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Harris urges community-based organizations to apply for Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program

harris 040519DOLTON – State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) urges community-based organizations that provide support services and resources to apply for a percentage of the $7.1 million worth of newly approved grants from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

“A strong support system for communities is what’s needed the most on this road to recovery,” Harris said. “While every community has been impacted by the negative effect of COVID-19, disproportionate communities had unequal resources even before this and that’s why this program is so essential for their recovery.”

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program provides funding to community-based agencies in areas disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Funds must be used for rent or utilities assistance, supportive services, or distribution of food to local residents. 

For more information and to apply for funding, click here. Application are due by Friday, July 24.

Harris announces $98,000 grant to South Suburban College adult literacy program and urges residents to volunteer

harris 041420DOLTON – With South Suburban College set to receive over $98,000 from the Illinois Secretary of State to develop their adult literacy program, State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) urges residents to volunteer as tutors for the program to help adult learners hone their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“Literacy is one tool to help people move out of poverty and get better paying jobs to support their families,” Harris said. “This funding is essential, but it’s also imperative that people contribute their time to help their neighbors learn—literacy skills benefit not only the struggling reader, but the entire community.”

Adult literacy programs throughout Illinois will serve more than 13,500 students. Supported by $5.6 million in state funds, the programs will depend on nearly 6,000 volunteer tutors to provide skills training for students, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Adult literacy projects are focused on improving reading, writing and math skills for Illinois adults who read below the 9th-grade level or speak English at a beginning level. 

The Secretary of State awards grants in these categories:

  • Adult Volunteer Literacy Grants provide training for volunteers who tutor people ages 17 and older in basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Participating literacy providers include libraries, volunteer tutoring organizations, community-based organizations, community colleges, regional offices of education, schools (individual and public), preschool programs, school districts, domestic violence shelters and correctional facilities.
  • Penny Severns Family Literacy Grants provide educational services to parents and children to enhance basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Programs must partner with an adult literacy provider, a child-at-risk agency and a public library.
  • The Workplace Skills Enhancement Project Grants provide onsite instructional services to employees of participating Illinois businesses, enabling them to enhance their basic reading, writing or language skills and improve their chances of promotion. Eligible employees must read at or below the 9th-grade level. Grantees must match the grant award and provide instructional services to prospective employees. The fiscal agent and submitting agency may be either the educational partner or the business partner.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 800-321-9511.

Harris moves to declare Juneteenth a state holiday

Juneteenth Info 1 FBSPRINGFIELD – To mark the anniversary of the end of slavery in the U.S., State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) has proposed legislation that would make June 19—also known as Juneteenth, or Freedom Day—a state holiday. 

“It’s time Illinois recognizes and observes the day African Americans were actually given their freedom, not just on paper, but in practice,” Harris said. “Making June 19 a state holiday is a way to celebrate African Americans’ freedom and highlight not just how far we have come, but also remind us how far we have to go.”

The legislation would declare June 19 Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Illinois.

Harris urges local businesses to apply for Business Interruption Grants

harris 102919CHICAGO – State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) urges local businesses—particularly businesses in disproportionately impacted communities—to apply for more than $540 million in grant funding through the new Business Interruption Grant program. 

“Disadvantaged communities need help now more than ever. Business owners are showing real determination to get through this pandemic, but it has been a challenge. This grant opportunity could provide the support they deserve,” Harris said. “I urge all local businesses in the area to apply for these grants to reduce some financial hardship.” 

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will offer $60 million in grants for the first round of BIG funding to small businesses harmed by the pandemic, many of whom have also seen damage as a result of recent civil unrest. The funds are intended to help small businesses stay viable through the pandemic, offset the cost of closures and restricted operations, and ensure they have the resources to reopen safely.

Among other specific programs, DCEO plans to disburse $20 million across 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage. To qualify for these grants, businesses must have:

  • Brought in under $2 million in revenue in 2019, or a prorated amount if in business for less than a year;
  • Been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020;
  • Experienced costs or losses of at least $20,000 since the Stay at Home order was put in place on March 21, 2020, due to closure or reduced operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Experienced recent property damage, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

DCEO and its grant administration partners are scheduled to post applications this week for review and questions. Applications will be accepted June 24 through July 1. Applicants who are selected for the grants should hear from grant administration partners by early July, and grants are scheduled to be disbursed by the end of July.

Sen. Napoleon B. Harris III

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Majority Caucus Whip
15th Legislative District

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Executive; Human Services; Insurance (Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology (Vice-Chairperson); Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Pension Investments Special Com. On..

Biography: Entrepreneur and legislator; from Dixmoor; B.A. in Communications, Northwestern University; Postgraduate certificate, Northwestern Kellogg School of Business Management; former NFL linebacker; married (wife, Nicole); three children (sons, Napoleon Harris IV, Noah & daughter, Nahla).

Associated Representatives:
William Davis
Thaddeus Jones