Coronavirus Illinois: Zero-interest loans available for suburban Cook County businesses, independent contractors

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced a new loan program Friday for small businesses and independent contractors.

The loans will be one time, zero interest loans to suburban small businesses with up to 25 employees and residents who make up more than half of their income from independent contracting.

The Community Recovery Fund will give loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors.

"Unprecedented problems call for unprecedented solutions," said President Preckwinkle. "Small businesses and entrepreneurs are at the heart of the towns and villages throughout Cook County, and my administration will do all it can to support them through this dark time. This virus may dictate our present, but it will not write our future."

One person who hopes to benefit is Stephanie Luster who had to close her salon and layoff employees.

"So to see a relief initiative like this one be available for Cook County businesses will give us all a piece of hope," Luster said. "Hope that we can push our businesses forward. Hope that as an independent contractor, we will rebound."

The loans will be distributed by a network of community lenders across the county.

The county is seeding the fund with $10 million and hopes to supplement it with private and philanthropic donations.

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