10/2/20 - IDHS Weekly Bulletin

COVID-19 IMMIGRANT FAMILY SUPPORT PROJECT

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has partnered with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to administer the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project. IDHS recognizes that many Illinoisans are suffering economic instability due to COVID-19 and they are working hard to ensure that support services are available to all those in need. IDHS also recognizes that many immigrants were excluded from the federal CARES Act Economic Impact Payments and other federal benefits. This project will help fill the gap and provide much needed direct support for immigrant families in Illinois.

Families can receive a one-time support of $1,000 to be used for housing, food, medical costs, or childcare expenses. Applications are open from October 1 to October 14, 2020. To apply, please visit www.icirr.org/covidil.

NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

The Illinois Dept of Human Services is pleased to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. The month includes independence days for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile. It serves as a time to honor the rich Hispanic heritage woven into the fabric of American culture and to recognize the wide-ranging and influential accomplishments of Hispanic Americans. IDHS celebrates and appreciates all its Hispanic employees and customers and wishes everyone a very happy National Hispanic Heritage Month.

WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN PROGRAM

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is thrilled to share an update about the modernization of their WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program. The WIC program offers special nutrition assistance that focuses on the extra needs of low-income pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding women and families with children up to age five. WIC providers also offer nutritional counseling and access to health services.

With a transition to WIC EBT cards in the works for nearly five years, Illinois launched a pilot in March 2020 to begin shifting 160,000 Illinois WIC participants from an outdated computer system launched in the 1990s over to an updated system that utilizes EBT cards. For many years, the WIC program provided families with paper checks that issued their benefits, however this system restricted the independence and confidence of families in their grocery shopping decisions, and heightened the stigma associated with using WIC checks to purchase groceries.

The last WIC offices converted to the new system last month, and all participating families are expected to be using the EBT card by the end of December.

For more information on the WIC program and other services offered by IDHS, please visit dhs.illinois.gov/helpishere.

COVID-19 EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING PROJECT

The Illinois Department of Human Services' (IDHS) Welcoming Center Housing and Utility Assistance Project was established to provide temporary and emergency employment and training services to immigrants, refugees, and Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals who have experienced a COVID-19-related financial hardship between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

IDHS has partnered with 26 community-based organizations to provide workforce training to low-income individuals impacted by COVID-19. Eligible participants can enroll in job training, employment placement, certificate programs, reimbursement for tuition, computer training, English as a Second Language, and career readiness and career orientation programs through our network of community-based organizations. To find your nearest Illinois Welcoming Center, please visit the IDHS website.

VETERAN VIRTUAL RECRUITMENT PRESENTATION

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is joining IDVA and IDES to hold a veteran virtual recruitment presentation on October 7, 2020 at 11:00am. The virtual training workshop will counsel and guide veterans who are seeking employment with the State of Illinois. The presentations will focus on educating individuals interested in learning the process of applying for State employment and will address general questions including veteran preference in State hiring.

Those interested can register at this site. A list of all IDHS employment events can be found at this site. IDHS and other State employment opportunities can also be found at work.illinois.gov.

WARNING: COUNTERFEIT OPIOIDS

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is warning everyone that over the past week, the Illinois Poison Center and Cook County Department of Public Health have received reports of five probable cases of counterfeit opioid pill-related overdoses, including two fatalities, among young people between the ages of 19-23 years, with several additional possible cases under investigation.

Patients referred to the pills as "M30," "Percocet," or oxycodone, and they were purchased on the street. The pills are small, blue, round tablets stamped with an "M" that is surrounded by an imprinted box.

Emergency responders are advised to be aware of a potential spike in cases of overdoses among young people who have taken these pills, who present with significantly altered mental status, respiratory depression, hypotension, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, cardiac instability, or other evidence of multisystem organ dysfunction.

Please report potential cases of overdose due to counterfeit oxycodone to the Illinois Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for tracking purposes and treatment recommendations.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, IDHS is here to help. Please visit dhs.illinois.gov/helpishere.