4/23/2020 DDD COVID-19 Communication

April 23, 2020

Good Afternoon,

I'm sure many of you have heard the news that Governor Pritzker estimates the Illinois peak to be in mid-May. I encourage everyone to continue to follow the Stay at Home order to continue to bend the curve. While it is a longer road than any of us anticipated, please know we're all in this together.


I've received several inquiries about reopening CDS sites as of May 1. At this time, we do not anticipate reopening CDS and will give providers ample notice when we settle on a CDS reopening date. The Division is currently evaluating the safety of congregate groupings and reopening CDS sites in the short and intermediate term. The Division wants to be thoughtful in this process keeping individual self-direction, choice and safety at the forefront. I welcome any feedback you have on this front.


Stress and anxiety are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. IDHS has developed a resource to help provide support during this challenging time that you are welcome to share with your networks and stakeholders. Text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish (Message and Data Rates May Apply. See Terms & Conditions of Use). This service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People seeking assistance will remain anonymous and will provide only their first name and zip code, which enables the service to link them to a counselor.


Also, on Tuesday, all IDHS providers received a letter and survey request from IDHS. It is attached for your reference. The federal government made funds available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We know some IDHS funded providers applied for this federal funding and we are hearing that more is on the way. Providers funded by IDHS will be asked if they have, or have not, applied for forgivable loans through the CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Program or benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. The survey requires you to certify and attest any actions your agency has taken related to the CARES Act. Your completion of the survey will help to ensure that we do not duplicate expenses covered by the new federal funding opportunities, remain in compliance with federal and state government guidelines around the CARES Act, and maximize the availability of limited State dollars. For questions, please contact DHS.PPPQuestions@illinois.gov


Here are some great resources to support individuals with I/DD during the pandemic:


From Gene at Open Door Rehabilitation Center in Sandwich, IL:

We wanted to share a "story of good" with everyone. Open Door group homes have been in quarantine with live-in staff since March 20th. To show our "Open Door Spirit" and to let the individuals we support, and the live-in staff members who are selflessly sacrificing, know that they are not alone, we chose to have a socially distanced "Parade/Dance Party" at each of our homes. Administration, Management, and QIDPs each loaded up in their personal vehicles and paraded from group home to group home with concert speakers in the back of a pick-up truck blaring a special "COVID-19" playlist. We danced and sang along with some classics like, "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany, "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer, and "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. The feedback we got from the individuals and staff within the homes was that it was a great surprise and they all loved it. But to be honest, I believe the staff members performing in the parade enjoyed it even more. Overall, it was a huge success and a great break to the monotony, and a great stress reliever for everybody. We want to continue with these kinds of things to celebrate our Open Door strength and resilience…. maybe next time we'll take some song requests!

Open Door Spirit

Keep sending them to Emily Hughes, BQM: emily.hughes@illinois.gov

Be well. We know you're doing your best. Hang in there. We're in this together.