General COVID-19 Resources
The Illinois Commerce Commission ordered that no utilities may be disconnected (gas, electricity, water and sewage) and no late payment penalties are allowed during the period covered by the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation period (currently set to expire May 30th but may be extended). Please note that, even though bills may not be due until later, all of your usage will be recorded and will eventually need to be paid. If your service is already off, you can not pay, or you will likely not be able to pay, contact the utility company and assistance programs. Information about specific utilities and programs are below:
- ComEd Covid-19 Information
- ComEd Bill Payment Assistance
- North Shore Gas
- Nicor Gas
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- North Shore Gas Share the Warmth Program
- Utility Assistance for Evanston Residents
- List of Lake County Food Pantries
- Lake County Schools Offering Food Assistance
- Evanston Food Resources
- USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder
- Illinois Department of Human Services Emergency SNAP Assistance
- Searchable List of Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens in Illinois
Jobs & Unemployment Benefits
- If you’ve lost employment income, file for unemployment benefits at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The Federal CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) provides expanded unemployment benefits including $600 per week of Federal unemployment benefits in addition to State benefits.
- The FFCRA also provides paid sick leave (2-weeks) and paid expanded medical leave (12-weeks) for eligible employees; contact your employer to see if you may qualify.
- Many employers are hiring; check out some of these resources:
Financial Assistance & Protections
- The CARES Act provides $1,200 stimulus payments to all adults earning less than $75K annually and $500 per dependent child. If you haven’t received your payment, check the status at: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
- Gubernatorial Executive Order 2020-16 suspends vehicle repossessions for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.
- Gubernatorial Executive Order 2020-25 suspends wage garnishments, other than child support and spousal support, during the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.
- Federal student loans have reduced interest rates to 0% and suspended collections until September 30. Illinois also provided private borrower assistance, including at least 90 days of forbearance with waived late fees and no negative credit reporting or debt collection, for many private student loans. You can call the Illinois Attorney General’s Student Loan Helpline at 800-455-2456 for assistance.
- The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued guidance to banks and other financial institutions, encouraging them to offer payment accommodations to consumers, including deferrals at no cost and extending payment due dates.
- Community Action Partnership of Lake County offers emergency assistance for eligible Lake County residents.
- Catholic Charities offers emergency assistance for eligible residents.
- Many townships and municipalities offer emergency financial assistance for their residents. Examples include:
Nonprofit Legal Assistance
- Prairie State Legal Services offers free legal services for low-income persons and those age 60 and older. They have 12 offices serving 26 counties in Northern Illinois.
- North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic offers free legal services with expertise in housing, immigration and domestic violence in the norther suburbs..
- Open Communities offers legal assistance in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
- Legal Aid Chicago offers free legal advocacy in Cook County.
- Illinois Legal Aid offers free 24/7 online access to legal information to all Illinois residents.
- Lawyer’s Committee for Better Housing offers legal services for Chicago residents only but has helpful information on their webpage.
Services for Immigrants
- Searchable Emergency Childcare Finder
- YWCA of Lake County
- Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development
- Childcare Assistance via Call or Text: Call 1-888-228-1146 toll free to be connected with a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency that helps connect essential workers and families to emergency childcare.Text 1-312-736-7390 to be connected with Illinois Action for Children regarding the Child Care Assistance Program
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- Lake County Health Department
- Cook County Health Department
- Erie Family Health Center
- IDPH has created a coronavirus hotline to answer questions from the general public and to take reports of suspected COVID-19 cases from health care professionals: 1-800-889-3931. It also has a text service to send out updates. Text “COVID” (“COVIDESP” for Spanish) to 312-500-3836 to sign up.
- The Illinois Department of Human Services is operating a service to connect individuals struggling with the stress of COVID-19. If you or a loved one are need support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish. This service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People seeking assistance will remain anonymous and will provide only their first name and zip code, which enables the service to link you to a counselor in your area who is knowledgeable about available local resources.
Text the following words to 552020 for corresponding purpose:
“TALK” for counselor in English
“HABLAR” for a counselor in Spanish
“FOOD” for information about food banks
“UNEMPLOYMENT” for the latest information about unemployment
“SHELTER” for information about housing
The Illinois State Board of Education has put together a page to answer questions and another with suggested e-learning resources. Though many schools have provided take-home packets or their own online resources and assignments, here are some additional free online educational resources from reputable companies:
- We Love Illinois Schools podcast – The Illinois State Board of Education has started its own podcast to support educators and education.
- National Geographic Kids – Science and history focused articles and activities.
- Kahn Academy – Free online lesson plans; requires registration.
- PBS Kids – Educational videos and games, with a focus on younger learners.
- PBS Learning – Educational videos, lesson plans, and other resources for all grade levels.
- BrainPOP – Educational resources on all topics with a focus on elementary-school age students; requires registration.
- DuoLingo – Free language learning; requires registration.
- I Civics – Civics and government-related games focused on middle-school and high-school students.
- Scholastic – Reading-based activities for Pre-K through 9th.
- Smithsonian for Kids – Educational games and articles for people of all ages.
- NASA Kids Club – Space related articles and activities, primarily for younger learners.
- Storyline Online – Story books for younger children read aloud by celebrities.
- Prodigy Math – Math curricula and activities for K-8th graders; requires registration.