Survivor Crisis Fund Q&A
How do I apply?
Visit https://the-network.org/survivor-fund/ and follow the instructions to apply. You will need to create an account in our application system, Submittable, in order to apply.
When can I apply?
You can apply anytime the application portal is open. The next time the portal will be opened up is March 9, 2023 at 10:00am. We limit the number of applications we accept so that we do not accept too many more applications than we can fund. If the application portal closes before you are able to submit, you will have an opportunity to provide your contact info and we will notify you when the application portal reopens.
How will The Network communicate with me?
By default, the Network will email the person who has the Submittable account. If that person does not respond, we will attempt to communicate with other contacts whose information is provided in the application. If we have made multiple attempts to communicate and gotten no response, we will make the application inactive and stop attempting communication.
Do I need internet access to complete the application?
Yes. Residents without access to a computer, tablet, smartphone and/or the internet are encouraged to visit a Chicago Public Library location, a Department of Family and Support Services Community Service Center or (for adults 60 and older) a Department of Family and Support Services Senior Center. Individuals can also contact The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline at 877-863-6338 (877-TO END DV) to be connected to an advocate for assistance in filling out the application. We recommend making a plan prior to the application launch date.
How do I apply as an Advocate on behalf of my clients?
Visit the-network.org/survivor-crisis-fund. You will need to create an account for yourself. You can fill out as many applications on behalf of clients as necessary. Please fill out only one application per client as duplicates will not get funded. When you log in to your Submittable account, you will see all of your clients’ applications.
Can I apply for funding more than once?
Unfortunately, no. The Network’s Survivor Crisis Fund is intended to be a one-time assistance program. There is a much greater demand for funding than we ever have available. If it has been longer than 12 months since you have received funding from The Network, or you have an emergency need, we may provide additional funding if allowed by our funders. In general, we will review each application for eligibility for all funding we have available at the time and will grant the applicant with the greatest amount they are eligible for from one of our pools of funding.
I am undocumented or someone in my household is. Can I/we apply?
Yes. This program is open to all, regardless of your immigration status. This means that if you are not a documented resident, or your household is a mixed-status household, and you meet the eligibility criteria, you are eligible to participate. The application will not contain questions regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, COVID-19 related benefits, including cash assistance, will not be used to determine whether an individual was or could become a public charge.
Can I apply on behalf of a minor/child who is a survivor?
Yes. The “applicant” would be the minor. The contact information, and the payee, must be an adult who has a responsibility to manage the minor’s funds.
Do I qualify for funding?
The Network’s basic qualification is that the applicant be a survivor of gender-based violence, which includes domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking. You will be asked in the application to attest to being a survivor. We distribute multiple sources of funding and each funder may determine additional qualifications. We expect to always have a higher demand than funding available so we are consistently looking for new sources of funding.
We currently have funding available from The City of Chicago (DFSS) and the Federal Government (EFSP Phase 39 ARPA-R).
- Tell me more about the City of Chicago (DFSS) funding.
To qualify for this funding, at a minimum, you must reside in Chicago, have a household income below 300% of the federal poverty level and have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19. You will be asked to upload documents to show proof of identity, residence, and income. Funds will be sent directly to the survivor to be used as needed. This funding will be available until the end of 2023 or until it runs out. We will distribute funds in multiple phases so that we can get payments out as quickly as possible. We will limit the number of applications we accept so that we do not accept many more applications than we can fund during a particular phase. If the application portal closes before you are able to submit, you will have an opportunity to provide your contact info and we will notify you when the application portal will reopen for the next phase. The next time the application portal will open is March 9, 2023 at 10:00am.
- How will individuals be selected to receive payment?
We will limit the number of applications we accept so that we do not accept many more applications than we can fund during any phase. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. After an applicant is confirmed eligible for funding and all necessary documentation and payment details have been received, payment will be sent as long as funding is still available. If we have run out of funding by the time your documentation is received, we may review your application and materials when new funding is available for which you may be eligible.
- What additional documents or application materials will I need to apply?
To qualify for this funding, at a minimum, you must live in Chicago and have a household income below 300% of the federal poverty level and experienced economic hardship due to COVID. You will be asked to upload documents to show proof of identity, residence, and income. These documents are intended to verify your identity and date of birth, proof of residence in Chicago, and total household income.
- What is included in household income?
You will be asked to submit documentation for any income-earning adult in your household, excluding the person who has caused harm if they are living in your household. A household income calculator is available within the application. Include all money from jobs, gifts, loans, and cash benefits like Social Security, disability, retirement or pensions, and unemployment.
- Does my adult child or relative count as part of my household?
If your adult child or relative is your dependent, and you pay for their day-to-day expenses, you may consider them a part of the same household. If your adult child or relative lives in your home but is otherwise financially independent, they are considered a separate household, similar to a roommate.
- What if I don’t have some of these documents?
In the application, you will be asked which documents you have. If you do not have access to any of the documents in the list, click No, and you will have the option to self-attest. Note: We are limited by the funder to how many applicants we can fund who self-attest to all areas. If you have any of the documents, please upload them.
- I’ve been living in Chicago but am temporarily staying outside of Chicago for safety reasons. Do I qualify for City of Chicago funding?
If you have established residency in Chicago, yes. For this purpose, having Chicago residency means you are able to upload any of the listed documentation to verify your Chicago address.
- I have not established residency in Chicago, but I am currently staying in Chicago for safety reasons. Do I qualify for City of Chicago funding?
Yes. If you do not have any of the acceptable documents to verify Chicago residency, you will have the option to self-attest, or you can have an advocate attest that you are living in Chicago.
- What kind of COVID-19 economic hardship is needed to qualify?
We recognize a wide range of economic impacts from COVID-19. In the application, you will be asked to choose what kind of impact you experienced, including reduced or lost wages, loss of childcare or home aid, and other impacts on your income and expenses. You will not be required to submit supporting documents.
- If selected, would I report the money as income on my taxes?
No, the funds may be considered as qualified disaster relief and do not need to be reported as taxable income. See IRS guidance here.
- How will I get paid?
Once your application has been reviewed and all documentation has been accepted, we will send a form asking for your payment details. On it, you will select if you want payment as a check, through an electronic (ACH) transfer to your bank account, or through a prepaid debit card.
- How much funding can I get?
The City of Chicago DFSS is funding one-time $1000 payments per survivor that can be used however the survivor deems necessary.
- Tell me more about the Federal Government (EFSP Phase 39 ARPA-R) funding.
This is rental funding for residents of Chicago, Cook County or DuPage County who have already explored and exhausted other resources. In order to qualify, you must already be behind in your rental payments, or need funding for your first rent payment in a new residence. The landlord must sign a form stating the amount you owe and that a payment guarantees you another 30 days in the residence. The residence must be your current primary residence and you need to be the person responsible for the payment. You are not eligible if you have already gotten EFSP Phase 39 funding from The Network or another agency in the past. The payment will need to be sent directly to the landlord. This funding will be available until the end of 2023 or until it runs out.
- What if I am not yet behind on my rent payment?
Unless this is your first month’s rent payment or your payment is due within 10 days, you will not qualify for this funding.
- What if my residence is outside of Cook or DuPage Counties?
You will not qualify for this funding.
- What if my landlord will not fill out a form?
You will not qualify for this funding. However, if this is your first month’s rent and you have a dated and signed lease with your name as the responsible party, complete with all the pages, that will qualify you.
- How will payment happen?
We must send payment directly to the landlord and will send it via check. The landlord will fill out the payment information on the landlord form.
- When will payment happen?
We will limit the number of applications we accept so that we do not accept many more applications than we can fund during any phase and so that we can get payments sent as soon as possible. As an applicant is confirmed eligible for funding, and all necessary documentation and payment details have been received, payment will be sent providing funding is available. If we have run out of funding by the time your documentation is received, we may review your application and materials once new funding is available that you may be eligible for.
- What if my name is not on the lease?
Your landlord must attest that you are responsible for paying rent even if your name is not on the lease. As long as it is not your first month’s rent, we do not need a copy of your lease.
- How much assistance can I get?
EFSP Phase 39 rental assistance allows for up to 3 months of rent to be covered. Rent payments must already be outstanding or due within the next 10 days.
- If I am moving into a new apartment, can I get this assistance?
If you need assistance for your first month’s rent, you can be eligible for funding to cover the first month. We cannot cover security deposits or future/last month’s rent or any other fees. If the landlord is not willing to complete the form, you may upload your dated, signed lease, including all pages, showing what your first month’s rent is and where payment should be sent.
The applicant is the victim/survivor of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking or human trafficking who is seeking funding.
An advocate can be someone from a social service agency such as a case manager, counselor, legal advocate, etc.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms. GBV is an umbrella term for a range of interpersonal violence including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation. Domestic violence and sexual assault are thought of as subset behaviors of GBV while human trafficking is not exclusively a GBV behavior.
Domestic violence (DV) Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, including physical, emotional, mental, verbal, financial, and sexual abuse, by a partner or someone living with you to maintain power and control over you (this person can be a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, ex-partner, roommate, family member, caregiver). DV can include things like hitting, pushing, stopping you from leaving; threats; name-calling; isolation from loved ones; controlling your money, not allowing you to work; etc.
Call the IL DV Hotline at 877-863-6338 to learn more about domestic violence or see https://www.ilcadv.org/types-of-abuse/.
Sexual assault (SA) is any unwanted sexual contact or behavior without explicit consent (or agreement) of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include rape, forced sex, attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching (including touching of any private parts of the body), fondling, or forcing any sexual act.
Call the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline at 888-293-2080 to learn more about sexual assault or see https://www.rainn.org/ .
Human Trafficking (HT) is the use of force, fraud, or coercion that can be subtle, overt, physical, or psychological to make a victim participate in commercial sex or forced labor. This can include actions by manipulation or force; false promises of well-paying jobs; romantic relationships, etc.
Call the The Salvation Army STOP-IT Program’s hotline at 877-606-3158 to learn more about human trafficking or see https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-Trafficking/Human-Trafficking.html.
Stalking is when someone repeatedly calls, texts, follows, or otherwise communicates with another person, causing fear for their safety and emotional pain.
Examples of stalking can include following you around or spying on you; sending you unwanted emails or letters; calling you often; showing up uninvited at your house, school, or work; leaving you unwanted gifts; damaging your home, car, or other property; threatening you, your family, or pets with violence; etc.
Call or text the IL DV Hotline at 877-863-6338 for support if you or someone you know is experiencing stalking or see https://victimconnect.org/learn/types-of-crime/stalking/ to learn more about stalking.
Residence: See info above regarding qualifying for funding. Some funding is restricted to residents of Chicago or Cook County or DuPage County. If a survivor had established residency in one location and is now currently living temporarily in another location but does not have any documentation to show where they are currently staying, they still may qualify for that funding. (For example, if a survivor has been living in Champaign County for their entire life and just recently moved to Chicago, they would qualify for City of Chicago DFSS funding. Another example: If a Chicago resident is temporarily staying in a hotel in the Cook County suburbs, they would qualify for City of Chicago DFSS funding.) If someone has residency outside of Chicago/Cook County/DuPage County and is currently staying outside of Chicago/Cook County/DuPage County, we unfortunately have no current Survivor Fund assistance that they would qualify for.
We will always update this FAQ as we get additional funds.
You can also email SurvivorFund@the-Network.org with any questions.