Kane County dedicates another $1 million in relief money to nonprofits

Updated 11/10/2020 8:41 PM

More than 30 Kane County-based nonprofit agencies will receive nearly $3 million in federal COVID-19 assistance after a unanimous Kane County Board vote Tuesday to approve an expanded version of its original plan.

The board has less than 60 days to spend all $93 million it received from the federal CARES Act back in April. Evolving rules for how to use the money by the U.S. Treasury Department and fears about fraud infiltrating the applications hindered the board's progress in getting the cash out to those who need it, which includes businesses.


The approval of the nonprofit program Tuesday was part of a series of votes that also dedicated more money to local businesses affected by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's pandemic restrictions.

The county staff is still debating the new rules for the expanded business program. But the board pushed forward with a plan to expand the nonprofit grants by $1 million, on top of $2 million. The extra cash will help the county spend all the money, but the primary beneficiary will be Hesed House.

The Aurora-based homeless shelter is now in line to receive a grant of nearly $800,000. The money will allow the organization to make winter preparations to accommodate more than 100 people it's housing in a makeshift shelter. The main shelter is currently unsuitable for hosting a large number of people under pandemic social distancing precautions.

Other recipients of larger grants include $365,000 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The Association of Individual Development will receive $348,000. Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley will receive $174,000. And PADS of Elgin will receive $116,000, rounding out all the six-figure grant recipients.

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St. Charles-based Lazarus House, another local homeless facility, may also be in line to receive as much as $132,000. It was unclear Tuesday if the language the county board approved to incorporate Hesed House's request would also benefit Lazarus House. If not, the organization would be in line to receive a lesser amount of $57,000.

Board member John Hoscheit, who is leading the committee overseeing the money, said the expectation is organizations should actually receive the grant funds within the next couple of weeks.

"The sooner the funds get out the sooner they can be put to use," Hoscheit said. "So that's the goal."

With Tuesday's approvals, the expectation is there will be a rapid series of meetings with the committee overseeing the money before the end of November.

A new county board takes over in December. That means three key members of the committee overseeing the funds, including Hoscheit, will no longer be part of the decision-making in the final weeks leading up to the spending deadline.

Another key figure to the county's pandemic response, Barb Jeffers, has also announced her retirement as executive director of the county's public health department.

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