Learn about the Cook County COVID-19 Response Plan in full here:
Cook County COVID-19 Recovery: Rental Assistance
Find out more at www.cookcountyil.gov/recovery.
The COVID-19 Recovery: Rental Assistance Program helps suburban Cook County residents having difficulty paying their rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It pays up to three months of overdue or future rent.
Rental payments will be sent directly to landlords by the Housing Authority of Cook County. The program is part of the Cook County Community Recovery Initiative, funded by the federal CARES Act.
- Apply for the COVID-19 Recovery: Rental Assistance Program
- Find out more about the COVID-19 Recovery: Rental Assistance Program, including Frequently Asked Questions
- For questions about the application, contact: [email protected].
- You can apply for rental assistance between August 10 and August 24.
Re-opening of Cook County Facilities to the Public
County facilities re-opened on July 6, 2020, in accordance with President Preckwinkle’s Executive Order 2020-11. Please be advised that services are still available online, and staff are available by phone or email. Residents and businesses are still strongly encouraged to access services remotely in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Cook County employees will return to the workplace in phases beginning July 6. Employees and members of the public using Cook County facilities upon reopening will be expected to practice physical distancing and wear personal protective equipment in accordance with public health guidelines. In addition, everyone who enters a County facility will be required to undergo a thermal screening and health questionnaire.
Cook County Courts also re-opened on July 6. More information about the resumption of court services, including a full plan, overview and FAQ, are available for download from the Justice Advisory Council.
Learn more at www.cookcountyil.gov/reopening.
Please find resources around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the link below:
Cook County Covid-19 Response Plan
On Thursday, May 14, President Preckwinkle released the Cook County COVID-19 Response Plan: From Rapid Response to Equitable Recovery during a virtual City Club speech. Read the full speech on Medium. This plan documents our initial, rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis and outlines our priorities for an equitable recovery over the next several months.
The plan is grounded in our core values of equity, engagement, and excellence, and builds from the six policy priorities established in the Policy Roadmap: Five-Year Strategic Plan for Offices Under the President.
The needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic evolve quickly, so we are committed to updating and revising this plan for an equitable recovery as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back over the coming months for updates to our approach.
- Read the Plan. The full document and overview are available for download.
- Share feedback. We are committed to incorporating the voices of community, industry and thought partners as well as other stakeholders as we craft an equitable future for all. Please fill out this feedback form to provide input on the plan.
Cook County Financial Relief Package
With businesses and residents facing so many challenges and difficulties created by the coronavirus, Cook County is moving to waive various County fines, fees and deferring tax collections. Waiving these fines and fees and deferring the County’s tax collection will assist businesses in terms of cash flow to the tune of $45 million during these trying times. This can provide some breathing room for businesses that are struggling.
Under this relief package, due dates for Home Rule Taxes like the Alcoholic Beverage Tax, Amusement Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gasoline and Hotel Accommodations Tax will be pushed back. So will numerous fines and fees under the jurisdictions of the Departments of Transportation and Highways, Environment and Sustainability, Revenue, Building and Zoning and Public Health.
Available Testing Sites
Find a testing site near you from the Illinois Department of Public Health: http://dph.illinois.gov/testing. Testing is free and does not affect immigration status. Please call ahead to confirm testing availability.
AlertCook, Hotline and Email
Sign up for AlertCook, Cook County’s text alert system. Simply text “AlertCook” to 888-777.
The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has opened a hotline, with live translation services available in all major languages: (708) 633-3319. This hotline is available Monday through Friday during regular office hours and is staffed by CCDPH staff. If you cannot immediately reach a member of staff, please leave a voicemail. Voicemails will be returned.
CCDPH has also launched an email service for all COVID-19 questions and concerns at [email protected].
The Cook County Department of Public Health received a $41 million grant from the State of Illinois to launch an expanded contact tracing program. CCDPH has begun the hiring process for several lead positions. It is expected the operation will require 400 staff members and will be fully established by Fall.
Learn more about the Cook County Department of Public Health’s plan for contact tracing in suburban Cook County.
Affordable Housing Opportunities
The Housing Authority of Cook County’s waiting list for housing in Blue Island opened April 9, 2020 and all applications are taken online. Additionally, the Housing Choice voucher waiting list is scheduled to open soon. Please sign up for alerts notifying you when and how to apply for housing assistance.
- If you are a suburban Cook County resident and need financial assistance with mortgage, rent payments, rent deposits, utility payments, or other housing issues please call the Homeless Prevention Call Center at (877) 4-COOK-15 or (877) 426-6515. Listen carefully to the prompts to choose which kind of help you need. City of Chicago residents should call 311 or (312) 744-5000 (outside of Chicago).
- Emergency shelter: Due to changes in shelter operations due to COVID-19, please call the Homeless Prevention Call Center at (877) 4-COOK-15 or (877) 426-6515 if possible to be directed appropriately to shelter resources. If you are not able to call, please see shelter providers in suburban Cook County.
Visit the Domestic Violence Hotlines: http://www.suburbancook.org/dv
City Bureau COVID-19 Resource Finder
City Bureau, a non-profit newsroom, has compiled an easily filtered, comprehensive collection of resources available in all major languages. City Bureau consulted with communities and found that narrowing a large list of resources to find specific items that work for each individual would be very useful in accessing COVID-19 resources. Their finder has easy-to-use filters for types of resource and eligibility. The site has been translated into 10 languages and SMS access is available.
- The Greater Chicago Food Depository responds to food insecurity in our community every single day. Anyone in need of food assistance can turn to the Food Depository’s network of agencies and programs. With some exceptions, their network of 700 partner agencies and programs remains open. These sites are modifying their distributions to promote social distancing, including offering pre-packaged boxes of groceries.
- School districts throughout Cook County suburbs are providing meals to families in need. Find the details here: http://bit.ly/CookCountyMeals
- Download this list of South Suburban Food Pantries.
Residents who have questions about the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance and COVID-19 can visit the service page for frequently asked questions at the Department of Human Rights and Ethics.
Job seekers can visit the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership’s website to find out who’s hiring now.
Residents with questions about unemployment insurance and COVID-19 can visit Illinois Department of Employment Security for frequently asked questions.
Emergency Management and Regional Security
Alternative Housing Program
Cook County has launched an alternative housing plan designed to support suburban Cook County residents, health care professionals and first responders.
Under this plan, in partnership with the Illinois Emergency Management Association, suburban Cook County residents who test positive for COVID-19 and are in need of temporary housing as they continue to recover outside a hospital’s care, will have an opportunity to stay in temporary housing identified by EMRS. Qualifying participants of the program may include people experiencing homelessness, individuals who are housing insecure or those who do not have a separate room and bathroom to safely isolate at home.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19, has received treatment and is set to be discharged from the hospital to continue recuperating, the patient can tell a hospital social worker they may not be able to adequately self-isolate. The hospital will call a Cook County Department of Public Health hotline who will screen the patient, confirm their need for housing, and then immediately work to place them in the temporary housing.
The program has been expanded to provide respite housing to suburban health care professionals and first responders also in need of temporary housing.
On March 26, 2020, President Preckwinkle signed Executive Order 2020-6 directing the Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) to accept supplies, equipment, goods, services and other donations from private partners, corporations, and individuals for rapid deployment to Cook County agencies, first responders, municipal partners and not-for-profit organizations working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis to provide our region’s most vulnerable communities with emergency assistance. In times of crisis, coordination is vital and valued in getting critical resources to communities most impacted and EMRS has been working diligently to mobilize philanthropic, government, and business partners to support our community.
The County is asking closed hospitality, entertainment, educational and manufacturing facilities as well as other businesses that have PPE inventory currently not in use, to donate those items so that Cook County can distribute them to facilities who most need them now.
Cook County is accepting eye protection such as face shields and goggles, nitrile (non-latex) gloves, surgical face masks, non-contact (infrared) thermometers, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer and infection control kits. The County will also accept Tyvek or Tychem coveralls, shoes and boot coverings and gowns including surgical, isolation and personal protection.
All PPE should be in the manufacturer’s original packaging and unopened. Cook County is unable to accept products not in their original packaging or homemade items. Anyone who would like to donate PPE or has any questions should email [email protected].
Distributing Resources to First Responders and Communities
Emergency Management and Regional Security has been working diligently to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) and other resources to first responders and communities throughout Cook County.
To date, EMRS has distributed:
- 549,655 N95 masks
- 594,975 surgical masks
- 1,180,350 gloves
- 25,190 protective gowns
- 17,603 pairs of eye protection
- 37,913 Face Shields
- 4,529 Tyvek/Tychem suits (or other protective coveralls)
- 350 infection control kits
- 5,475 head covers
- 23,220 shoe or boot covers
City of Chicago
Resources for Business Owners:
Emergency Funds for Business Owners:
U.S. Paycheck Protection Program | The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing emergency loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees through the Paycheck Protection Program. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
- Click here to find a lender eligible to issue a loan – please check with your preferred lender to determine if they are participating.
Know How it Spreads
The virus that causes COVID-19 primarily spreads between people in close contact when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. You might also get the virus if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Identify Household Members Who Are at Higher Risk
People of all ages can get sick with COVID-19 and it’s important for everyone to take preventative measures. However, older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness and need to take extra precautions. If your household includes one or more vulnerable individuals then all family members should act as if they, themselves, are at higher risk.
Take Everyday Preventative Actions
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put 6ft of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household
- Wear a face covering when in public and around others
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces daily, like doorknobs, light switches, phones, and faucets
- Monitor your health dailyand watch for symptoms of COVID-19
- Avoid large gatherings and crowded spaces
- If you’re sick, stay home except to get medical care
Protect Children and Vulnerable Members
- Choose one or two family members who are not at a higher risk to run the essential errands.
- Teach children the same things everyone should do to stay healthy. Children and other people can spread the virus even if they don’t show symptoms.
- Vulnerable members should avoid caring for children and people who are sick. If they must care for the children in their household, the children in their care should not have contact with individuals outside the household.
Separate a Household Member Who Is Sick
- Keep people at higher risk separated from anyone who is sick.
- Have only one person in the household take care of the person who is sick.
- Provide a separate bedroom and bathroom for the person who is sick, if possible.
- If you need to share a bedroom, separate the ill person’s bed.
- If you need to share a bathroom, clean and disinfect the frequently touched surfaces in the bathroom after each use.
- Maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other family or household members.
- If you are sick, do not help prepare food. Also, eat separately from the family.
Employment Supports for Individuals:
Applying for Unemployment
If you’ve lost your job due to the COVID-19 Crisis, you can apply for unemployment through the State of Illinois Department of Employment Services. Along with your personal and background information, you need the following documents and information on hand to complete your application:
- Drivers license or state ID
- Current residential and mailing address
- Social security number
- Last dates of employment
- Number of days worked during the last employment period
- Number of weeks earning $484 or more during last employment period
Select industries, including healthcare, customer service, logistics, store operations, and facility management, are hiring during the COVID19 crisis. If you are looking for work, see positions available on Skills for Chicagoland’s Future and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.
SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES:
IDHS FAQ on the PPP Program:
Unemployment Insurance Relief during COVID-19 Outbreak:
RECORDING FROM SMALL BUSINESS TELE-TOWNHALL:
April 13th Small Business Q&A Tele-Townhall, hosted by Commissioner Bill Lowry; Commissioner Lowry was joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, U.S. SBA District Director Robert Steiner, and Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller.
Recording from the Tele-Townhall:
Presentation from U.S. SBA Robert Steiner:
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES:
For Cook County Health patients experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19, here is information on the mental health hotline:
-To speak to a mental health professional, text “TALK” or “HABLAR” for Spanish to 552020. Individuals will receive a call within 24 hours, and it is free and anonymous.
-Individuals can also text 552020, with key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” to receive information on how to access supports and services.
-Individuals can also call the medical social worker at their clinic or 312-864-0200 and ask to speak to a social worker for further information about resources.
3RD DISTRICT NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE:
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Cook County’s Taxes, Fines and Fees relief package: