4/30/20 - IDHS Weekly Bulletin


Thursday, April 20, 2020


The IDHS Division of Mental Health has launched "Call4Calm," a free of charge emotional support text line designed to support Illinoisans experiencing stress related to COVID-19. People can text "TALK" (or "HABLAR" for Spanish) 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. CALL4CALM is not a crisis line. If you or someone else needs immediate assistance, please call 911.

In addition, the text number can help Illinoisans find help and guidance on other critical issues during the pandemic. Residents can text keywords like "UNEMPLOYMENT," "FOOD," or "SHELTER," to 552020 to receive additional information in response.


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 (1-888-228-1146) has also been created to help connect essential workers and families to emergency child care. 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.


The closure of IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) local offices was extended until the end of April. However, DRS continues to assist customers, vendors, and other stakeholders during this global crisis through remote telework. The Division has also launched a toll-free number to expand those options - new or existing customers with physical disabilities can call 1-877-581-3690 to inquire about or be connected to services.


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.


If you or someone you know is suffering from an opioid use disorder or other substance use disorders, you can call the Illinois Helpline at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP to speak with a trained professional. You can also visit HelplineIL.org to be directed to customized resources, support, and advice.


If you or someone you know is suffering from a gambling disorder, call 1-800-GAMBLER, text ILGAMB to 53342, or feel free to visit www.weknowthefeeling.org to be connected to resources and treatment programs in your area.


IDHS local offices remain closed to the public to protect the safety of their customers and staff while helping to flatten the curve. Customers are reminded that all benefit application and management actions can currently 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 to manage existing benefits should visit abe.illinois.gov.


The State is making an investment that will begin to ensure that Illinois' at-risk youth, ages 16-24, have an equitable opportunity to secure employment . The Illinois Youth Investment Program aims to empower and support young people along their path toward successful, long-term employment and career development.

Providers interested in this program can learn more here.


To donate personal protective equipment (PPE), please feel free to send an email to ppe.donations@illinois.gov.


IDHS continues to prioritize services and programs for people who are experiencing homelessness. To that end, the Department has implemented many steps to increase flexibility in the Homeless Prevention program, including but not limited to increased funding, giving a blanket exception to the two-year rule for assistance, allowing providers to help clients even if they are not at imminent risk of homelessness, relaxed eligibility qualifications, and increased rent assistance of up to six months' worth of rent.

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.


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 visit www.illinoisfoodbanks.org/sites.asp.