Anti-Violence Group Shifts Gears, Starts Fundraiser For Street Vendors Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Jim Gudas
May 14, 2020 - 12:20 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- There are far fewer people on city streets these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing tough times for Chicago's street vendors. An anti-violence group has shifted gears to help some of them. 

The group, Increase the Peace, has started a fundraising effort for street vendors who are financially struggling because of the big drop in business during the pandemic.

"A lot of them depending on the foot traffic, especially on these nice days and now they don't have any of that. So, if you want these street vendors to continue to be apart of our city's culture, we need to support them now, so that way they can be here after this pandemic is over," said Increase the Peace Co-Founder Berto Aguayo.

Aguayo said the group has raised about $21,000, but he said that is not nealy enough money for all of the more than 150 street vendors who have asked for help.

"A lot of them don't qualify for the govenment stimulus check, because most of them are undocumented, and a lot of them also don't qualify for any type of business relief, because they are not considered a traditional business," he said.

Aguayo said the group will award $500 grants to as many of the vendors as it can later this month.

He said many street vendors might lose their businesses, as well as their homes, because of the financial struggles they face during the COVID-19 pandemic unless they get some kind of financial assistance.

More information about the fundraiser can be found on Increase the Peace's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.