Community Resources

Food distribution and Rental Assistance Services:

Food Distribution on Wednesdays from 9:00 A.M. to 1100 A.M. at

Circle Urban Ministries
118 N. Central Ave
Chicago, IL 60644

or visit the Greater Chicago Food Depository on the internet or call or visit:

The Greater Chicago Food Depository
4100 W. Ann Lurie PL
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 247-3663

Rental Assistance
Go to Chicago Rental Assistance online or
Visit the Catholic Charities Office at 5934 W. Lake Street for help.

This information came from Austin Coming Together

Contact them on their Facebook page:
Their newsletter had many resources for businesses that I did not include.

General Information & Resources:

Housing / Property Related:

Mayor announces Racial Equity Rapid Response Team to mitigate the racialized outcomes of COVID-19:
In order to build capacity of communities and organizations to address health disparity, the City of Chicago has partnered with West Side United and the Department of Public Health to form the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team. This team will ensure the City will effectively work collaboratively with community-based organizations to decrease infection and mortality rates in Chicago's highest-risk neighborhoods: Austin, Auburn Gresham, and South Shore.

The Team will leverage and expand existing engagement strategies to increase education, provide PPE supplies, increase testing, and build other structures to sustain a long term preparedness plan. Austin Coming Together (ACT) is the lead agency on this effort for Austin, and ACT's Executive Director Darnell Shields is on the Team's Steering Committee.

At the April 20th press conference, Mayor Lightfoot said "We need to be intentional about our work to ensure we are building the foundation that will endure when we're on the other side of this."

The messaging throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, whether from the World Health Organization or Hollywood celebrities, has been “we’re all in this together.” But the truth, Mayor Lightfoot said, is that “we are not experiencing this crisis in the same way.”

PCC Wellness in Austin will offer testing soon. AMITA Health is providing housing for COVID-postitive patients. Learn more here.

Each of the three neighborhoods will have a Virtual Town Hall this week.

Austin's Virtual Town Hall will be on Saturday, April 25th from 1-2pm airing LIVE on ACT's Facebook page here.

Remote learning to continue for rest of school year:
Chicago Public Schools recently announced in-person instruction is suspended through the end of the school year. Click here to learn more. Remote learning continues through Thursday, June 18.

On March 30, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago to announce both institutions have established remote learning plans to ensure instructional time continues while school buildings and campuses are closed. Both CPS and CCC have created continuous learning opportunities that help students stay engaged and connected despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
In alignment with new guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) that will require school districts to convert future days of suspended in-person instruction to “remote learning days,” Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released district-wide guidance that outlines expectations, strategies, and available resources for schools to implement remote learning beginning on April 13. The guidance provides flexibility for schools to design remote learning plans that best support the unique needs of their school communities.

CITY COLLEGES OF CHICAGO
On March 23, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) implemented remote learning and shifted classes for its more than 30,000 credit-earning students online. The community college system went from 10 percent of credit class sections being taught fully online to 92 percent of credit class sections being taught fully online. City Colleges also shifted its student services from previously being almost entirely in-person to exclusively online. City Colleges students can access admissions, advising, the library, tutoring, financial aid, registrar, business office, veterans services, transfer services, wellness center, information technology help desk, disability access centers, and Call Center, all online at www.ccc.edu/vss.

For more information on the Mayor's update, click here.

Request support from other Chicagoans through platforms like:

  • The Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help page created by Chicago organizers Kelly Hayes and Delia Galindo offers a simple way for people in the Chicago area to ask others for assistance during this crisis. Whether you are a parent whose income has dried up, a struggling freelancer, or enduring any other financial strife during this crisis, please feel free to share your story and ask for whatever financial help you need. To post a request, you can fill out this form. We know not everyone will get the help they ask for, but we want people to have the opportunity to ask, and also the opportunity to help.

If you are financially secure and want to help someone whose livelihood has been impacted by this crisis, please pick a hardship to address and donate. Details at https://transformativespaces.org/2020/03/15/chicago-covid-19-hardship-and-help-page/

Important recent announcements for City of Chicago residents:

  • The Stay at Home order for Illinois has been extended until at least April 30th. Information changes quickly and this page is updated when new information becomes available. The City of Chicago is mobilizing every resource at their disposal and collaborating with national, state and local partners to develop a comprehensive and coordinated response to the virus. Do your part. Stay home. Save lives. Visit the City's Coronavirus Response Center website here for the latest updates.
  • Ward Nights are postponed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Cancelled Street Sweeping & Tree Trimming. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic and Stay at Home Order these two City Services are being cancelled to protect everyone. The mayor does not want to have to post signs and residents trying to move their cars. Vehicles will not be ticketed during this time. However, these City departments will still provide services: Dept of Electricity, Dept of Water, Streets & Sanitation – Waste Management, CDOT. If you line in the 29th ward, you can submit Service Requests online for any City Service using this website https://aldtaliaferro.com/service-requests, calling the office 773-237-6460 or emailing ward29@cityofchicago.org.

Free food for ALL through CPS and other schools:
In this challenging time, the Noble Network of Charter Schools has joined Chicago Public Schools to provide food for ANY family who would like it. You do not have to be a Noble student or family to come to any of their campuses.

All Chicago Public Schools will continue offering free meals for students through the end of the school year in June. Families will be able to pick up meals outside of their nearest school, and won't be required to pick up meals at their school of attendance. Any student, regardless of whether they attend a CPS school, will be able to have access to meals.

Click here for the list of CPS Meal Sites.

Food pantries:
Beyond Hunger in Oak Park remains open and committed to providing foods and services that nourish and sustain, through a dignified experience. The food pantry prioritizes fresh produce, protein products, and a variety of grocery items. They recently partnered with Chicago Police Department’s 15th precinct and Oak Park Township to make quick over-arching changes to their processes to TRIPLE home deliveries immediately. Details at gobeyondhunger.org/need-help.

St. Martin de Porres has a Food Pantry at 5112 W. Washington Blvd. in Chicago open Wednesday and Thursday 10:00am -12:00pm. Contact: Leon Williams at 773-287-0206.

Lakeview Food Pantry is also available and open to residents of the North or Westside. For their requirements, click here.

Some restaurants offering grocery delivery:
Some smaller restaurants are also offering delivery of ingredients in addition to prepared food, so consider asking when placing a delivery order.

For example, Potbelly Sandwich Shop has launched their Potbelly's Pantry PLUS free delivery and curbside pick-up. You now have the option to stock up on your favorite Potbelly ingredients. Order here.

Extension for SNAP (food stamps) benefits after Re-certification:
A SNAP extension was recently approved so that re-certifications for SNAP benefits are extended automatically for 6 months for those that need to re-certify in March, April, and May. Interested individuals should apply online here.

Other resources for Food:

Fresh produce delivery:
Forty Acres Fresh Market is based out of Austin and is delivering produce boxes. For more information and delivery options, click here. Plus, they accept SNAP!

Comcast increasing speed and accessibility of internet:
Comcast has put in place two substantial program enhancements to help these families deal with this crisis.

  1. They will make it even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign up by offering new customers 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
  2. Also, they are increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the speed of the service going forward. In this way, they will ensure that Internet Essentials customers will be able to use their Internet service for all their increased needs as a result of this health crisis.

They want to make it as fast and simple as possible to access this service:

  • To receive the increased Internet speeds, existing customers will not need to do anything. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally over the next few days.
  • They’ll send all new customers a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. There will be no term contract or credit check and no shipping fee.
  • To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

Other sources for FREE Internet Access during Schools Closures:
If you or your family cannot afford internet access, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has posted free internet access opportunities to support school learning during the closures from AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast at www.isbe.net/keeplearning under "free internet access resources."

For questions, contact the CPS Command Center at 773.553.KIDS (5437) or email familyservices@cps.edu.

Gas and Electric Utilities mandate:
Illinois gas and electric utilities are mandated to stop disconnections until May 1, 2020, or until Gov. Pritzker announces the end of the state of emergency if it goes beyond May 1, 2020. Additionally, utilities must suspend late fees, and adopt flexible credit and collections practices for when the emergency is over.

Lastly, alternative suppliers of gas and electricity are also mandated to stop door-to-door marketing.

If anyone experiences disconnection notices or visits from alternative suppliers, Attorney General Raoul would like to know about it via this form: https://ccformsubmission.ilattorneygeneral.net/

ComEd:
They have voluntarily suspended service disconnections for customers who cannot pay, and waived new late payment charges, through at least May 1, 2020. They understand that many of their customers may experience a financial strain due to the slowdown in the economy related to the pandemic. The last thing they want their customers and communities to worry about at this stage is whether they will be without power. For more information and updates on ComEd's pandemic preparedness and response, as well as related customer service options, please visit ComEd.com/Coronavirus.

Energy-Saving Opportunities:
ComEd and Peoples Gas, in partnership with the Chicago Bungalow Association, provide customers with free home energy upgrades with CBA's Energy Savers. The free weatherization services and installation of free energy-saving products helps increase comfort, lower utility bills, add value and extend the life of your home.

The Energy Savers process:

  1. Apply HERE
  2. Home Assessment
  3. Weatherization Work
  4. Comfort + Savings

Good Neighbors are ready:
Westside Health Authority will be closed to the public for the duration of the call to shelter-in-place. However, their Good Neighbor Response Team will still mobilize and respond to those in need in Austin and the surrounding area when called at 773-951-6737.

Local School Council (LSC) elections:
The 2020 LSC elections will occur Wednesday, April 22nd for elementary schools and Thursday, April 23rd for high schools. LSCs are critical to ensuring positive student outcomes and a dynamic school environment by monitoring the school improvement plan (CIWP), school budget and expenditures, and evaluating/reviewing school principals annually. Click here to learn more information.

Public transportation, vehicle, or license related announcements:

  • Public transportation is still operating, but providers encourage riders to take precautions to limit the spread of personal germs. Click here for Pace Bus' response, or here for CTA info.
  • Metra has an alternative weekday schedule, details here.
  • Medical Personnel Ride Free on Metra: Doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other medical personnel on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic will now be able to ride free on Metra trains for the duration of the state’s “stay at home” order. To ride free, medical personnel only need to present a work ID showing that they are employed at a hospital, doctor’s office, medical facility or local fire department to a Metra conductor.
  • $3 fee waived for Pace Taxi Access Program. Click here for details.
  • Covid-19 Impact on Secretary of State's Office: All Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities are CLOSED to the public through April 30, 2020. View media release. Versión en Español. Expiration dates for driver's licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations and other transactions and document filings will be extended at least 30 days after Driver Services Facilities reopen. Online services are available. View the Covid-19 FAQs. Remote Online Notarizations temporarily allowed in Illinois. View media release.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security pushes back REAL ID deadline one year to Oct. 1, 2021. Current Illinois driver's licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2021. View media release www.REALID.ilsos.gov. Information on CDL skills/road test appointments.

Chicago eases up on ticketing and debt collections:
Effective through at least April 30 in the City of Chicago:

  • City sticker, license registration, and other compliance ticketing is suspended
  • Parking tickets will focus on safety-related issues (blocking fire hydrant, double parking, overstay near a hospital)
  • Tickets will not double
  • Unpaid payment plans will not go into default
  • Debts will not be referred to collections
  • Booting is suspended, and the City is removing all boots
  • Towing and Impounding for debt collection is suspended. Safety related towing will continue.
  • Ride-hail drivers (such as Uber and Lyft) will not be deactivated or banned for ticket debts
  • No new license suspension requests for red light or speed camera tickets (unlike parking ticket suspensions, these suspensions were not eliminated by the License to Work Act)

Read more from the Mayor’s press release or download the info flyer pictured above.

AT&T announcement:
As of March 13, 2020, and for the next 60 days, AT&T will waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is causing many hardships. If a customer finds themselves in financial trouble and unable to pay their bill, contact 800-288-2020 for AT&T broadband, residential wireless or small business services and 611 from an AT&T device for wireless.

Furthermore, all AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, they will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through their Access from AT&T program. They’ve expanded eligibility to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start. Additionally, they’re offering new Access from AT&T customers two months of free service.

AT&T consumer home internet wireline services are only available within AT&T’s 21-state ILEC service area.

Specifically for seniors:

  • My Block, My Hood, My City offers disinfectant wipes, Emergen-C supplements and other items to local seniors, while supplies last. Visit blockclubchicago.org for more information.
  • Country House Restaurant is offering free meals for homebound seniors. Contact 708-389-4618 for details.

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program:
Eligibility requirements include being a Bartender, or the spouse or child of a Bartender, and experiencing a lack of the necessities of life, including financial, physical, mental, or emotional well being as a result of a catastrophic event or emergency hardship.

Learn more at usbgfoundation.org/beap.

Service workers or tipped workers who have lost their job may be eligible to apply for emergency assistance through One Fair Wage’s Emergency Coronavirus Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund.

City of Chicago partners with Lyft and Uber to address increase in victims needing to flee violence:
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced April 9th a partnership with Chicago’s ride-hailing providers, Lyft and Uber, to support any resident that is seeking refuge from domestic violence during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Uber has donated over $20,000 to the IL Domestic Violence Hotline, which connects services for those who have experienced domestic violence. Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline available 24/7 directly at 1-877-TO END DV (1-877-863-6338 voice or 1-877-863-6339 TTY).

Lyft has also donated $10,000 in ride codes to help in bringing food and supplies to the many people who are unable to leave their homes at this time. All residents, both current Lyft riders or first-time users, can use codes CHICAGOACCESS20 and CHICAGORELIEF20 for a one-time $25 credit
available for use on a first-come, first-utilized basis.

Learn more about the partnership here.