Survivor Crisis Fund FAQ
How do I apply?
Visit the-network.org/survivor-crisis-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 is October 1, 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 referred to an advocate for assistance in filling out the application. We recommend making a plan prior to the application launch date.
Can I submit an application on behalf of a friend using my account?
No. The Submittable account holder should be the person filling out the application. If an application is filled out by another individual, that is not the applicant, the application will be declined. If you are an advocate applying on behalf of a client, please see the next FAQ below.
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 as an advocate with your work email address (do not open a Submittable account using your client’s email address). You can fill out as many applications on behalf of clients as necessary. When answering the first question of the application, check that you are an advocate. Please fill out only one application per client as duplicates will not get funded. Please check with your client to make sure they have not also submitted an application on their own behalf. When you log in to your Submittable account, you will see all of your clients’ applications. Please note that by default, The Network will email the person who has the Submittable account, therefore, you will receive all correspondence regarding 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.
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 “survivor/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.
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 (or to a payee they appoint) 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 reopens for the next phase. The next time the application portal will open is October 1, 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 once the review phase is complete as long as funding is still available. If we have run out of funding by the time your application is deemed eligible for funding, you may be able to apply again once we have new funding and reopen the application portal.
- 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. 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. However, if you do not have any of the documents listed, please do not upload a different kind of document in that section. This will delay your review process. If you do not have a document on the list, click No, and you will have the option to self-attest.
- 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. Please provide an explanation in the residence section of the application so that we understand that you have left your Chicago residence for safety reasons.
- 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. Please provide an explanation in the residence section of the application so that we understand that you have begun residing in Chicago for safety reasons.
- 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?
In your application, you will select if you want payment as an electronic (ACH) transfer to your bank account, or through a prepaid debit card.
To make the application review process as quick as possible, we collect payment details in the application. Payment is not guaranteed. Your application must still be determined as eligible for funding.
Incomplete or missing information will delay your payment or make you ineligible for funding.
If the survivor/applicant, or anyone in the household, has received a $ 1,000 financial assistance payment from The Network in 2023, they will not be eligible for this assistance.
You will be notified once payment is on its way. Payments will be distributed starting the week of December 7th, 2023.
Choose your payment option carefully; changing the payment method may not be possible.
ACH (Direct Deposit) is the quickest payment option but requires you to have continual access to the bank account you choose. If you choose an account that another person has access to or provide the wrong account number, you may not be able to get those funds after the payment is processed.
A mailed Prepaid Debit Card is the slowest payment option (around 10 days from the time we send it) but is the most secure if you have a safe mailing address. For a small fee, you may also withdraw cash from an ATM or receive cash back from a purchase when using the debit card.
A prepaid Digital Debit Card is quick but is only valid for online purchases (or can be transferred into Apple or Google Wallet).
Payments MUST be made out to an adult. If the survivor/applicant is a minor, they must have a trusted adult accept their payment on their behalf. This adult cannot be their advocate personally, but it may be the agency the advocate works for if the agency agrees to coordinate payment to the minor.
Payment information changes can only be requested until November 15th. Any payment change requests can be denied.
If you have any questions regarding your payment, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How much funding can I get?
The City of Chicago DFSS is funding one-time $1000 payments per survivor/household that can be used however the survivor deems necessary.
I am not eligible for DFSS Funding. Are there any other types of funding available?
Do you reside in suburban Cook County or DuPage County and need rent assistance?
Click here to learn more.
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.)
We will always update this FAQ as we get additional funds.
You can also email SurvivorFund@the-Network.org with any questions.