Resources for Residents
The City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services has compiled a list of resources available to all Chicago residents. You can also call 2-1-1, available 24/7, to connect with a resource navigator who will direct you to essential health and social services support. Call 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898-211, or visit 211’s website, https://211metrochicago.org/ to learn more.
For in-person benefit assessments or to speak with support staff for additional guidance, visit one of the six DFSS Community Service Centers anytime Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Community Service Centers help residents to access a wide range of resources from shelter, food and clothing to domestic violence assistance to job training for the formerly incarcerated. The centers also serve as warming and cooling centers during periods of extreme weather.
If there is a medical emergency or someone is in danger, please call 9-1-1.
The below hotlines are confidential and available to all Chicagoans. Call if you or someone you know needs help:
- Eviction legal assistance from Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt: 855.956.5763
- Homelessness Prevention Call Center: 312.744.5000
- Chicago Senior Services Hotline: 312.744.4016 (Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm)
- Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline: 1.877.863.6338
- National Alliance for Mental Illness Helpline: 1-800.950.NAMI (Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm)
- Illinois Opioids and Other Substances: 1.833.2FINDHELP
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org
Early Childhood Education
Safe in-person early learning options are available across Chicago for children ages 0-5. Choose from 600+ early learning programs. Applications are available year-round!
For application information or to get assistance in applying, call the Chicago Early Learning Hotline at 312.229.1690 or visit https://www.cps.edu/ChicagoEarlyLearning/how-to-apply/
Public Assistance: Child Care Assistance Program
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides cash assistance to qualifying families with one or more children under the age of 13. Eligibility is based on household income or other criteria such as the parent’s age and participation in education or work opportunities. There are no waiting lists and all families who qualify receive some assistance.
Find out if you are eligible here: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/applications/ChildCareEligCalc/eligcalc.html
To set up an application appointment, call Illinois Act for Children at 312.823.1100.
Programs for Teens and Youth
My CHI. My Future. compiles youth programs, events, jobs, and resources across all city departments and over 250 community-based organizations. Find opportunities and resources for your teens and youth through the website or through the new mobile app.
To learn more, visit the website here: https://explore.mychimyfuture.org/ or download the app in the Apple or Google Play app stores.
Groceries & Meals
The Greater Chicago Food Depository and more than 700 partners across Cook County provide access to nutritious food all year. There is no eligibility criteria to participate, you can simply show up.
Find a food pantry, soup kitchen, shelter or mobile program in your community by calling 773.247.3663 or visiting: https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/find-food/
Public Assistance: Women, Infants and Children
The Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) helps pregnant women, new mothers and young children eat well and stay healthy. Through WIC, you can obtain cash assistance for food purchases, information and help about breastfeeding and nutrition, and help finding healthcare. To be eligible you must have a WIC-eligible member of your household and meet the household income requirement.
Find out if you are eligible here: https://wic.fns.usda.gov/wps/pages/preScreenTool.xhtml
To apply, call the state WIC office at 217.782.2166 or visit the online office locator to find the nearest enrollment office.
Public Assistance: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, helps low-income households to purchase groceries. To be eligible you meet the household income requirement.
Find out if you are eligible here: https://fscalc.dhs.illinois.gov/FSCalc/
To apply, call the state hotline at 800.843.6154 or visit the online application portal.
Community Health Clinics
Community Health Clinics are neighborhood-based healthcare centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive care regardless of your ability to pay. Services offered include prenatal care, pediatric care and help managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and more. Community Health Clinics accept some insurance plans, Medicaid managed care plans and use a sliding scale for fees based on income.
To find a health center near you, use the online locator tool here or call 3-1-1.
COVID-19 Vaccines & Testing
COVID-19 vaccines are available free of charge to all Chicagoans 5 and older.
Find your nearest vaccine site here: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid19-vaccine/home/city-sites.html
To find a free or low-fee COVID-19 testing site, visit the Community Health Clinic online locator tool here or visit the City's community-based testing site webpage here.
Mental Health Services
NAMI Chicago is a nonprofit that operates a free and confidential hotline staffed by clinicians and peers who can help you find treatment and provide free resources to those in need of mental health support.
To reach the hotline, call 1.800.950-NAMI.
Find other mental health resources here: https://mentalhealth.chicago.gov/find-mental-health-support/
Services for People with Disabilities
The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) can offer personal assistant services, assistive devices, home-delivered meals, home modification and benefits counseling for people with disabilities living in the City of Chicago under the age of 60.
To learn more about services offered, call 312-744-7050 or visit the MOPD website.
Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt is a free resource to help landlords and tenants resolve housing and debt issues. Visit cookcountylegalaid.org or call 855-956-5763.
Legal support for tenants is also available at rentervention.com or text "hi" to 866-773-6837.
The Department of Family and Support Services offers a Rental Assistance Program (RAP) that provides cash assistance to low-income households at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction, loss of income or another emergency. Eligibility is based on household income and proof of a qualifying event.
CEDA is a nonprofit that administers financial assistance programs for renters and homeowners who need help with their utility bills, including gas, electric, water, sewer and furnace assistance. Program eligibility varies and is based on household income. CEDA administers the City of Chicago’s Utility Billing Relief (UBR) which provides low-income City of Chicago residents who are property owners with a reduced rate on their water, sewer, and water-sewer tax as well as debt relief.
To learn more about bill assistance options, visit the CEDA website.
The Department of Family and Support Services oversees a network of overnight and interim housing shelter programs that provide over 3,000 shelter beds at 50 separate facilities.
To find a shelter, call 3-1-1 or 312-744-5000 and ask for “short-term help.”
The Illinois Emergency Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF)
The Illinois Emergency Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF) provides up to $60,000 in mortgage assistance to eligible homeowners — paid directly to the servicer, taxing body or other approved entity. If you need immediate assistance with housing expenses due to a pending foreclosure, or assistance completing an application, please contact a legal aid organization or a HUD-approved housing counseling agency (see map here) right away. Visit illinoishousinghelp.org to learn more. Applications for ILHAF opened November 2022 and will remain open until funds are exhausted.
Bank On Chicago is a nonprofit that evaluates banking services for quality, security, and affordability. Their list of approved banking partners all provide low-fee checking, savings, and spending products that allow you to receive direct deposit, track your expenses, and avoid surprise fees. Accounts can be set up online or at an in-person branch.
Find a certified Bank On account option by visiting the website here: https://bankonchicago.com/accounts/
Economic Empowerment Workshops and Counseling
The Chicago Treasurer’s Office provides free economic empowerment programs for all Chicago residents and small business owners through bi-monthly workshops and individual counseling sessions. One initiative, HOPE Inside, provides services and education to those facing financial challenges, including needing assistance on debt management, credit score improvement, wealth building and more.
To learn more, visit: https://chicagocitytreasurer.com/hope-inside-2/
Pilot: Clear Path Relief for Reduced Motorist Fines
The Clear Path Relief pilot from the City of Chicago provides low-income motorists with relief for vehicle-related debt, excluding expired meter tickets. Applicants are required to have outstanding vehicle-related debt and be the registered owner of the vehicle associated with the debt.
Find out if you are eligible to apply here: www.chicago.gov/cpr
City Colleges: Future Ready Program
Future Ready at City Colleges of Chicago is an opportunity to start or boost your career by taking college courses at no cost. Participants can choose from dozens of short-term programs in the area’s highest demand fields, learn new skills, and earn an industry-recognized certification. Future Ready is for Chicagoans who are either new to City Colleges or returning after a year away.
Learn more at www.ccc.edu/FutureReady
City Colleges: Adult Education Programs
Learn English or finish high school for free to improve your career and college opportunities. City Colleges of Chicago offers classes for free to learners in-person and online. The Career Bridge Program also helps students improve their reading, writing, math, and English skills while earning an industry certificate that can lead to entry-level job opportunities and careers in fields like Early Childhood Education, Healthcare, Supply Chain and Transportation Technology.
Visit www.ccc.edu/ae to learn more and get started
Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is the largest public workforce development system in the nation. The Partnership provides job training, career coaching and resume assistance, in high-growth and high-demand industries such as business and professional services, healthcare, retail, culinary & hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, construction, and more!.
Visit The Partnership website to see a full list of trainings, employment opportunities and internships available today, or call 312.603.0200.
One Summer Chicago
Do you know a youth or young adult looking for a summer job or an opportunity to give back to their community? One Summer Chicago has thousands of employment and enrichment opportunities for youth ages 14 to 24. Most learning experiences and employment opportunities provide 15-20 hours of paid job training and work experience per week. The 2023 summer program runs from June 26th through August 4th.
The application deadline is June 2, 2023. Young people can visit www.onesummerchicago.org to learn more and apply. For additional questions or inquiries, contact the One Summer Chicago Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the hotline at 312.743.0208.
Chicago’s Community Re-Entry Support Centers
For individuals transitioning home from incarceration or jail, Chicago’s Community Re-entry Support Centers connect returning residents 18 or older with reentry navigators who will connect you to resources within your community that can help transition you back into the workforce and move forward. Programs include employment assistance, education and training, mentoring and support groups, housing assistance, mental health counseling, family reunification, child-support assistance, and more.