CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expecting the city and two of its sister agencies to receive more than $1.5 billion in combined federal stimulus funding to assist with their costs during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the amount of federal funding coming to the city has yet to be finalized, the mayor’s financial team said it’s highly likely Chicago will need additional assistance from Congress, due to the economic toll the pandemic has taken.
According to the mayor’s finance team, the state of Illinois is estimated to receive a total of $4.9 billion from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 response, including $2.1 billion for local governments. Chicago expects to get about $470 million of that funding.
Budget Director Susie Park said the city’s COVID-19 response costs to date exceed $100 million, largely in connection to establishing an alternative care center at McCormick Place. Those costs also include personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning supplies.
In addition to the CARES Act funding going to the city, the CTA expects to receive nearly $800 million from the stimulus package, and the Chicago Public Schools expect to get $205 million in coronavirus relief funds.
City officials said actual funding figures from the CARES Act will be determined later.
In addition to the $470 million in CARES Act funds for coronavirus expenses, the city also expects to receive an additional $46.7 million in Community Development Block Grant funding to provide services for seniors and the homeless; $23.7 million in Emergency Solutions Grants for homeless services, $1.5 million from the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program to address housing needs of people with HIV/AIDS, and $15 million in Community Services Block Grants to help deal with rising unemployment.
The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program at the Justice Department is expected to provide the city with another $6.785 million, while the CDC is expected to provide $9.715 million in public health emergency preparedness grants to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Meantime, the Chicago Housing Authority and the city’s airports are working with the federal government to determine what assistance is available to them during the pandemic. The CARES Act includes $10 billion for U.S. airports, but it’s not yet clear how much will go to O’Hare and Midway airports.
Lightfoot has repeatedly declined to provide specifics on how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the city’s budget, and while she hasn’t ruled out a possible tax hike to make up for lost revenue and added costs from the coronavirus pandemic, she has said the city is not considering furloughs, layoffs, or service cuts.
“For us to put people on the unemployment rolls—for us to retract and not be a partner with residents and businesses in trying to get them through this difficult time so they’re better situated to come out of this with minimized harm—that doesn’t make sense to us,” she said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. “We think that’s exactly the wrong strategy. So, we’re gonna continue to look at ways that city government—obviously within our means—can serve as a small stimulus if at all possible.”