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CTA Assists Small Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic

CTA Assists Small Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic

Through the landmark CTA Building Small Businesses Program, CTA and Walsh-Fluor helped 10 small businesses working on the RPM project to secure $3.4 million in federal funds

The CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project and the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, RPM’s contractor, have helped disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) successfully apply for and receive $3.4 million in COVID-19-related federal aid.

The CTA with Walsh-Fluor and LISC Chicago created the “CTA Building Small Businesses” program in 2019 to provide financial and technical assistance to small businesses that are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) or that are seeking to become DBE-certified to be eligible to work on CTA projects. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, CTA and Walsh-Fluor have expanded their support to help companies apply for federal CARES Act loans, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

“These small businesses are helping CTA build new Red Line stations and tracks, and in our view, it is just as important to invest in our communities as it is in our infrastructure,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Given the strength of our CTA Building Small Businesses program with our partner Walsh-Fluor, it made perfect sense to go beyond our regular program assistance to help these businesses survive this unprecedented period.”

Paniagua Group, based in Arlington Heights, is one such beneficiary from participating in CTA’s Small Business Program and receiving guidance on successfully applying for federal COVID-19 funds. Paniagua, through working with Walsh-Fluor and CTA through its “CTA Building Small Businesses”, has successfully bid and worked on a CTA construction project because of its participation.

This spring, CTA and Walsh-Fluor held a virtual CTA Building Small Businesses session during which:

  • Small businesses were provided information about how to swiftly assemble the necessary documents to successfully apply for federal funding.
  • The program team created a guide outlining the capacity of both lending programs, who is eligible, and what financial information applicants should be prepared to submit.
  • The team worked one-on-one with DBEs seeking loans.
  • Thirteen (13) companies, including contractors and professional services, were successful in applying for loans that ranged in amounts from about $6,500 to $1.2 million.

The CTA Building Small Businesses Program was created to help small businesses bid on large projects like the $2.1 billion RPM project.  The program is designed to help DBEs secure loans for working capital, equipment and other cash-flow needs. Launched in September 2019, the program has worked with dozens of small businesses to develop the capacity to bid on CTA projects like the RPM.

For more information on RPM, visit transitchicago.com/RPM.

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Currently, COVID-19 is challenging individuals who are looking for training and workforce opportunities as unemployment rates rise. Recognizing a need, now more than ever, for workforce development resources, CTA is hosting webinars connecting local job seekers to construction industry opportunities.

As part of its workforce development efforts for the Red and Purple Modernization Phase One Project, CTA has been hosting a series of webinars called Construction Talks to connect participants to training and workforce opportunities in the construction industry during COVID-19. This virtual program was developed in direct response to the pandemic to ensure that while social distancing measures are being implemented individuals still have access to workforce development resources.

Each webinar provides apprenticeship details and a Q&A portion for the attendees to ask questions in real-time, as well as virtual tours of the hosting organizations, which include workforce assistance and community organizations and government agencies.  CTA has hosted five webinars with over 150 attendees collectively.

The next two Construction Talks will take place on Friday, June 26 at 12:00pm and Friday, July 10 at 12:00pm. Links to the registration pages are below –

  • Friday, June 26 at 12pm: Click here
  • Friday, July 10 at 12pm:  Click here

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. (more…)

Haven’t filed a tax return for a previous year? Take steps now!

The IRS encourages anyone with a tax filing obligation who hasn’t filed a tax return for 2018 or a previous year to act now. – Pending legislation includes certain potential credits and rebates for those who have filed a return for 2018 and/or 2019. Those without 2018 tax filings on record could potentially affect mailings of stimulus checks. And more than 1 million people who haven’t filed tax returns for Tax Year 2016 and are owed a refund still face an April 15, 2020, deadline to file their return. This deadline hasn’t been extended. Current law requires the 2016 return to be filed by April 15, 2020.

Many non-filers should consider contacting a tax professional to consider various available options since the time to receive such refunds is limited by statute. Once delinquent returns have been filed, most taxpayers have the opportunity to resolve any outstanding liabilities by entering into an Installment Agreement or an Offer in Compromise with the IRS to obtain a “Fresh Start.” See IRS.gov for further information.

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

“Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds.”

Per announcement from CTA

Dear CTA Rider,

As people stay home and practice social distancing in response to COVID-19, we want you to know that CTA is continuing to run bus and rail service for those who need to get to critical jobs or need to travel for essential purposes.

During this time of uncertainty, CTA will be offering a one-time credit for any remaining days left on an active 7- or 30-day pass, based on when the pass was last used (more details below).

Additionally, we wanted to provide you with some helpful information regarding your Ventra account – specifically how to make the best use of any existing, inactive passes and other steps you can take to reduce your cost burden.

  • Prorated credit for active 7- and 30-day passes: Customers with an active 7- or 30-day pass are eligible to receive a prorated credit for any remaining days, based on when the pass was last used.  For example, a 7-day pass that was activated on March 15 and used only that day, would be eligible for a prorated refund reflecting six unused days. Prorated credits will be issued as Transit Value that is added to the cardholder’s Ventra account. Transit Value can be used to purchase passes in the future or for rides paid for individually from your value balance.

    To receive a Transit Value credit, send an email to Ventra Customer Service (customerservice@ventrachicago.com) with the following information no later than April 13, 2020:

    • Account holder’s name,
    • Transit account ID number, and
    • Type of pass (7- or 30-day) in which a credit is being requested.
  • Unlimited ride passes (1-, 3-, 7-, 30-day passes):  Passes are only activated when tapped at a rail station or on a bus, so if you do not need to ride CTA using one of these passes, simply save your Ventra Card with inactive passes until things return to normal. You can log in to your account online to see if you have any active or inactive passes.
  • Deactivating autoload feature: If you have autoload enabled, you can easily deactivate this feature through the Ventra app or on our website (VentraChicago.com). And it’s just as easy to re-activate autoload when things get back to normal.
  • Pre-tax transit benefits: If you use your employer’s pre-tax transit benefits program, you can contact your employer’s administrator to turn off a 30-Day Pass or Transit Value deposits. These deposits generally occur on 26th of each month. Please note that employers or third-party administrators may take some time to process your request.

And remember, Ventra Transit Value and/or inactive passes do not become dormant until 18 months transpire without any use.

For questions or further assistance with your Ventra Card or account, call 1.877.NOW.VENTRA or visit ventrachicago.com.

Are you in need of fresh produce, nonperishable food, or a hot meal?
Do you know someone experiencing unemployment or hunger as a result of the Coronavirus crisis?

The Northwest Food Partners Network Food Resources Guide is a record of all food pantries, free hot meal sites, and produce mobile locations in the neighborhoods we serve. We encourage you to view the guide, download it, print it out, and share it with anyone who might find it useful.

Before going to an organization’s food pantry or hot meal site, please call them to check that they’re still open!

View our Food Resources Guide here.

More food and financial resources at our COVID-19 Hub here.

The Northwest Food Partners Network is a coalition of community organizations working together to end hunger on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Led by La Casa Norte, we’ve been fighting food insecurity in our community since 2009.

If your organization is listed in our Food Resources Guide, but your programming has changed due to COVID-19, please let us know. Additionally, if you would list your organization to be added to our Food Resources Guide, please reach out! You can email us at northwestfoodpartners@gmail.com.

Dear Bickerdike Community Member,

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally and cases have been reported in the Chicago area, we at Bickerdike are closely monitoring the situation. We are taking all precautions to keep our staff and residents healthy and to prevent illness.

We are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local agencies, and we ask that you do the same.

Additionally, we are taking the below precautionary measures.

  • All of our offices will be closed to the public until further notice. Only staff and individuals and families with a pre-scheduled appointment will be allowed into the office.
  • All non-essential after-hours meetings and classes at Bickerdike offices are cancelled.
  • We are working with residents to ensure health and safety, and that any issues are addressed.
  • We will continue to monitor developments, and take precautionary measures to ensure the health of our staff and residents.

If you are a Bickerdike resident, please read our full letter to residents here. For updates, visit our website and follow us on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can also get updated information from the following websites:
www.chicago.gov (City of Chicago)
www.cdc.gov (CDC)
www.who.int (World Health Organization)

Let’s all work together to stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely,

Joy Aruguete
Chief Executive Officer