Dear Community Partners:

In recent days, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has received many important questions about participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), such as who should apply, and whether certain organizations meet the PPP’s economic requirements.

First, any IDHS provider whose ability to provide services has been impacted, either in whole or in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic, is strongly encouraged (i) to apply for PPP funding and (ii) if successful in applying, to keep the federal PPP funds provided. If you need additional clarification on this, please reach out to your program division.

IDHS makes this recommendation to maximize funding for State providers and to ensure that limited State funding is stretched as far as possible, particularly in light of increasing economic uncertainty and diminishing State revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted previously, providers cannot seek and receive payments from both the State and the federal PPP program for the same cost (i.e. a provider cannot be paid twice for the same obligation). To do so, could result in criminal, civil, regulatory, and/or audit issues for the provider.

Providers whose ability to perform has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. providers who are able to fully perform and to be paid for that performance) are not encouraged by IDHS to apply, but must make their own, independent determination as to whether they should.

While providers will need to make their own, independent determinations, providers who are unable to perform, either in whole or in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic should meet the PPP program “current economic uncertainty” requirements, making their “loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the applicant.” This letter can be used in support.

As providers know all-too-well, IDHS and its providers are living through significant economic uncertainty. While IDHS is trying to support providers with retention payments, federal support is necessary to ensure the long-term operations for many providers and to maximize IDHS’s and the State’s limited funding.

We do not know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, but we do know that without ongoing federal support, IDHS retention payments for services not performed will not be sustainable. With reduced State revenues, there is uncertainty as to IDHS’s funding capacity, cash flow, and when IDHS’s service delivery system will be able to return to something close to normal.

So, while IDHS is committed to maintaining retention payments, at a minimum, for FY2020, while the pandemic continues, “current economic uncertainty” supports federal funding for providers whose performance has been impacted, both to support providers and to maximize limited State funds.

IDHS is grateful to every provider making good faith efforts to secure and to retain federal funding. Both directly and indirectly, this helps the provider, IDHS, the State, and the social and human services system everyone is counting on to get Illinois through this unprecedented challenge.

Thank you,
Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS

Category: Latest

Western Illinois Regional Council-Victim Services provides sexual assault counseling for adults, adolescents, children, victims’ significant others, and group counseling. They also provide medical/legal advocacy, civil no-contact orders, emergency shelter, and operate a 24-hour hotline for sexual assault victims. All of these services are free of charge.

During this time, all forms of interpersonal violence continue to occur. Not only is the violence continuing, but victims are more isolated. Victims may have no one to talk to, and may not be aware that our services continue to be available. Victims are also concerned about receiving medical care due to concerns over COVID – 19.  If a person discloses to you that they have been a victim of sexual violence you can refer them to WIRC and they will receive the adequate resources to handle the situation.

The number for the Fulton County office is 309-333-1934. The after-hours hotline number is 309-837-5555. For additional information visit their website: http://wirpc.org/victim-services/

Category: Latest

The new executive order will include the following modifications effective May 1:

OUTDOOR RECREATION: State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE. Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.

NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.

NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.

FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.

SCHOOLS: Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.

Category: Latest

The landscape industry requested additional information from the Governor's office about whether lawn, landscape, and tree services were essential services under Section 12, Paragraph H of the Executive Order that reads:

Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations;

Although landscaping is not mentioned by name, landscape services were verified as essential by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity on March 23, 2020. An FAQ document was released on essential businesses that reads:

Can residential and commercial lawn service remain open?

Yes. Many landscape projects will fit under an exemption such as construction, agriculture, or public works. Outdoor landscape projects generally will provide for good social distancing that poses little risk of transmission, but it still is important to ensure the ability to wash or sanitize hands and take other precautions.

The FAQ document is included here: https://bit.ly/2Jsf3zT

This would include essential services for the following trades: landscape contractors (construction and maintenance), lawn care, irrigation, and tree care.

Additional information on green industry businesses: These fall under Section 12, Paragraphs A & B of the Executive Order.

Garden Centers - These establishments sell materials for customers to produce fruits and vegetables at their residences, sell firewood, pet supplies, and other household essentials. They are adapting business policies and procedures to protect employees and customers, in alignment with CDC guidelines, while serving the needs of the community.

Nurseries, Growers, Greenhouses - These businesses fall under agricultural production and are listed as essential businesses under the EO.

Category: Latest

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
323B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120