*Updated: April 26, 2021
This page contains information and links for Cook County programs and services that may be helpful for residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the Northwest Suburbs of Cook County’s 15th District. Also listed below are community, county, and state resources that may be helpful to you. In addition to government resources, I’ve included the following information.
- Food support for residents in need
- Unemployment benefits
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Small Business Support
- Healthcare Support
- Utility/Cable/Telecom Companies Response to COVID-19
- Mental Health Resources
- Childcare Resources
- Education Resources
- Entertainment Resources
Some of these programs and services are available to everyone regardless of where you live. Although other qualifications may apply. This page will continue getting updated as more resources develop. Please see our disclaimer below.
I am committed to providing updates on local, state, and federal resources designed to assist the community with challenges related to COVID-19. You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Facebook (@CommissionerKevinBMorrison) and Twitter (@KBMorrison15), or email Kevin.Morrision@cookcountyil.gov to make sure you receive the latest information.
Commissioner Kevin Morrison’s Self-Quarantine Statement: In response to concerns with spread of COVID-19 and following recommendations from the CDC and Cook County Department of Public Health, myself and my staff have been working remotely whenever possible since Monday, March 16, 2020, and will continue to encourage and practice social distancing for as long as needed to protect the safety and health of our constituents and communities. Read the whole statement here.
Stay updated with Cook County text alerts and dedicated hotline and email
Cook County’s COVID-19 information page with actions and guidance: Stay updated by visiting, www.cookcountyil.gov. Residents can also sign up for text alerts to receive the latest updates regarding COVID-19 or contact the dedicated hotline and email.
Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has a dashboard called Shiny App updated to show COVID-19 surveilance data for areas under their jurisdiction (excludes Chicago, Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie, and Stickney Township). More CCDPH tools are below.
CCDPH COVID-19 Hotline (effective since March 19, 2020):
- To receive text alerts, text “alertcook” to 888-777
- Call 708-633-3319
- Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday
- For up-to-date information on COVID-19. Live translation services are available in all major languages.
CCDPH COVID-19 Email
- Effective Thursday, Mar. 19, 2020
- Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
- This is another option for obtaining the most up to date information
Vaccine Plan in suburban Cook County
Visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov to sign up for vaccine notifications, confirm which group you’re in, and find out when locations near you have appointments available. For in-home vaccination services, fill out the online form found in the top-right of the website above or call the hotline below.
Also try the Vaccine Sign-Up Hotline: (833) 308-1988, Monday – Friday 7am – 10pm and Saturday 8am – 10pm CT
Sign up your organization as a vaccination clinic site here.
Current travel guidance for travelers to suburban Cook County
In response to the changing dynamics of COVID-19 transmission across the United States, and to support CCDPH’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, CCDPH has issued the following guidance for anyone coming into suburban Cook County from designated states with a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19.
Anyone traveling from a state on the Orange list on this webpage is directed to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in suburban Cook County or quarantine for a 10-day period (or for the duration of their time in suburban Cook County, whichever is shorter).
CCDPH guidance is consistent with the City of Chicago’s Travel Order to reduce confusion among people living and working in Cook County.
Work from Home if Possible
Work with your employer to plan to work from home unless it is necessary for you to be in the workplace. We ask employers to make accommodation for this. Our goal is to reduce transmission so businesses and schools can be safely opened.
Participate in Essential Activities Only
Stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries.
Check the CCDPH website at www.cookcountypublichealth.org for updates. If you must travel, quarantine for 14 days to protect others and help us stop the spread of COVID-19.
For answers to frequently asked questions, please visit www.cookcountypublichealth.org/communicable-diseases/covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance.
Cook County COVID-19 Response Plan: From Rapid Response to Equitable Recovery
Documents our initial, rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis and outlines our priorities for an equitable recovery over the next several months. The full document and overview are available for download.
Medical Examiner COVID-19 Dashboard
Provides direct, transparent access to critical information about coronavirus deaths in the County for public health agencies, medical professionals, first responders, journalists, policymakers and residents.
Interactive Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) Map
The SVI Map is an interactive way to share information with first responders, public health officials and the public about which communities in Cook County will likely need the most support during a catastrophic event such as a pandemic.
Additional COVID-19 Resource Pages
The State of Illinois has created a website focused on providing critical COVID-19 information, resources, and news. Please visit at Coronavirus.illinois.gov.
Since June 26th, Illinois has been in Phase Four of #RestoreIllinois. View the Restore Illinois dashboard and how the state is sectioned into regions here. Suburban Cook County is in Region 10 which is currently under Phase 4.
School districts and local officials should follow extensive guidance released by IDPH and ISBE in August and make decisions related to in-person and remote learning at the local level, based on the unique needs of their communities. Child care facilities may continue to operate subject to DCFS guidelines. To view the mitigation requirements by industry setting affected, visit the State of Illinois’ COVID-19 Response website here.
Governor Pritzker asked that anyone who has attended a protest or rally get tested for COVID-19, either within five days of attending a protest or at the first sign of symptoms.
- All state-run sites offer anyone a free test, regardless of symptoms. No appointment, doctor referral, or insurance is required
- There are hundreds of locations across Illinois where you can get tested and you can find the closest location here.
Every healthcare provider in the state can sign up for SIREN, the DPH emergency notification
tool. To sign up for SIREN, send an email to DPH.SIREN@illinois.gov.
Learn more about the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund that has supported non-profits across the state who are serving individuals, families, and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application for the final round of funding is now closed.
In a Domestic Violence situation? Get help by calling the new State of Illinois Hotline at (877) 863-6338
The 15th District of Cook County is full of incredible municipalities and townships taking steps to protect their communities and residents. To see their updates and status of services visit their web sites below.
For the LGBTQ community
Brave Space Alliance has a COVID-19 resource page for trans, non-binary, and intersex individuals. Resources include Food Pantry, Relief Funds, Telehealth, and other virtual services. Please visit here.
For those living with HIV and AIDS or who are using PrEP and experiencing financial crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please check out the HIV Resource Hub managed by The AIDS Foundation of Chicago in partnership with the Center on Halsted. Case managers and clients must contact the Chicago-area HIV Resource Coordination Hub at 1-844-482-4040 to access these funds.
Equality Illinois has put together a comprehensive website for a variety of non-profits and other resources specifically for LGBTQ people. Take a look here.
Hanover Township and U-46 School District Area: Get low-cost meals at the Township Senior Center, call ahead and check the menu here.
Schaumburg Township Area: Effective May 1, 2021, The Township of Schaumburg Food Pantry at One Illinois Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 is open with an updated schedule below.
The pantry will be open:
Mondays and Wednesdays 9am – 2pm
Tuesdays and Fridays 10am – 3pm
Thursdays 11am – 4pm
Appointments are easy to make by calling (847) 884-0030 ex. 1013.
The Schaumburg Barn is curbside pick-up only. Must be 60+ years old. Call ahead for schedule and questions at (847) 524-7496.
The following Food Pantries are also available for assistance (call & check hours before going):
Barrington Township Area: Call or email the Township Food Pantry for pick-up, details here.
Elk Grove Township Area: Call their General Assistance to inquire and apply for food assistance, here. Residents need only bring proof of address and can get food assistance same-day. If you are in need, please visit the new location at 600 Landmeier Road in Elk Grove Village.
Palatine Township Area: their Food Pantry is also open and operational, learn how to apply here.
Find a Food Pantry nearest you at https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/find-food/
OR by calling (773) 247-3663
Benefits Hotline: The Food Depository’s Benefits Outreach team provides application and case
management assistance for SNAP and Medicaid and can help direct families to other public benefits
programs. Constituents can call our Benefits Hotline at 773-843-5416 Monday through Friday from 8:30
am to 5:00 pm or visit us at www.chicagosfoodbank.org/benefits-outreach.
Job seekers can visit the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership’s website to find out who’s hiring now.
Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and Unemployment Benefits – Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. If you have a question about unemployment insurance or are unable to file, please call Claimant Services at (800) 244-5631.
- The Pandemic Unemployment Application is available now. Find out more information and eligibility criteria at their website here.
- FOR ON-LINE APPLICATIONS, click here. If your last name begins with letters:
- A through M file your claim on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays.
- N through Z file your claim online on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
- Saturdays – for those who missed their application window.
- FOR PHONE APPLICATIONS, call (800) 244-5631. If your last name begins with letters:
- A through M call between 7:30am – 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- N through Z call between 7:30am – 6pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
- Fridays (7am-6pm) & Saturdays (8am-noon) – for those who missed their call window.
Employee workplace concerns contact the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights Bureau
at (877) 470-5076 or submit a complaint online.
The Illinois Restaurant Association has opened their Restaurant Employee Relief Fund again. This fund provides one-time $500 grants to support restaurant employees who are facing an unforseen hardship due to COVID-19. Grants will help cover basic living expenses such as rent, groceries, and utilities. Apply here.
A new state law- the Employment of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act– is requiring the workforce on all public works projects to be comprised of a minimum of 90% Illinois residents.
Find out more information about the new law here.
US Bartender Guild’s National Charity Foundation Emergency Grants – The Foundation provides grants to qualified applicants in the service industry who are in need of financial assistance.
Stimulus Check: the Internal Revenue Service launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.
Business Owner and Customer Resources
For business related inquiries regarding the “Stay at Home” Executive Order 10, SBA loans, and
essential business operations please contact 1-800-252-2923 or CEO.email@example.com.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Grants & Loan Programs:
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Second Draw Loans: Applications open until March 31st, 2021.
All Second Draw PPP Loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list
of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found HERE.
A PPP training for sole proprietors was done by the U.S. SBA and it is recorded at this site: https://bit.ly/loanwebinar2.
PPP Guidance and Resources
- Accessing Capital for Minority Underserved, Veteran and Women-Owned Business Concerns Guidance (Released 1/6/21)
- Top Line Overview of First Draw PPP Loans (Released 1/8/21)
- Top Line Overview of Second Draw PPP Loans (Released 1/8/21)
- Interim Final Rule #1 – PPP as Amended by Economic Aid Act (Released 1/6/21)
- Interim Final Rule #2 – PPP Second Draw Loans (Released 1/6/21)
- Procedural Notice – Modifications to SBA Forms 3506, 3507 and 750 CA (PPP only) (Released 1/8/21)
- Procedural Notice – SBA Procedural Notice on Repeal of EIDL Advance Deduction Requirement (Released 1/8/21)
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Apply online here. For businesses and non-profits to start applying for low-interest loans up to $2 million to help them stay open during this crisis.
Businesses that applied for EIDL prior to the current online loan application (available as of 3/29) need to go back in to the system to apply for the EIDL advance.
Check out the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
Updated FAQs from the U.S. Treasury
The SBA has approved $2 million low-interest loans for businesses, non-profits, homeowners, and renters that faced damages in the civil unrest that occurred between May 28th and June 8th. Specifically for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McKenry, and Will counties
For more information on the loans and how to apply, visit this page
State of Illinois Grant and Loan Programs – The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is working with partners to launch emergency assistance programs for Illinois small businesses. The initiatives included can be found here and includes a grant program specifically for the Hospitality Industry.
DCEO and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce are hosting a series of COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Assistance Webinars. These are FREE to attend and no registration is required. To view past webinars visit the IL Chamber’s website HERE
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has invested to open 7 new Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) around the Chicagoland area, including in Elgin.
SBDCs play a critical role in providing businesses with the support needed to apply and qualify for state and federal emergency assistance programs. Find out more information here.
Business Interruption Grants (BIG) – Round 2: The DCEO has released applications for $220 million with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.
Governor Pritzker announced a Rent Support Program along with other Business Relief Funds, which gave Illinoisans struggling to pay mortgages and rent as well as small businesses access to $900 million in grants.
- $150 million of the funds will be available for emergency rental assistance, and $150 million will be available for mortgage assistance. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.
- More information about the grants can be found here.
State of Illinois Treasurer, Michael Frerichs, has launched a Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program. The purpose of this funding is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Cook County Community Recovery Initiative: to assist small businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19.
- Assistance for businesses interested in completing a PPP application. Interested businesses can sign-up here.
- Small businesses can reach out to their network’s lending partners Lendistry or AlliesForCommunityBusiness/CRF (formerly Accion), a Community Development Financial Institution or a local bank to apply directly. General application deadline is March 31, 2021.
- An overview of the PPP is available in English and Spanish.
- Business Advising Program helps you address the unique needs of your business, including acquiring new capital and customers, understanding financial, change and risk management, adjusting business models, and operating under new safety regulations.
- Group Webinars serve as guided, interactive sessions that start to get you thinking about how your business has been impacted and how you may want to pivot your business.
- Assistance for businesses interested in completing a PPP application. Interested businesses can sign-up here.
Save the Date: Upcoming Webinars
- 3/24/2021@ 1:30 pm: Taking Veteran-owned Businesses into the Global Marketplace
- Register at: https://bit.ly/2NDEdkC
- 3/24/2021@ 1:30 pm: Taking Veteran-owned Businesses into the Global Marketplace
Arlington Heights Small Business Assistance: Please do not hesitate to email the Village’s Business Development Coordinator if you have any questions or call 847.368.5220. Visit their Economic Development website to see what services are available. To support Arlington Heights businesses, visit their directory here.
Hoffman Estates Business Resources: The Village of Hoffman Estates remains actively engaged in serving the needs of our businesses through this crisis. Please visit their website to learn about:
- Temporary restrictions and laws that are now in place
- Accurate information for continuing to operate your business
- New and existing resources available to your business offered by our state and federal partners
Mount Prospect Entrepreneurs Initiative: find the latest tools, events, workshops, and more. Contact Nellie Beckner, Assistant Village Manager at (847) 818-5305. Current and prospective small businesses in Mount Prospect can visit their website to learn more.
Schaumburg Small Business Loan Program: The Village’s Program assists existing small businesses with growth and expansion costs. The Village will provide eligible applicants with forgivable loans of up to $15,000. To be eligible, applicants must be a small business (those with 500 employees or less) and are, or will be, located within the corporate limits of Schaumburg. Download the Program Fact Sheet here.
Schaumburg Small Business Grants: The Village began offering Round 3 of the Small Business Grants on November 16, 2020. The deadline to submit a new or revised application and supporting documents is December 1, 2020. Every effort will be made to make award decisions by December 15, 2020. The village will match 50% of eligible operating expenses for two months (up to $7,500). If you were not eligible in a previous round, you may be eligible now. Additional details are available on the program’s webpage.
ComEd Small Business Assistance Program: The Small Business Assistance Program provides eligible small business customers with a one-time grant equal to 30% of their total ComEd balance (up to $1,000) that will be applied to the past due balance and the remaining balance which can be spread over a payment plan of up to six months. There is also assistance to help reconnect service.
To view additional program details, and to apply, visit ComEd’s program website, or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331).
Cook County Financial Relief Package: Under this relief package, due dates for Home Rule Taxes like the Alcoholic Beverage Tax, Amusement Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gasoline and Hotel Accommodations Tax will be pushed back. So will numerous fines and fees under the jurisdictions of the Departments of Transportation and Highways, Environment and Sustainability, Revenue, Building and Zoning and Public Health.
Download the full list of business-friendly efforts.
Cook County Department of Revenue is offering tax relief options by request. If any individual or business needs additional time to file and pay Home Rule Taxes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and request and extension.
Facebook Business Resource Hub: explore what businesses can do to help get through this pandemic including skills building, best practices, and guidance.
Illinois Retails Merchants Association has a List of Stores with Special Shopping Hours for Vulnerable Populations – updated frequently.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has a List of Resources for Licensees and Consumers
If you have a question about business insurance coverage, please contact the Illinois
Department of Insurance (DOI). An online complaint can be filed here.
Cook County Resident Services
Under President Preckwinkle ’s Reopening Plan, Cook County offices re-opened to the public Monday, July 6, with extra sanitary precautions. Visitors should be prepared to undergo thermal screening. Call ahead or check their website listed below before going for the most up-to-date instructions.
Property and Vital Record Services
- Three homestead exemptions have been automatically renewed next year.
- SB 685 says that homeowners who get the Persons with Disabilities Exemption, the Veterans with Disabilities Exemption, and the Senior Freeze Exemption will not need to re-apply for them in 2021. More info found here.
- Appeal deadlines for north suburban properties will be posted at CookCountyAssessor.com.
- Reassessment notices for North suburban townships, with recent permits or special applications, do not include value adjustments due to the COVID-19 market impact.
- North suburban and Chicago portions of Cook County, which are not scheduled for reassessment will also have their property values examined this year to determine what adjustments need to be made due to the economic effects of COVID-19. Property owners are not required to appeal in order to receive the COVID-19 review and adjustment for eligible properties.
- Three homestead exemptions have been automatically renewed next year.
- Board of Review
- Due to newly implemented COVID-19 guidelines, the Board of Review will be utilizing a calendar to book appointments. If you wish to set an in-office visit or would like a return call, please click the Booking Page link here. Stay tuned for virtual opportunities on how to appeal your property assessment.
- Building and Zoning
- Inspections are happening as long as they are “safe” for residents and their inspectors. If you have questions, please email them at: email@example.com. Staff will respond to all inquiries sent to this email address. To reach them by phone, call 312-603-0500.
- All Cook County Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records (BVR) offices are open to the public. As of July 6, the Bureau of Vital Records offices in downtown Chicago and the suburban courthouses are open for in-person services, including marriage licenses, and birth, death and marriage certificates.
- The Cook County Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records, will issue Marriage Licenses remotely via an online video call. Start the application here.
- As of May 5, 2020, the Clerk is accepting redemption payments by mail. More information can be found here. Taxpayers and Taxbuyers who have tax redemption questions and/or concerns should email firstname.lastname@example.org with your PIN number.
- Apply to vote by mail online here.
- Recorder of Deeds
- As of Dec. 7th, 2020, the Cook County Clerk’s Office has assumed the duties of the former Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office. Per the 2016 binding countywide referendum, the Recorder of Deeds no longer is a functioning office and all matters will be handled by the Clerk’s Office.
- If you need a Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI), the fee decrease to $39 has been extended until June 30th, 2021.
- Auction of 2018 delinquent Cook County property taxes postponed indefinitely. Read press release here.
- Taxpayers seeking property tax refunds will have new tools on cookcountytreasurer.com enabling them to file electronically instead of downloading a form and mailing it in. Taxpayers with questions on this matter can contact the Cook County Treasurer’s Office via the website as well.
Court and Criminal Justice Services
- Circuit Court
- Modified court operations will continue. Since July 6th, more court proceedings started to occur in-person, while most continue to be held over video conference.
- Court proceedings are being Live-streamed at certain courthouses. View locations, schedule, and warning for viewers here.
- Clerk of the Circuit Court
- Effective Sept. 21, 2020, new update for Scheduling when eFiling in County Division. Download flier for information on system-generated dates.
- Except as otherwise ordered by the assigned judge, all hearings shall be conducted by videoconferencing. If it is not reasonably possible to conduct a hearing by videoconference, it may be conducted by teleconference.
- Download the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s FREE MOBILE APP, COURT CLERK MOBILE CONNECT, on your mobile device and use it to get your updated civil type cases, for Domestic Relations, Probate, Chancery, Law, County, and Civil Divisions, and Suburban Districts or for Traffic cases.
- You can also email or call the appropriate district/division for updated information.
- Office is keeping the public appraised of COVID-19 cases within the jail system here.
- In light of the impending evictions crisis and growing need for mental health, substance abuse, and other social service assistance, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has launched the Community Resource Center (CRC). Read press release here.
- As of November 15th, 2020, in-person visitation has been halted. Video visitation will continue to be provided to detainees as it has since April, and in-person visitation will be reinstated soon as it is safe to do so.
- COVID-19 resources for food and housing assistance can be found here in English and Spanish.
- State’s Attorney
- List of community resources available in English and Spanish here.
- For help with any COVID-19 Fraud during this pandemic, call (312) 603-8600 or fill out a price gouging complaint form.
- To support their health and safety, survivors of domestic violence will receive ride credits to travel to courthouses, shelters, and other safe spaces. Read full press release here.
- The CCSAO Victim Witness Unit is available to provide Lyft codes and answer questions by calling 773-674-7200.
- Public Defender
- Is working remotely and operating under guidance from the Circuit Court of Cook County.
- Beware of a scam in which someone pretends to be with the Public Defender’s office. Read more here, and if this has impacted you, call your local law enforcement agency.
- Circuit Court
Outdoors and Recreation
- Brookfield Zoo
- Reopened to the public on March 1, 2021 after being closed for a couple months. Click the link above on what you need to do before visiting the zoo.
- All “Bringing the Play Zoo to You” episodes can be found at: https://www.czs.org/BringingTheZooToYou. Each episode is available in English and Spanish, and has a corresponding Family Nature Notes newsletter (also available in both English and Spanish) which includes additional information and activities related to that week’s theme. New episodes are posted every Thursday. Encourages young children to celebrate wildlife and nature from their own home.
- Chicago Botanic Garden
- Interested visitors must register online as spots are available. Click the link above for all the information you’ll need before visiting the Gardens.
- The Chicago Botanic Garden is offering free Virtual Field Trips to all Cook County schools that serve low-income populations.
- Suitable for in-person, remote, and hybrid classrooms, virtual field trips deliver Garden learning to your classroom through an online meeting platform of your choice. Each program includes a kit of materials for each student (delivered to your school) and a one-hour online lesson with a Garden educator. The topic changes based on the grade level.
- Feel free to email District15@cookcountyil.gov, and we can help get your class registered.
- Forest Preserves of Cook County
- Has updated guidelines in lieu of Illinois’s move into Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan. You are urged to follow their guidelines to ensure that your visit to a preserve or time on the trail is as safe as possible.
- Brookfield Zoo
Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance: part of the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Initiative.
- Applications are open until Friday, April 2: Get prepared to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program!
- Do you live in Suburban Cook County and need help paying rent and utilities due to COVID-19?
- The Cook County Emergency Rental Assistance program pays up to 12 months of missed rent and utilities payments and up to 3 months of future rent payments. Payments will be made directly to your landlord and utility company.
- Check availability, here.
- Application checklist is available here.
- Ready to apply? Start now, here.
- Questions? Email Info.Edev@cookcountyil.gov to contact us.
Legal Aid with Cook County
Evictions, foreclosures, and unresolved debt issues can have a long-lasting, negative impact on your future. Call the Early Resolution Program (ERP) to speak with a lawyer and get connected to other resources. This program is available to all residents of Cook County free of charge. You do not need to have a case in court to get aid.
Call 855-956-5763 or apply online to get help today.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has allocated $275 million in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) programs.
- Eligible Illinois residents and families can apply to receive assistance with food, rent, utilities, temporary shelter, medicine and other essential household services.
- To learn more, Illinoisans may visit this website.
For families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please refer to the following:
- Emergency shelter: Due to changes in shelter operations due to COVID-19, please call the Homeless Prevention Call Center at 1-877-4-Cook-15 (1-877-426-6515) if possible, to be directed appropriately to shelter resources. If you are not able to call, please see shelter providers in suburban Cook County.
- If you are a suburban Cook County resident and need financial assistance with mortgage, rent payments, rent deposits, utility payments, or other housing issues, please call the Homeless Prevention Call Center at 1-877-4-Cook-15 (1-877-426-6515). Listen carefully to the prompts to choose which kind is needed. City of Chicago residents should call 311 or 312-744-5000 (outside of Chicago).
Renters living in multifamily properties with Enterprise-backed mortgages who need support should reach out to the Fannie Mae Helpline at 877-542-9723, if Fannie Mae backs their building’s mortgage, or the Freddie Mac Helpline at 800-404-3097, if Freddie Mac backs their building’s mortgage.
See Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here.
See Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here.
Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS):
Through the CARES Act, borrowers with federally-backed mortgages (around 70% of the market) can put their loan into forbearance and avoid foreclosure for up to a year. To help people sign up for a forbearance, CVLS launched a new program on their website here. The website guides people through a CARES Act forbearance request, step-by-step. If you have trouble with internet, you can also call or email at (312) 332-8785 or email@example.com. Trained law students from area schools will call anyone who contacts them, walk you through the process, and prepare the necessary documents.
Governor Pritzker has announced a Rent Support and Business Relief Fund, which gives Illinoisans struggling to pay mortgages and rent as well as small businesses access to $900 million in grants.
- $150 million of the funds will be available for emergency rental assistance, and $150 million will be available for mortgage assistance.
- More information about the grants can be found here.
The residential eviction ban has been extended until May 1, 2021.
- More information on the ban can be found here.
- This extension includes new financial conditions for individuals covered under the eviction ban. Renters who earn less than $99,000 — or $198,000 in combined household income — are protected under the revised ban on residential evictions. The original eviction ban, issued in March 2020, applied to all renters regardless of income.
COVID HELP (Housing and Economic Loss Prevention) is a statewide initiative providing no-cost legal guidance and representation to Illinoisans experiencing common legal problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois residents can access free legal assistance 24/7 at www.covidhelpillinois.org. This is a coalition of organizations including CARPLS Legal Aid, the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, and several other legal aid nonprofits.
Affordable Housing Opportunities
The Housing Authority of Cook County’s waiting list for housing is full. Please sign up for alerts notifying you when and how to apply for housing assistance.
For people on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, please visit Airbnb to get connected with temporary housing and be closer to your patients. Airbnb is waving hosting fees and hosts have the option to offer their space for free, discounted, or full price.
CDC Recommendations for Cloth Face Covers to wear in public
How to make your own face covering video – U.S. Surgeon General
Easy No-Sew Face Mask – how to video
For those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), please read this newsletter from the Respiratory Health Association, a lung health organization focused on helping those impacted by lung disease.
IMPORTANT STEPS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH COPD AND OTHER LUNG DISEASES
· Maintain at least a 30-day supply of your prescribed medications. Check with your insurance provider for refill terms.
· Check with your oxygen supplier to see how it will deal with COVID-19. It’s important to ensure that your routine oxygen needs will be met.
· Establish a COVID-19 hygiene routine for people entering your home (i.e using hand sanitizer, handwashing, etc.).
· If home health nurses or aides assist you with household tasks, ask what steps they are taking to ensure prevention practices are in place.”
For more information, visit: https://resphealth.org/covid-19-what-you-should-know/
IMPORTANT TOOLS FOR DIALYSIS PATIENTS:
Cigna Healthcare Response – waving co-pays and and out-of-pocket costs for all COVID-19 testing and related medical visits.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois – see what’s covered in COVID-19 related visits.
Find a testing site nearest you for COVID-19 here.
In the NW suburbs, consider these sites and follow directions before going:
Drive Thru – Arlington Heights (open to all regardless of symptoms)
2200 W Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
1099 Army Trail Road, Bartlett, IL 60103
Greater Elgin Family Care Center – Seneca Health Center
450 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120
Greater Elgin Family Care Center – Lake Health Center
1515 E. Lake Street, Suite 202, Hanover Park, 60133
Physicians Immediate Care
7425 Barrington Road, Hanover Park, IL 60133
AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates
1555 Barrington Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Epic Urgent and Family Care
770 East Dundee Road, Palatine, IL 60074
2045 Plum Grove Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Newmed Immediate Care
1669 Algonquin Rd, Rolling Meadows, 60008
1801 West Golf Road, Schaumburg, IL 60194
1855 West Irving Park Road, Schaumburg, IL 60193
Greater Elgin Family Care Center – Streamwood Community Health Center
135 E. Irving Park Road, Streamwood, IL 60107
Governor Pritzker now requires that all Illinois residents, 2 years old and up, wear a face mask or something to cover their mouth while out in public if you cannot maintain a six-foot social distance. You can read more on his guidance and why he is making that recommendation here. If you need to make your own face mask at home, below are some helpful resources:
- From the CDC, Double Masks Recommended (2/11/21)
- From JoAnn Fabrics, How to Make a Face Mask video tutorial. This requires some sewing skills.
- How to Sew a Face Mask
- How to Make a No-Sew Face Mask with hair ties
- How to Make an Accessible, Deaf Friendly Face Mask
In the meantime, if you feel sick I encourage you to contact your main physician before you go to the hospital. Please see the following Center for Disease Control guidelines to stop the spread of germs:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and practice social distancing.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Mental Health Support
Dealing with a infectious disease outbreak can cause anxiety and stress. The recommended social distancing can also take a told on mental health. Below are a few resources:
CDC Guidance on Coping with Stress and Anxiety during COVID-19
Call4Calm – speak to a mental health professional for those experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.
text “TALK” or “HABLAR” for Spanish to 5-5-2-0-2-0
Individuals will receive a call within 24 hours
It is free and anonymous.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI Hotline: (800) 950-6264
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration
Disaster Distress Hotline (800) 985–5990 or Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
Find Treatment with their Online Tool OR (800) 662-HELP
Kenneth Young Center’s SMART RECOVERY: Meetings are now web-based
SMART RECOVERY is cost-free, peer-led support program for those who are in recovery from substance use as well as other problematic, addictive behaviors to video games, gambling, self-harm, shopping, and just about anything else.
Child Care Facility Resources
Information from the State:
Child Care Restoration Grant Applications
Second Round Funding Applications were available in the afternoon of October 1, 2020 and will close on October 15, 2020. Second round grant funding is limited, applications will be processed in the order they are received.
- The program will support Illinois’ child care providers as they continue to care for children across the state.
- For more information and to apply, visit this link.
Utility Company Response
Gov. Pritzker announced $50 million in state funding and $65 million in nonstate funding for 28 projects to expand broadband and internet access throughout the state.
- This is through the Connect Illinois program
- Find out if your area is receiving a grant here
- Learn more about the new funding here
On March 18th, Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) directed Illinois electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities to cease disconnections and the threat of disconnections during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The order also called for companies to suspend late fees until May 1, or when the crisis has passed, and to implement flexible utility credit and collection procedures to ensure customers remain connected to essential utility services.
READ full statement HERE
FAQ on COVID-19 Consumer Protections answered by Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
If you believe your utility is not complying with the ICC directive, you can call ICC to make a complaint at (800) 524-0795. You can also reach out to the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) at (800) 669-5556 to make a complaint.
11/16/20: The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) announced the moratorium on disconnections has voluntarily been extended by several utilities through the winter of 2021 for eligible low-income residential customers and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship.
Participating utilities are: Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, Commonwealth Edison’ Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois.
Contact Information Emergencies: 1-800-334-7661
Payment arrangements and credit issues, available from 7 am to 7 pm: 1-800-334-7661
Contact Information: 1-888-642-6748
Cable/Internet/Telecom Company Responses
National Digital Inclusion Alliance is keeping a List of national Free & Low-Cost Internet Plans – being updated daily
Each major company has had different reaction to supporting customers during COVID-19. Below are highlights but please read each company website thoroughly for details. Be aware that social media posts with incorrect information and fraudulent numbers are being circulated to scam information and money out of consumers. If you have questions, reach out to companies directly on official websites and through sanctioned numbers.
Contact Info: 1-800-288-2020
Won’t terminate service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer due to an inability to pay their bill as a result of the pandemic.
Waiving late-payment fees that any customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the pandemic.
Unlimited data for all consumer wireless internet users.
Business customers currently on or who purchase AT&T World Connect Advantage package receive 50% off current rate in a monthly bill credit.
Contact info: Xfinity.com/Support
Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service. They will also increase internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service for all new and existing customers.
Need more time to pay Comcast bills? log into xfinity.com/myaccount. Select Billing, then Bill and Payment Settings. Click on Schedule a Payment. Then go to Payment Date and choose a new due date.
Making Comcast Wifi hotspots available to anyone
Pausing data plans through May 13, 2020, giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge
Contact: 611 from T-Mobile Device or T-Mobile.com
If you are past-due, you can set up a payment arrangement.
Customers have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming) + an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service for the next 60 days (beginning on 3/13).
Increasing the data allowance, at no extra charge, to schools and students using EmpowerED digital learning program for next 60 days.
Some free international calling to certain countries. See website for details.
Offering free two-day shipping on devices for 60 days.
Waiving late fees for residential and small business customers if negatively impacted by the global crisis for 60 days (starts 3/13)
Offering free international calling to certain countries through the end of April. See website for more details.
Unlimited calls will be included to mobile and landline termination.
Waiving activation fees on new lines of service and upgrade fees starting March 18.
A lot of schools, teachers, and parents want students to #keeplearning during the school closures. Many of our amazing school districts are already communicating with parents about how to #keeplearning. Keep in touch with your child’s school and follow guidance from teachers. For Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Guidance visit: https://www.isbe.net/covid19.
Read about Fall 2020 Learning Recommendations here.
For Schools (One entry per Entity): Submit Face Covering Survey here. Managed by Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Additional resources for parents:
Illinois State Board of Education #Keeplearning Resources
Illinois Digital Educators Alliance: Resources for Home Learning
South Cook Intermediate Service Center: a Google Doc on School Closure Resources
Learning Technology Center of Illinois: Resources Google Doc
Gov. Pritzker has signed SB1569 into law to allow school districts to use remote learning in instances of public health emergencies, and allows for training and assessment waivers in certain circumstances.
- More details on the new law can be found here.
Take a walk in a Cook County Forest Preserve while social distancing. Read more on their website here.
Libraries – Public libraries are starting to reopen. Check their website or call ahead before going. Most libraries provide access to stream and download: ebooks, digital audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music. You can also find online learning courses including mastering a new language, learn computer skills or research your family’s genealogy. Contact your local library to find out how you can access their digital collection
Brookfield Zoo – watch or re-watch their “Bringing the Zoo to You” videos and more on YouTube here.
Chicago Botanic Garden – visit their Garden Stories blog for some fun and educational projects to do from home.
Take a virtual tour of Chicago’s museum, libraries, and cultural institutions from home
Take a virtual tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden
Google’s Arts & Culture platform offers digitized access to many Chicago and worldwide cultural institutions.
Arts for Illinois – browse works from talented artists – performers, singers, poets, painters, writers, and many more from across Illinois – who have made their works available for the public’s enjoyment while at home during these challenging times.
Bored at home? Here’s a Massive List of Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks Offering Virtual Tours
Take a virtual tour of a National Park including: Kenyan Fjords National Park in Alaska, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida
Take a Virtual Field Trip with Discover Education.
Fitness Studios & Gyms – List Offering Live-Stream Workouts
15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch on Stage from Home
450 Online Ivy League Courses you can take right now for Free
The State of Illinois is working with community partners to connect with those who want to safely volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be in person and virtual volunteer opportunities. If you are a non-profit you can also submit a request for needed volunteers.
Start your volunteer search at: http://serve.illinois.gov/
Are you a licensed healthcare professional? Register at https://illinoishelps.net/ to part of an alert system and respond if available, when activated, to a significant disaster or public health emergency.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Needs
The State of Illinois is asking for donations from any person or business with personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be spared to help protect first responders. Please contact PPE.Donations@Illinois.gov.
You can also donate PPE through Cook County by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in donating lunch to clinic staff who are working against COVID-19, contact Jack Daley at email@example.com.
If someone wants to manufacture PPE in Illinois: firstname.lastname@example.org (Illinois Manufacturing Association).
Be part of the Illinois PPE Network (a non-profit) to request PPE or sign up to make it.
American Red Cross: Due to cancellation of blood drives, the American Red Cross faces a blood shortage. Health individuals are needed to donate. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a location donation site.
Food banks: many area food banks are still working to provide support to those most vulnerable during the pandemic. Contact your local food bank to see how you can support through volunteering or donations. See our food support sections for a list of 15th District food pantries or find you local food bank here.
Host a Virtual Food Drive: register and begin now
Emergency Shelters: shelters for people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence are working hard to ensure the safety of and health of those in need. Many need either volunteer support or donations. Below is a list of local shelters. Reach out and see how you can support:
Journey the Road Home https://www.journeystheroadhome.org
Northwest Compass https://northwestcompass.org
Older Adult Service Opportunities
AgeOptions: volunteers are needed to help with meal deliveries and calling older adults to prevent social isolation. Age Options works with a network of agencies to serve the needs of older adults in suburban Cook County.
Volunteer sign up: https://bit.ly/2Up8fJr
For more information, email email@example.com or call (708) 383-0258
Sign up to be a Wellness Check Volunteer: do wellness check-in calls to seniors in our community from the comfort of your own home!
Want to be a virtual volunteer? The articles below share information about how you can volunteer from home including being trained as a crisis text line counselor, connect with seniors to help reduce isolation, or become an online tutor for a student.
Pace Bus Service Updates – Effective Monday, June 29, Pace is reopening some passenger facilities and buildings to the public. This will allow passengers to claim lost and found items and use indoor waiting areas, including Ventra vending machines, where available. Please continue to practice social distancing when using these facilities. Masks are required. Pace Headquarters will remain closed to the public until further notice.
Metra Train Updates – Weekday Metra trains are operating on alternate weekday and weekend schedules posted here. Weekend trains are operating on Sunday schedules on both Saturdays and Sundays, with no weekend service on the North Central Service, Southwest Service, Heritage Corridor and the Blue Island Branch of the Metra Electric Line. For all other information relating to Metra’s response to the pandemic, click here.
Illinois Tollway Updates – Beginning June 25, a new process for unpaid tolls will defer the issuance of violation notices by several months. Unpaid tolls will no longer be met out of the gate with a “one size fits all” $20 violation if left unpaid.
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Updates – CTA will continue to follow industry best practices and work closely with health officials. These experts advise CTA that no operational changes or revised protocols are necessary at this time.
If you work for a rideshare company, you may determine that you do not want to risk working during this time. For taxi drivers, this may not be an option. In addition, taxi drivers may work for a company with a non-ambulance transportation contract—meaning you may drive medical customers to the doctor’s office or hospital. To protect yourself and your passenger(s) stay up-to-date on public health recommendations by the CDC and Cook County Department of Public Health.
If you currently receive transportation services for a medical reason such as dialysis, that should not be interrupted, however check with your provider before you schedule a ride.
Visit the State of Illinois Resources website for guidance, executive orders, and other important information in the following non-english languages: Español, Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Tagalog, Urdu, and Hindi. Check back for any additional language needs.
IDHS and the Immigrant Funders Collaborative have launched the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project, which will provide pandemic-related emergency assistance funding to Illinois immigrants.
- The fund will support immigrants regardless of status to help families address unemployment, medical costs, food and housing insecurity, and loss of income that have resulted from the pandemic
- It is meant for immigrants ineligible for federal funding relief
- More information can be found here.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – Beginning June 4, 2020, certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices resumed non-emergency face-to-face services to the public. USCIS has enacted precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in reopened facilities. Please check the USCIS office closings page to see if your Application Support Center has reopened before coming to an appointment.
Visit CoronaVirus.gov for a complete list of CDC travel health notices.
Learn about the Department of Homeland Security’s response.
As more and more questions are raised during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are some Q&As from our local governments and public health departments.
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