Thursday, April 16, 2020
IDHS LOCAL OFFICES
On April 16th IDHS closed their remaining local offices to do their part to flatten the curve and protect their valued employees and customers. IDHS staff continue to work remotely, and all benefit applications and management can be accomplished online or via phone. Anyone interested in learning about IDHS services should visit dhs.illinois.gov/helpishere or call toll free at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP (1-833-234-6343). Those who are wishing to sign up for benefits or manage existing benefits should visit abe.illinois.gov.
Emergency Allotment Supplements continue to be distributed to all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households that were not already receiving the maximum allotment for their household size. No action is required by the customer. To apply for SNAP benefits, please visit abe.illinois.gov.
In addition, IDHS is working with the federal government to implement online SNAP purchase and delivery using the LINK card. However, this process will take some time to deploy in order to ensure the integrity of the system. In the meantime, customers are reminded that, where available, SNAP users can shop for groceries online, then pick them up in store or curbside, paying with their LINK card at that time. They can also allow a trusted friend or family member to shop for them using their LINK card and PIN code.
CALL 4 CALM
The IDHS Division of Mental Health has launched a free of charge, emotional support text line called "Call4Calm," designed for Illinoisans experiencing stress related to COVID-19. This is not a crisis hotline, but rather a source of support where people can text "TALK" to 552020 to receive a call from a caring counselor from a community mental health center who can be a listening ear for the challenges people are currently experiencing.
In addition, the text number can be used to seek help and guidance on other critical issues during the pandemic. Residents can text keywords like "unemployment," "food," or "shelter," and they will receive additional information in response.
The Census Bureau has extended the window for field data collection and self-responses to October 31, 2020. IDHS reminds us that every person in Illinois needs to be counted! Visit My2020census.gov to complete the census online or call 1-844-330-2020. For more info text 987987 or go to Census.Illinois.Gov.
IDHS continues to work to maximize federal funds for food banks and pantries across Illinois. To find a food pantry or soup kitchen near you click here.
IDHS continues to provide child care services through the Emergency Child Care Program. If you are deemed an "Essential Worker" during the COVID-19 emergency, you can find help securing child care by visiting: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD/Pages/For-Communities.aspx.
A dedicated helpline has also been created so Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) can help connect essential workers and families to emergency child care. Call toll-free at 1-888-228-1146. For residents in Cook County, Illinois Action for Children (IAFC) has launched a temporary text messaging service to answer Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) questions during IAFC's office closure. Parents in Cook County can text 312-736-7390.
While the state is under a Stay at Home order, not everyone has a home to go to. If you feel you are in danger of becoming homeless please visit housingactionil.org/get-help/resources-homeless/. If you are already experiencing homelessness, please visit the Emergency and Transitional Housing Provider List to find a shelter near you.
Those experiencing domestic violence and/or abuse, plus anyone concerned about a friend, family member, or loved one, can text or call toll free at 1-877-TO-END-DV (1-877-863-6338) to reach a trained Victim Information and Referral Advocate (VIRA) 24/7 or be connected to emergency shelter through available hotels and motels.
Victims and families are also encouraged to visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline at http://www.thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.