Legal Aid Chicago
Legal Aid Chicago provides free legal services and strengthens the social safety nets in our communities. Services are provided for residents of Chicago and suburban Cook County and include (but are not limited to): Orders of Protection, Custody and Divorce, preventing eviction, maintaining or restoring essential utilities, money & debt resources, unemployment insurance benefits, expungement and sealing of adult and juvenile criminal records, accessing social safety net services, and obtaining protected status for victims of crime (such as U-Visa, VAWA, and T-Visa). To get assistance, call 312-341-1070 or visit https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/get-legal-help?source=25231&referral_source_type=organization&helptype=lawyer.
Greater Chicago Food Depository:
If you or a loved one is in need of food assistance, please check out the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s map of agencies and mobile distributions near you. If you are searching for assistance applying for SNAP or Medicaid benefits, please call 773-843-5416 or fill out this referral form. For more information around benefits and outreach, check out the ways the food depository can help here: https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/benefits-outreach/. For Pandemic specific benefits, take a look at these FAQs.
Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP):
This program, offered nationally through State Attorney Generals, helps individuals and families who have reported a violent crime to law enforcement and need financial assistance related to the effects of that crime. For assistance, please call 1-800-228-3368. It is important to note, these funds provide reimbursement and not upfront funding, with a maximum of $27,000 regardless of having and/or using insurance benefits or not. Families that are undocumented can apply for CVCP funds. Your Family Advocate is a great resource when looking at CVCP.
For additional FAQs, you can check out these resources from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s website:
- Crime Victim Compensation FAQs in English, Spanish, and Polish
- Crime Victim Compensation FAQs asked by Domestic Violence Survivors in English, Spanish, and Polish
- Crime Victim Compensation FAQs asked by Sexual Assault Survivors in English, Spanish, and Polish
- Crime Victim Compensation FAQs asked by Relatives of Deceased Victims in English, Spanish, and Polish
- For additional resources, you can explore more on https://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/victims/resources.html
How to Find Your Representatives:
Your local representatives can be a great resource for getting needs met, especially needs within your local community. In the City of Chicago we each have an Alderman, a Representative in the State House of Representatives, and a Senator in the State Senate. To find out who these people are for your address, check out this resource: https://www.illinoispolicy.org/maps/. Simply click on which you’d like to search for, put in your current address, and your representative will appear with their contact information and office location.
Housing Action Illinois has gathered great resources for current funding opportunities for rental assistance during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Emergency Rental Assistance program supports families in rent and utility payments for eligible households. An “eligible household” has one or more individuals in the home that: (1) qualify for unemployment or has had a reduction in income/taken on significant costs/experienced a financial hardship due to Covid-19; (2) demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; (3) and has a household income at or below 80% of the area median. Suburban Cook County applications are currently open. City of Chicago applications are expected to open in April or May. For Cook County and City of Chicago related information, check out https://chicookilrenthelp.org/ including helpful tips on which program may be most helpful for your situation.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is anticipated to re-launch the Illinois Rental Payment Program (IRPP) in April 2021 for emergency rental assistance due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Approved applicants can receive up to 15 months of assistance from past due rent dating back to May 2020 through March 2021 and three months of prospective rent. Your landlord must also participate, but it’s a benefit to all parties. Funding is limited so we encourage early applications.
When searching for AROs or other affordable housing options, check out https://www.ilhousingsearch.org/. IL Housing Search also provides additional resources for a variety of specific needs at https://www.ilhousingsearch.org/Resources.html. You can also check out the City of Chicago data portal for AROs or the City of Chicago assisted affordable housing resources.
For information about the Covid-19 Vaccine, please check out this list of resources: [link to blog post page]