Rebuild Distressed Communities - Frequently Asked Questions

Rebuild Distressed Communities - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rebuild Illinois for Distressed Communities Grant?
The Rebuild Illinois for Distressed Communities Grant program is intended to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020. This program is being administered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) on behalf of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The capital funds will be used to reimburse Illinois businesses for significant repairs to property that has already occurred or will fund repairs for new construction performed by qualified vendors in order to help the business and community recover as quickly as possible. Eligible impacted business can be awarded reimbursement for already completed repairs and/or a grant for new construction under this program.

Funds to make repairs or perform new construction through the Rebuild Illinois for Distressed Communities program will be from the Rebuild Illinois Program funded by Public Act 101-0638.

What type of information do I need to submit an application?
Applicants are encouraged to review the application and FAQ prior to applying to understand the information and supporting documentation required to be considered for this grant.

Who is eligible to receive these funds?
Businesses and nonprofits that have sustained property damage due to civil unrest that occurred on or after May 25, 2020, and are located in economically distressed zip codes identified by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as having sustained property damage due to civil unrest.  The list of zip codes is here. Nonprofits that can make neighborhood capital improvements in impacted commercial corridors are also eligible to apply. Applications and additional materials for neighborhood improvements are forthcoming.

What if I am located outside of the approved zip code list but my business sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest?
Businesses in zip codes not identified in the initial list may still apply, but they must be located in an economically distressed zip code.  A list of all economically distressed zip codes, whether or not they have been identified as having sustained property damage, are here.  Businesses located in an economically distressed zip code that has not been identified by DCEO as having sustained property damage due to civil unrest may submit an application for review.  Those businesses will submit the same application and supporting documentation to be considered.  LISC and CNI will seek DCEO approval to include additional zip codes based on evidence of property damage due to civil unrest.  

Can I change my application after it’s been submitted?
It is recommended that before completing and submitting the online form, respondents review answers carefully, as your work may not be saved if you leave the web page before submitting the application. You may elect to save and continue your application by selecting that option on top of the application and creating a password. If you forget your password, LISC cannot retrieve or reset it.  LISC does not guarantee that your will be saved if you leave the web page before submitting the application. You may also lose your work if your internet is disconnected, or as a result of other potential web browser issues.  LISC cannot accept changes to the application once it has been submitted, so please review it carefully.

What type of documentation of damage is required?
As part of the application you will be asked to submit the following documentation to substantiate the damage to your business.  You will be prompted to upload copies of documents or photos as part of the on-line application.   Documentation should be accessible from the device you use to complete the application.  Applications with more complete documentation will be given priority consideration:

  • Photos of damage
  • Receipts or invoices for repairs already completed
  • Quotes or bids for repairs that have not been started
  • Police Report(s)
  • Leases, mortgage statements or deeds for property
  • Insurance claims and related acceptances or denials

Do grant applicants receive a confirmation that they submitted their application?
Every applicant receives a confirmation screen that follows if all fields are filled out correctly and after hitting "done".

If I applied in a previous round, will my application roll-over?
No, applications do not roll over to later rounds. You must submit a new application for each round of grants in order to be considered for funding that round.

When filling out the application, I'm seeing the error message “3.1.  You're creating a duplicate record.  It is recommended you use an existing record instead.” What do I do?
If you've applied for a previous grant, you may see this error message while applying. If so, please submit the application with the exact same First Name, Last Name and Email Address as you did previously. If you are still having issues, please email us at ridc_grant@lisc.org.

If I received funding from LISC/CNI in a prior opportunity of grant funding that is Civil Unrest related, may I reapply for subsequent rounds? 
Yes. You may apply for additional funding through this grant. However, duplicate coverage is not allowed.  Funding can only be used for outstanding reimbursements or repair work. Applicants may be required to submit a notarized letter stating full funding or financing could not be obtained.

When will LISC’s online application portal close for submission?
Applications are being accepted in “rounds”.  Dates for each round are posted on the LISC website so check back frequently.  Rounds will continue until funding is exhausted.

What is Registration?
You may register to be notified of grant rounds opening.  The link to register will be forthcoming.

How will I be contacted or know if I will receive a grant?
LISC will primarily utilize email to communicate with all applicants. Be sure to check the email that was provided in the application as a “primary” email address first and then secondary email, including spam folders. Email updates to all applicants will come directly from LISC or CNI, depending on your zip code. Finalists will receive next steps via email.

Finalists will be notified by email and must respond promptly. The return of any grantee notification message or document as undeliverable may result in disqualification of the applicable grantee, the forfeiture of his or her interest in the grant and the selection of a substitute from among all remaining eligible finalists.

What does it mean to be a “finalist” and will there be additional documentation required?
If your business is selected as a finalist, you will be notified via email.  Being selected as a finalist does not guarantee you will receive a grant. As a finalist, additional documentation will be required to screen and verify business information for due diligence, parameters of which are required by the funding source. This may include a background search that LISC or CNI will conduct at our expense and submission of additional information to include verification information such as date of birth, Taxpay Identification Number/Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN/ITIN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), W-9 and appropriate banking information in order to receive funds via electronic funds transfer (ACH) if awarded. The background verification does not involve a credit check or credit score pull.

Please be aware that valid grant applications are only accepted through electronic submission and that LISC and CNI will never request copies of personal documentation such as driver’s licenses, passports and/or green cards. The Rebuild Distressed Communities Grant applications are intended to collect basic information about your businesses and it is LISC and CNI's recommendation that applicants should not pay a fee for assistance in completing this form. Paid professional services will not increase any applicant’s chances of selection. If you see instances of fraud online or have questions, contact us at ridc_grant@lisc.org.

What are the size of the awards? 
Grants will be made in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $200,000. LISC and CNI will use the funding to provide grants to businesses facing immediate financial needs to repair damages.

What can the grant be used for?
The intent of this program is to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020. The capital funds will be used to reimburse businesses for significant repairs to property that has already occurred or will fund repairs or new construction performed by qualified vendors in order to help the business and community recover as quickly as possible.

Grants and new projects can range from $1,000 to $200,000. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity may allow larger sub grants for certain industries/business types to address community needs. The Department must provide approval for awards over $200,000. Funded projects must occur in Illinois.

Sub Grants from this program must be used to reimburse a business for expenses incurred for a capital project to recover from damage sustained as a result of civil unrest during protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020. The capital project must have begun prior to the date when the application is made available to the public.

New projects entail hiring qualified contractors to make new repairs or perform new construction to recover from damage sustained as a result of civil unrest during protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020.

What types of expenses are eligible?
Eligible project expenses for both subgrants and new projects include major and durable repair of an asset. Routine or reoccurring operational or maintenance costs and restocking of inventory are not eligible expenses.

These include:

  • structural repair or reconstruction of existing building structure, storefronts, entrances, doors, and brickwork;
  • total repair/replacement of roofing and/or windows;
  • total replacement and installation of security shutters, lighting systems, electrical systems;
  • building additions and other exterior work which will extend the building’s useful life.

Ineligible expenses for the Rebuild Illinois for Distressed Communities grant program:

  • operating costs, including insurance, utilities, management fees, maintenance;
  • minor touch-ups including painting, patching a roof, changing lighting fixtures, etc. as the sole project request;
  • routine or reoccurring operational costs;
  • expenses that have already been reimbursed through a separate grant program or insurance claim.

Am I able to select my own contractor to perform work?
We reserve the right to select contractors from a pre-qualified list, coordinate and hire eligible vendors to perform repair and new construction work. This will help assist with the project being completed in a timely manner.  All projects that begin after the date when we first begin to receive applications must be completed through this process.

If I am awarded a grant will my business receive the funds directly for work that is performed?
For sub grants that are used for Reimbursable Expenses the business will be paid directly.
If you are awarded funds for a New Project, funds will not be paid directly to business. Funds will instead be disbursed directly to the contractor performing work for the benefit of the business.

Do any of the grant funds need to be repaid?
No, these grants do not need to be repaid. However, all taxes associated with the acceptance and/or uses of cash awarded are the sole responsibility of the individual grantee. Cash awarded will be reported by LISC and CNI to the IRS as deemed necessary according to applicable law. It is further the policy of LISC and CNI that all grantees be advised to consult with their own tax professionals and/or legal counsel to ascertain the tax impact of the cash awards. LISC will issue a Form 1099 for any grant of $600 or more. 

Have additional questions?
We are monitoring inquiries sent to ridc_grant@lisc.org and will be posting answers and updates on this landing page in an effort to support transparency and equal access to information for all applicants.