Chicago’s $100M small biz loan fund has only distributed $17M

Mayor Lightfoot announced fund in March to provide short-term relief for coronavirus-slammed retailers, restaurants and other businesses

Chicago /
Aug.August 24, 2020 03:25 PM
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and boarded up stores along Michigan Avenue (Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, and Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and boarded up stores along Michigan Avenue (Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, and Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Five months after Chicago announced that small businesses slammed by the coronavirus would be receiving a total of $100 million in low-interest loans, just a fraction of those dollars have been distributed.

About $17 million from the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund has been provided to 625 small businesses across the city, according to Crain’s.

When Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the fund in March, she said it was meant to provide short-term relief to the affected stores and businesses, according to the report. Since the announcement, more than 10,000 small businesses have applied for loans through the program.

Those that have received the funds include retailers, restaurants and bars, day care centers and salons. The program was supposed to be a stop-gap measure for those businesses that didn’t receive money from the first round of the federal Payroll Protection Program.

Chicago’s resiliency loan fund included $75 million from the city, according to Crain’s. Goldman Sachs contributed $10 million, with private donors, Clayco Construction and Fifth Third Bank lending the remaining $16 million, the report noted.

Chicago claims nearly $30 million in loan funding is in the approval process, which will help 2,000 businesses. According to the report, 2,300 loan applications have been rejected.

Some store owners in Chicago also say they still haven’t received insurance payouts after their businesses were looted in late May, following protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing. Earlier this month, more than 2,500 businesses that were hurt by Covid-19 and those lootings received $46 million in business interruption grants. The state awarded the federally-funded grants, and Gov. J.B. Pritkzer said more assistance would be on the way. [Crain’s]Alexi Friedman


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