Lightford032720CHICAGO – Continuing efforts to provide support for struggling families during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) announces increases in SNAP benefits, help for people experiencing homelessness and backing for child care providers serving essential workers during this crisis.

“Our most vulnerable residents and families are feeling the brunt of the fight against COVID-19,” Lightford said. “Through Governor Pritzker’s leadership, we are able to provide some relief to people in need as we continue to combat this virus.”

The state of Illinois has requested special waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture allowing the Illinois Department of Human Services to increase monthly benefit amounts of the Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program, expand SNAP access, and expediting process and flexibility. The expansion will result in almost $80 million more for Illinois families, and double existing benefits for many people.

While many IDHS offices remain open, people are highly encouraged to stay at home and to sign up for SNAP and other benefits by visiting

Last week, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced a 5% increase to initiatives supporting people experiencing homelessness. An additional $6 million in new funding has been distributed to support the 19 Continuums of Care across the state and an additional $2 million will support housing and other services for people experiencing homelessness.

Through the expansion of these services, IDHS will ensure decisions are made at the local level allowing flexibility to better serve impacted people. IDHS is building on the existing infrastructure of shelters and partner programs throughout the state to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness during this crisis.

Child care providers who have been licensed to operate during this pandemic will receive stipends to help with added costs. Licensed homes will receive $750. Centers with one to two classrooms open will receive $2,000, and centers with three or more classrooms open will receive $3,000. Applications for the stipend will be available on Monday to providers through their local Child Care Resource & Referral agency.

Illinois continues to assist essential workers, especially health care workers, in finding childcare. A website with resources has been created for communities detailing how they can help ensure essential workers have access to the child care they need.

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