CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Monday announced that applications have opened for the Community Loan Recovery Fund – which offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors based in suburban Cook County.

“Cook County is committed to having a meaningful impact in the communities that are facing tough economic challenges in the face of COVID-19,” Preckwinkle said in a news release. “While we know the funds will go fast, through these investments in local small businesses and independent contractors, the County hopes to positively impact financially underserved communities while providing growth capital to help sustain operations and provide assistance to our most vulnerable businesses.”

The program will serve businesses in suburban Cook County with fewer than 25 employees and less than $3 million in annual revenue, and independent contractors with less than $100,000 in annual income who earn at least 50 percent of their revenue from contracting work.

Gig workers such as rideshare drivers are eligible.

Since the fund was announced in April, more than 8,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and independent contractors have reached out about it, Preckwinkle’s office said.

“While we understand $10M is not enough to help the thousands of small businesses that expressed a need in this program, we are hopeful that it will offer relief to some,” Xochitl Flores, Cook County Bureau Chief of Economic Development, said in the release. “Our efforts to identify more resources and ways to grow our support are ongoing, and we are hopeful that this is coming at a time when recovery is so critical.”

Once launched, the applications will be open for 10 days.

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.