DFSS Response to COVID-19

March 26, 2020

The City of Chicago is committed to providing leadership and help throughout the evolving COVID-19 crisis. As the situation develops, the City will continue to offer resources and support to people across the city. Chicago.gov/Coronavirus provides the latest information on a range of topics regarding COVID-19. 



 Direct all media inquiries on COVID-19 to media.coronavirus@cityofchicago.org 

Community Service Centers

Community Service Centers are open during the Stay at Home Order for individuals and families in need of access to rental, utility and other financial assistance programs. Centers hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Rental Assistance Program

In response to COVID-19, temporary changes are in place for obtaining an application for the Rental Assistance Program coordinated by the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS).  For now, instead of applying on site at a Community Service Center, residents can call one of the centers to have an application mailed to them. In addition, the application can be submitted by visiting any of the six Community Service Centers during regular business hours. Since the Illinois Stay at Home Order has been in place, up to 90 percent of calls/visits to the centers have been related to the Rental Assistance Program. An average of 20 applications are being mailed per day. 

Senior Services

Many older adults in Chicago are deciding to put their health first and the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS) is partnering with them to ensure their safety and wellbeing needs are being met. Older Chicagoans should limit travelavoid large gatheringsstay home as much as possible and, if needed, ask others for helpEveryone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. We all should call older loved ones, neighbors and friends to check up on them.

For Senior Services,

  • Email Aging@CityofChicago.org
  • Call 312-744-4016, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday
  • Cal 311

For Home-Delivered Meals, 

  • Email SeniorMeals@CityofChicago.org 
  • Call 312-744-4016, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday 
  • Call 311 


Wellbeing Checks

Volunteers are conducting ongoing wellbeing checks, over the phone, to engage with older Chicagoans and to make sure their needs are being met during the Stay at Home Order.

Homeless Services


As part of the City of Chicago’s ongoing efforts to coordinate resources for vulnerable residents in response to COVID-19, the City is partnering with social serviceorganizations to build an emergency shelter network in efforts to ensure social-distancing, access to food and safe accommodations for residents experiencing homeless. An agreement with the YMCA of Metro Chicago to house 400 beds across three local Y locations was the first step in a series of partnerships to build the network. An expanded partnership with the Salvation Army has been finalized and includes 265 beds across two local Salvation Army facilities. This emergency response effort complements the City’s existing network of shelters and expands citywide shelter bed capacity to nearly 3,000. Residents can make a request for shelter by calling City Services at 311. Shelter beds are available for families, youth and single individuals.


Encampments & Unsheltered Residents 

To ensure that the needs of residents living in encampments across the city are being met, the City’s Homeless Outreach Program (HOP) visits encampments throughout the week to assess the need for resources at the location, to identify residents that are at higher risk for COVID-19 due to older age and severe chronic health conditions, and to gauge a resident’s interest in shelter placement. The HOP team has deployed handwashing stations to the city’s larger encampments and has made sure hygiene kits, hand sanitizer and wipes are available. This outreach has been in partnership with multiple city-funded agencies that provide wraparound services for unsheltered residents year-round. We are fully committed to ensuring that residents experiencing homelessness and all other vulnerable populations continue to receive care and the support they need to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. 

Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline

The IL Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 via call or text: 

Phone: 1.877.863.6338
TTY: 1.877.863.6339


The Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS) is the lead agency for the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline and works exclusively with The Network, a local nonprofit, to ensure residents have access to domestic violence support resources 24/7/365 – especially during this time of crisis. The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 via call or text in over 240 languages for residents affected by domestic violence. Through collaboration between the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, the availability of resources provided by the Hotline has been expanded to meet the increasing demand during COVID-19. In addition to direct victim response, the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline supports a network of service providers that address counseling and legal needs for Illinois residents affected by domestic violence. 

Children Services

Governor Pritzker announced a temporary suspension of public schools statewide. For Chicago Early Learning, the suspension applied to programs that operate in a Chicago Public Schools setting. Programs that operate outside of a school-setting, made individual organizational decisions based on the needs of their staff and the families they serve. DFSS has been told from its federal and state funders for early learning programs that funding will remain available for all early learning and childcare delegate agencies while their operations are temporarily interrupted. 

Youth Services

The 2020 One Summer Chicago application is open at OneSummerChicago.org.  


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