CRCP: $500 Monthly Payments Distributed To Chicago Residents

By James R. Scott, The Chicago Times

July 11, 2022

CHICAGO – Monday saw the first $500 monthly payments to low-income Chicago households that endured financial hardship during the recent pandemic.

The $31.5 million Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, which gives 5,000 Chicago households $500 cash payments every month for a year via lottery selection, is funded by federal tax dollars through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Mayor Lightfoot announced the launch of applications for the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot on April 13, 2022, just about two months shy of her official announcement to seek another term as mayor.

Lightfoot has stipulated that tax dollars distributed through the CRCP are unrestricted and participants will not be required to report how they spend the money.

“Prepaid debit card data will be anonymously aggregated and reported to the City to support the public’s understanding about how people generally make use of cash assistance funds. If you select to use a prepaid debit card, you will be able to opt out of reporting your expenditure data. If you select to use direct deposit, your transactions will not be tracked or reported in aggregate to the City.” According to the CRCP website.

“In order to recover fully from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we must develop solutions that equitably and inclusively address the challenges facing our residents.  Through this cash assistance program, we are able to serve those who have borne the brunt of COVID-19. Direct cash payments have the potential to be truly transformative for communities that need it most, which is why I remain so proud to be able to provide this vital programming for residents.” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

Lightfoot’s office said 176,000 residents applied for the pilot program this spring.  Applicants who were eligible were entered into a selection lottery that determined who would receive the $500 monthly payments.  In total, 5,000 households were randomly selected to receive the funds.

According to the Mayor’s office, “The lottery is designed to prioritize households living in poverty (at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level) and those living in communities with preexisting economic hardship. This is aligned with the Chicago Recovery Plan’s objective of promoting an equitable economic recovery.  All 5,000 fund recipients, plus a few thousand applicants who are not selected to receive funds, will have the opportunity to participate in an optional research study which will include a small stipend for participation.”

Participants will receive payments through direct deposit or via a prepaid debit card.