CHICAGO (CBS) — The $100 million Chicago Resiliency Fund is meant to throw businesses a lifeline, and the deadline to apply for a grant is coming up at 5 p.m. Friday.

Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin joined CBS 2’s Brad Edwards and Irika Sargent on “Hour 18” Thursday to talk about the how the loan works. Conyears-Ervin, as treasurer, is chair of the Chicago Community Catalyst Fund – which invested up to $50 million of the $100 million for the Resiliency Fund.

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“This is truly designed for small businesses. Me being the young lady that is born in Englewood, raised on the West Side, I actually know the importance of small businesses in our communities” Conyears-Ervin said, “and so I was happy to pardon with Mayor Lightfoot on this in making certain that unlike the federal program, which a lot of small businesses were not able to tap into, this program through the City of Chicago is truly for small businesses – less than 50 employees with an annual revenue of less than $3 million.”

The requirements also include that the business has seen a 25 percent decrease in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, and serves Chicago communities.

Businesses can apply through, or through the website, where there is a tab for coronavirus.

Edwards noted that Chicago has long been dogged by accusations that getting something like a loan is an insiders game in which you’ve got to know someone. But Conyears-Ervin emphasized that her office is ensuring equity in how the funds are doled out.

“We are making certain – and there has been a great partnership between my office and the Mayor’s office in making certain that we are working with the financial institutions to make certain that there is equity with this program,” Conyears-Ervin said. “And I’ll tell you, just with the number of loans that we’ve already provided, 67 percent of the loans have been given to businesses with low- to moderate-income communities.”

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A total of 41 percent of the loans have been given to African-American and Hispanic business owners, she said.

She emphasized that she does not want a small business to hear about the loan and think it does not apply to them.

However, officials emphasize that this is a loan and not a grant. But for the first six months, the interest rate is 0 percent, and for the next six months, it can be between 1 and 2 percent up to 18 months.

The loans can go further up to five years, Conyears-Ervin said.

As of Thursday, 124 loans had been approved – and there are many left to give out.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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