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Looting following protests caused $20 million-plus in Cook County damage, state estimates

The figures helped the state secure low-interest federal loans for businesses and nonprofits of up to $2 million each from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help rebuild in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will, Kane and McHenry counties. 

Owners of the Fashion Showroom on North Broadway cleaning up shattered glass as looting continued June 1.
Owners of the Fashion Showroom on North Broadway cleaning up shattered glass as looting continued June 1.
Victor Hilitski/For the Sun-Time

Looters and vandals wrought more than $20 million in property damage in Cook County alone during the civil unrest sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, state officials said Thursday.

A survey of the aftermath found 40 Cook County businesses sustained major damage and uninsured losses, while another 95 businesses sustained minor damage, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the state Emergency Management Agency.

The figures helped the state secure low-interest federal loans for businesses and nonprofits of up to $2 million each from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help rebuild in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will, Kane and McHenry counties.

Damage assessments are still underway in those other areas where chaotic scenes sometimes played out from May 26 through June 8 alongside the widespread protests against police brutality that have continued through this month.

To be eligible for the SBA disaster declarations, counties must have seen at least 25 homes or businesses with major uninsured losses of 40% or more.

After the dust settled on the first night of major downtown Chicago wreckage May 30-31, city officials estimated more than 100 businesses had been harmed, with insurance covering many of the costs.

But the destruction marked a devastating double whammy for many businesses already reeling from the coronavirus shutdown.

“Without a question, COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented burden on businesses across our state, and recent damage sustained during civil unrest only makes matters more challenging for business owners,” said Michael Negron, acting director of the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “These SBA disaster loans will provide an essential resource for Illinois businesses who are looking ahead to make repairs and reopen safely.”

In addition to businesses and nonprofits, homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for real estate, and homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 for personal property.

Those considering applying for loans can get additional information through the SBA’s Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov; via email to FOCE-Help@sba.gov; or by phone at (571) 422-6016 or (470) 363-6079.

The application filing deadline for physical property damage is Aug. 24. Economic injury applications are being accepted through March 23, 2021.