312-772-9796

In preparing for a talk I gave, I was tasked with pulling together some resources to help out many who are vulnerable and impacted by COVID-19. Many who never had to access resources before, are now needing to do so. Here at Optimum Joy, it’s important for us to acknowledge how meeting basic needs can impact the way that you view yourself & the world.

 In addition to the information provided below, I’d recommend checking out the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) COVID-19 Resource  & the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response Page.

 Unemployment

 What is the Resource:

 Through the Illinois Department of Services (IDES), individuals are eligible to receive financial assistance due to unemployment.

 Whose eligible:

 IDES is encouraging all to apply for unemployment even if you are unsure if you qualify

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 Apply at Illinois Department of Employment Services Website or call 312-338-4337

  • You create an account (username and password). This takes about an hour online
  • Once it’s complete, you will receive a confirmation page
  • There is an option to do it on the phone and there are specific days that you are able to apply based on the first letter of your last name.
  • For some people, they may need to be “certified” (ie they would be contacted by unemployment)
  • If you don’t hear from them in 2 weeks, contact them.

 Food Stamps/Medicaid/Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)

 What is the Resource:

 Through the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) individuals can receive temporary financial assistance and medical insurance (Medicaid).

 Whose eligible:

 For Medicaid- Blind, Disabled or Aged (65 or older), or if you have children under the age of 19, or are pregnant.

 For TANF- temporary financial assistance for pregnant women and families with one or more dependent children.

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 Illinois Department of Human Services or call 1-833-2 FIND HELP

 Governor Pritzker said that no one is going to get kicked off of Medicaid. For those who do try to call the office, Department of Human Services office, please note that DHS will want to talk to the person who is in need of benefits. So if you are a caretaker, helper, caseworker calling on behalf of another person, please be aware that you’ll need to patch them into the call. Please also note that the wait times on the phone is fairly long

 Food

 What is the Resource:

 Food pantries, food banks and spiritual communities are lending a hand to providing for your food needs.

 Whose eligible:

 Many are inviting those with a low income, who are struggling financially due to being furloughed and unemployed.

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 Chicago Food Bank or call 773-247-3663

  • Food pantries are more lenient, going outside of their zones, delivering for those who can’t leave their houses. Some of them can order online (Lakeview pantry) & some even offer Saturday deliveries
  • Meals on Wheels or call 1-888-998-6325. While there is usually an application process, now it takes 15 minutes on the phone.
  • Uptown Covenant Church has offered to shop for those who have Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. They will need your Link card (SNAP money for food) to purchase those items on your behalf.
  • Ezra is a Multi-Service Center in Uptown Chicago (909 W Wilson, 773-275-0866) is handing out food
  • Vineyard Christian Church of Evanston Care Center (2495 Howard St. Evanston, (847) 328-4544) is continuing to provide food through their pantry on Wednesday nights from 6-7pm.

 Older Adults

 What is the Resource:

 While supporting and walking alongside older adults in the community, these are a few resources to link them to.

 Whose eligible:

 Older Adults and their caretakers

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 Alzheimers Association 24/7 helpline 800 272 3900 for Dementia related support and problem solving around Dementia related challenges.

  • In home care agencies, doctors, housing, elder law attorneys.
  • Click here to look up local Agencies, including the Area Agency on Aging which provides support to older and vulnerable adults.

 Transportation

 What is the Resource:

 Whether you are driving your car or continuing to rely on public transportation, please know that there is financial support available for you. There is a “demand-response” service where a passenger has to reserve a ride in advance, such as with Pace Bus

 Whose eligible:

 For PaceDial a Ride for those traveling in the suburbs-check online for passenger eligibility

  • ParaTransit fixed routes (ie the route is pre-determined based on the travel plans of the individual)-for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
  • ADA ParaTransit for those who have difficulty navigating public transportation-for individuals with disabilities, you must be certified. Check out this site for more details on certification. 
  • Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) ParaTransit (Pace “door to door”) services is providing recipients a “temporary” pace approval due to COVID-19 emergency service response.

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 Steps for applying:

  •  Contact RTA-Pace mobility help line: 312 663 4357
  • Request an application due to having a Medical/Mental Health disability, they will be scheduled a phone interview at a later day/time
  • They will receive a phone call within two weeks, they must be available for the phone interview
  • A letter will be sent, informing them they have been awarded a temporary approval for six months due to CoVid 19
  • The letter serves as proof, until their card is mailed between 10-14 business days from receiving the letter
  • One month prior to the expiration date, they will need to call and request an application to prevent disruption of services

Child Support

 What is the Resource:

 Activities, parks, computers and music or resources to support your kids. 

 Whose eligible:

Most are open to all kids.

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 See the Chicago Park District to know which parks are opened and closed

 Utility Help/Internet

 What is the Resource:

 Financial support to access internet services for a reduced rate and other resources to help with paying down debt on utility bills.

 Whose eligible:

 Low income, please check their sites for eligibility.

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 The National Digital Inclusion Alliance has information on providers and programs offering free or low-cost broadband.

 Emergency Funding for Artists

 What is the Resource:

 Chicago based resource for artists

 Whose eligible:

 Artists in Chicago, check their site for further information.

 How can people access these resources during this time?

 Support groups/Mental Health

 What is the Resource:

 Virtual Support Groups and Teletherapy Services for individuals, couples and families.

 Whose eligible:

 Check the individual resources for eligibility criteria

 How can people access these resources during this time?

We are here for you!!! Optimum Joy Clinical Counseling is taking new clients through telehealth services!  312-772-9796. Call Today!

 

Written by therapist Pamela Larkin

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