Social service funding expanded across the state in wake of COVID-19

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — One week after introducing a mandatory Stay-At-Home executive order, Governor JB Pritkzer continued the trend of several previous COVID-19 briefings in the past week by announcing the expansion of coronavirus-related services across the state.

The executive order last Friday banned the gathering of groups of 10 or more, detailed social distancing requirements and laid out which workers could keep working (essential workers) and which should work remotely (nonessential): Daycares serving “essential” workers were required to submit applications for emergency licenses; since then, Pritzker said the state has received “more than 600 applications” for small-group emergency childcare from organizations, schools and communities across the state.

He also said that each licensed provider can apply for an additional stipend from the state, starting at $750 for licensed, in-home providers — centers with one to two classrooms open will receive $2,000, centers with three or more classrooms open will receive $3,000.

Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have also been extended for an additional six months, meaning those expecting the benefits to expire in April, May or June will have them automatically extended until September, October, and November.

SNAP can also be accessed remotely now via the state’s Department of Human Services websites.

Pritzker said an additional $80 million in federal SNAP funding is expected to come in April, calling it “real impact in our communities.”

Pritzker also pointed to the DHS’ announcement last week of $6 million in new funding aimed at expanding services to people experiencing homelessness. He said those dollars would be directed toward expanding temporary shelters across Illinois, as well as help already-established providers enact social distancing within their shelters.

At the tail end of Friday’s press conference, Pritzker said he and his administration are looking “every day” at the possible extension of the Stay-At-Home order, but added that “for now,” the April 7 date remains unchanged.

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