisposed to health, housing, and financial
vulnerabilities and inequities. Assistance programs like the
COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project are a necessary first step
for those who did not receive stimulus relief funds despite their
economic contributions to the state. This initiative will provide
critical resources to thousands of families," said Sylvia Puente,
Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum.
In addition to these funds, immigrants will also be screened for
eligibility for SNAP for eligible children of immigrants, Pandemic-EBT,
the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and
Children (WIC), and Moms & Babies – temporary healthcare coverage
for pregnant women. The COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project is
part of IDHS’ existing commitments to Welcoming Centers and builds
on Illinois’ history as a Welcoming State. Illinois currently
provides immigrants with a wide range of services, such as crisis
intervention and services for health, food and housing needs at
Welcoming Centers throughout the state.
Information can be found about the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support
Information can be found about the Summer Youth Employment Program
[Illinois Office of Communication and