Survivor Crisis Fund FAQ - The Network

SURVIVOR CRISIS FUND FAQ

survivor crisis fund faq

What is the Survivor Crisis Fund and what can I apply for? 

The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence established the Survivor Crisis Fund to address critical gaps in the safety net for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking. Eligibility requirements and application processes vary depending on the current funder. 

The basic eligibility to receive funding is that you are a victim/survivor of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking and/or human trafficking. Beyond that, we have various eligibility guidelines imposed by our funding sources at any given time. 

Do I qualify for this 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.

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. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are completed.  

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, 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. At minimum, we will need you to provide the zip code you are residing in.  

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?  

The funds may be considered as qualified disaster relief and do not need to be reported as taxable income. See IRS guidance here.    

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. 

How do I apply? 

Visit the-network.org/survivor-crisis-fund and follow the instructions to apply. You will need to book an appointment with an application specialist to apply. You must also create an account in our application system, Submittable, before your appointment. We will accept a limited number of appointments each month. There will be no waitlist for appointments. The appointment calendar will open on the 1st business day of each month until funds run out.  

Do I need internet access and a device with a camera 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 booking an appointment with an application specialist. We recommend making a plan prior to the application launch date. Our booking system is not currently open to the public. 

What can I expect at the appointment?  

You will meet with an application specialist for up to 60 minutes via Zoom to screen for eligibility and initiate your application form. During the meeting, you will be asked to turn your camera on for at least a few moments to show your photo ID and verify your identity. After verifying your identity, you may turn your camera off, if you prefer. Then, you will work through the application with the application specialist. You will be given clear instructions on the next steps as well as additional resources, if needed.  

I finished my appointment with the specialist. Now what? 

After your appointment, you need to complete and submit the additional form where you will upload any documentation verifying your identity, residence and/or income. Your application is not complete until this is done.  

How will The Network communicate with me about my application?  

By default, the Network will send messages to the submitter through their 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 decline the application due to inactivity. 

When can I apply? 

The first business day of each month, we will begin accepting appointment bookings. We limit the number of bookings we accept so that we do not accept too many more applications than we can fund. If the booking portal closes before you are able to submit, you can try next month to set up an appointment with us. Visit https://the-network.org/survivor-fund/ to see the dates our booking portal opens.  

Can I submit an application on behalf of a friend using my account?  

No. The Submittable account holder should be the person who is present at the appointment with our application specialist. 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? 

Advocates may book an appointment with an application specialist on behalf of their client; however, the survivor (applicant) MUST also be present at the appointment.  

If I received a $1,000 payment from The Network (DFSS) in 2023, am I still eligible? 

This funding is intended to be a one-time payment. If you received this DFSS funding from The Network in 2023, you may be eligible to receive these DFSS funds again in 2024.  You will not be eligible for this funding more than once in 2024. 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.  Advocates and caretakers may apply on behalf of a minor by providing the minor’s name and documentation at the time of the appointment with our application specialist. The adult MUST be present at the appointment as well as the Submittable account holder. The contact information, and the payee, must be an adult who has a responsibility to manage the minor’s funds.    

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. 

Applications will be reviewed in the order they are completed. After an applicant is confirmed eligible for funding and all necessary documentation and payment details have been received, payment will be sent the first week of the following month.  

The applicant is responsible for completing and submitting the Additional Form within the application where they will provide payment information. Payment is not guaranteed. Your application must still be determined as eligible for funding and funds must still be available. 

Incomplete or missing information will delay your payment or make you ineligible for funding. 

You will be notified once payment is on its way.  

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 prepaid Digital Debit Card is quick but is only valid for online purchases (or can be transferred into Apple or Google Wallet).  

A mailed Prepaid Debit Card takes around 10-14 days or more to be delivered. You can withdraw cash from an ATM for a small fee or receive cash back from a purchase. 

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 before payment has been sent. Any payment change requests can be denied.  

Definitions: 

The applicant is the victim/survivor of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking or human trafficking who is seeking funding.   

An advocate can be someone employed by a social service agency such as a case manager, counselor, legal advocate, etc. and the person they are applying on behalf of is their client.  

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 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.)  

You may also email survivorfund@the-network.org with any questions. 

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