Community First® Disaster Relief Program


The Community First® Disaster Relief Program is currently assisting several Wisconsin counties that suffered flooding and mudslide damage in seperate events in September and July 2016.  The declared disaster areas in central Wisconsin include Adams, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, and vernon counties (FEMA disaster declaration DR-4288). The affected areas in northern Wisconsin include Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Iron, Sawyer, and Washburn counties, and the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe (FEMA disaster declaration DR-4276)

The program is designed to offer direct disaster relief funding to FHLB Chicago members and the communities they support. The FHLB Chicago originally developed the Community First Disaster Relief Program to assist several communities in Illinois that were struck by tornados and severe storms in November 2013, and to serve as a blueprint for responses to future FEMA-declared disasters across Illinois and Wisconsin. 


Serving with Our Members

The FHLB Chicago has expanded the counties it is currently assisting with its $500,000 Community First Disaster Relief Program to include central Wisconsin communities (FEMA disaster declaration DR-4288) affected by severe storms, flash flooding, and mudslides that occurred on September 21-22,2016. Assistance continues to be available to those northern Wisconsin counties (FEMA disaster declaration DR-4276) affe​cted by storms and subsequent flooding that took took place on July 11-12, 2016. Eligible households and businesses that sustained damage in the flooding may contact one of our member institutions​ to apply for a $5,000 grant. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until April 21, 2017 or when funds have been depleted, whichever comes first.

In 2014, the FHLB Chicago donated $500,000 to provide financial assistance through our members to people living and working in the November 2013 FEMA-declared disaster area in Illinois. One hundred homeowners and businesses, including those located in the hardest-hit counties of Tazewell and Champaign, were able to access grants through 16 FHLB Chicago member financial institutions. The disaster relief grants were provided in addition to assistance offered through the established Community Investment Cash Advances and Downpayment Plus® Programs. 

View the Community Investment Advisory Council 2013 Annual Report to learn more about how the Community First Disaster Relief Program is helping rebuild affected communities.


How the Program Works

  • Disaster relief funding is provided by the FHLB Chicago and administered through member financial institutions to communities in designated disaster areas
  • Financial assistance is designed to address the specific needs of the district based on the impact of the declared disaster; this includes assistance to homes and/or businesses in the affected communities.
  • Households and businesses must meet specific eligibility requirements to qualify for program assistance.
  • Programs offered may be limited in their combined use with other FHLB Chicago products.

Determination of Funding

Although an event may be declared a disaster by FEMA, the determination to provide assistance, programs offered, where funds can be utilized, and program availability are governed by the FHLB Chicago.
Questions related to the Community First Disaster Relief Program can be directed to the FHLB Chicago Community Investment Group at 312-565-5824.