Office of Welcoming Centers response to COVID-19
The Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Welcoming Centers is proud to partner with community partners to offer assistance to immigrants, refugees and limited English proficient individuals facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that many Illinoisans are suffering economic instability due to COVID-19 and we are working hard to ensure that support services are available to all those in need. We also recognize that many immigrants were excluded from the federal CARES Act Economic Impact Payments and other state and federal benefits.
I. COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project
In FY22 IDHS dedicated $20 million in pandemic-related emergency assistance funding to Illinois immigrants - regardless of immigration status - who are facing unemployment, loss of income, medical costs, and food and housing insecurity as a direct result of COVID-19 and are ineligible for any federal funding relief. With the IDHS contribution, the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is administering funds through the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project. This project will help fill the gap and provide much needed direct support for immigrant families in Illinois.
In order to be eligible for assistance, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a resident of Illinois.
- Have experienced an income disruption or experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Not be eligible for any federal stimulus and/or unemployment insurance.
- * Priority will be given to households with income below 200% federal poverty level.
For more information on the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project or to check the status of your application go t:
State of Illinois Resources
IDHS recognizes that many Illinoisans are suffering economic instability due to COVID-19 and we are working hard to ensure that IDHS benefits and support services are extended to all those in need. To help alleviate some of the stress associated with searching and finding resources we have compiled a list of places, policies, organizations, and guidelines created in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Community-based organizations and agencies serving the LEP and immigrant/refugee population:
Illinois Welcoming Centers
Emotional reactions to this emerging health crisis are expected. Remind yourself, your family and your friends that feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed, or having other symptoms of distress such as trouble sleeping is normal. If symptoms become worse, encourage them, and yourself, to reach out for support and help. The following are free mental health resources available to all Chicago residents:
- Connect to a NAMI Chicago Helpline mental health counselor by calling 311 or directly at 833-626-4244
- Connect to Bright Star Community Outreach's trauma counseling helpline at 833-TURN-123
- Connect to free tele-therapy services at Chicago Department of Public Health Mental Health Centers by calling 312-747-1020.
- For afterhours support, contact Crisis Text Line which serves anyone, in any type of crisis, 24-hours a day. Instructions: Text HOME to: 741741 to access a trained crisis counselor.
- Tips on Managing Anxiety about COVID-19 (English (pdf), Spanish (pdf), Polish (pdf), Simplified Chinese (pdf), Tagalog (pdf), Arabic (pdf))
- Guidance for Parents in Talking to Children about COVID-19 (English (pdf), Spanish (pdf), Polish (pdf), Simplified Chinese (pdf), Tagalog (pdf), Arabic (pdf))
If you are experiencing violence in your place of residence, you can contact the IL Domestic Violence Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or text 877-863-6338 for confidential help and information. Services are available in several languages.
If you need to obtain an Order of Protection, you may visit the courthouse located at 555 W Harrison even during the Stay Home Order issued on 3/20/20.
If you are a victim of sexual violence/abuse and need help, you can contact the confidential rape crisis hotline 1-888-293-2080
If you are experiencing human trafficking and need help, the STOP IT program has a 24/7 free and confidential Hotline 877-606-3158
The Greater Chicago Food Depository responds to food insecurity in our community every single day. Anyone in need of food assistance can turn to the Food Depository's network of agencies and programs. With some exceptions, their network of 700 partner agencies and programs remains open. These sites are modifying their distributions to promote social distancing, including offering pre-packaged boxes of groceries.
The Food Depository's benefits outreach team is available by phone to help Chicagoans apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase groceries from local stores. Eligibility is determined by household income. Those affected by recent COVID-19 related job losses may qualify. For benefits outreach assistance, call 773-843-5416 Monday-Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or apply directly with the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Vulnerable seniors are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19. Local Meals on Wheels programs are on the front lines every day, focused on doing all they can to keep older Americans safe and nourished in communities across the country.
Cultivators Emergency Pantry Tuesdays - Wednesday 9am -4pm by appointments only 217-369-9155 ask for Pastor Nelson ( curb side pick up)
The Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to Chicago residents, to prevent homelessness, to eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction in order to stabilize individuals and families in their existing rental unit.
All evictions/foreclosures have been suspended for at least 30 days in Cook County. This means that if you are unable to pay your rent, you cannot be evicted. Learn more about your rights as a tenant during the COVID-19 crisis (pdf) in English (pdf) and Spanish (pdf).
The City of Chicago administers its own version of the Rental Housing Support Program. If you currently live in or are interested in living in Chicago and are in need of rental assistance, please contact the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund at: (312) 744-0676.
Illinois Housing Development Authority
How to Contact IHDA
- Online: visit www.ihda.org for current information and contacts for all active IHDA programs.
- Email: see our Contact Us page for key department contacts.
- Phone: for all general inquiries, call (312) 836-5200 to be connected with the appropriate department.
There has been no suspension of rent payments for Chicago or the State of Illinois. This means tenants are still obligated to pay their rent per the terms of their lease.
Rental Housing Support Program
Provides rental assistance to extremely low-income households living in participating properties. Contact one of the administering agencies directly to apply.
Shelter List provides a directory of shelters that offer assistance to the homeless.
Chicago Public Schools has continually updated information regarding schools and student health and wellness.
Chicago Public Library has online learning resources for both kids and teens, along with ebooks and magazines.
Chicago Healthy Adolescents & Teens (CHAT), a program supported by Chicago Department of Public Health and Chicago Public Schools, has sexual-health education information and resources online.
Children's book, My Hero is You, about COVID in English and 17 other languages: