By William S. Bike
In Gazette Chicago’s April issue, we listed resources that may be useful during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. To see that list, go to the e-edition of the April issue at gazettechicago.com. Here are additional resources that may be helpful.
Accion, which provides small business loans, has compiled a list of financial resources to help small business owners make ends meet during the coronavirus crisis, entrepreneurs find capital opportunities, and other business help. See https://us.accion.org/.
The City of Chicago and Chicago Community Catalyst Fund have created a Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund for neighborhood businesses experiencing loss of revenue due to the crisis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.
For those in crisis who do not want to talk to a counselor on the phone, the Crisis Text Line offers free 24-hour support. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for a text exchange. To learn more, log on to www.crisistextline.org.
For crisis counseling by phone, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Chicago) at (833) 626-4244.
The Crisis Management Institute (CMI) works with schools and parents after a tragedy. To deal with issues related to coronavirus, the CMI launched several websites: one with resources for school counselors, counselors.cmionline.com, another for parents, parents.cmionline.com, and a third for children and their parents, resources-for-kids-during-covid19. Several children’s books by Marla Koch, to help children deal with quarantine, are available through the resources tab of the parents’ website. For more information, log on to www.cmionline.org or call (503) 585-3484.
A Better Chicago has a fund to benefit nonprofits that help educate young people and their families in African American and Hispanic communities. See www.abetterchicago.org/emergencyrelief.
The Big Shoulders Fund emergency fund assists students with food, e-learning, and scholarships when parents have lost their jobs. See bigshouldersfund.org.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository has a food pantry directory. Log on to chicagofoodbank.org and click on Find Food or call (773) 247-3663.
Meals on Wheels feeds homebound seniors and people with disabilities. Log on to www.mealsonwheelschicago.org or call (773) 661-4550.
Food for healthcare workers
Frontline Foods is a non-profit organization that organizes meal preparation from local restaurants and delivers the meals to healthcare workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. In its first three weeks, Frontline Foods’ national program has raised more than $1 million in tax-deductible donations and partnered with 126 restaurants to serve 22,371 meals in 42 hospitals. See www.frontlinefoods.org/.
Learn how to become involved in providing food for healthcare workers at Rush University Medical Center, www.rush.edu, and the University of Chicago hospitals, www.uchicagomedicine.org.
Veterans homeless because of the coronavirus pandemic or other reasons should call the Veterans Administration at (877) 424-3838.
Undocumented immigrants being held in close quarters in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities are in increased danger for catching and spreading coronavirus. To find out how to oppose ICE adding to the problem by arresting more individuals, contact Organized Communities Against Deportations by logging on to www.organizedcommunities.org or calling (855) 435-7693.
Taller de Jose is a community resource center concerning immigration issues. Call (773) 523-8320.
Lice Clinics of America has launched its Frontline Heroes program for healthcare workers, first responders, other frontline workers and their families to get free telemedicine support and a free topical Quick Care Kit to fight head lice. Log on to www.liceclinicsofamerica.com.
The AARP Foundation offers a comprehensive list of free or reduced cost services such as medical care, food, and job training, searchable by ZIP code. Log on to local.aarpfoundation.org.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers support groups and other resources for individuals who need help. Call (800) 950-6264 or visit www.nami.org.
SNAP and Medicaid
The Greater Chicago Food Depository can help you obtain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits. Call (773) 843-5416.
Criminals are employing many scams to cheat people during the coronavirus pandemic. You can spot a potential scam by remembering that no official agency will use the phrases “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official government term is “economic impact payment.” Keep your economic impact payment safe by refusing to sign it over in exchange for the promise of additional funds. Fraudsters, possibly claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, may call, email, or text you to ask for personal or banking information, saying that data will expedite your payment or enable you to cash your check. Refuse all such requests.
To report fraud to the State of Illinois, call the Illinois Auditor General’s toll-free hotline at (855) 217-1895.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support 24 hours per day. Chat with a skilled, trained crisis worker by calling (800) 273-8255. NSPL also can give you advice about dealing with a family member or friend.
University of Illinois Health patients who have gone through the nurse triage line at (866) 600-2273 and been given a recommendation to receive a coronavirus test can schedule an appointment at the Mile Square Health Center-Main or Pilsen Family Health Center Lower West. No walk-ins accepted. UI Health assists walk-ins only at the University of Illinois Hospital Emergency Department from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; the department will provide testing only if an individual presents symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
TIF money for coronavirus needs
Interested persons can follow the steps below to support CivicLab campaigns to Abolish TIFs and Fund The People’s Response to COVID-19. CivicLab believes officials should abolish TIFs to fund coronavirus needs. Sign the People’s Response petition at https://tinyurl.com/Peoples-COVID-Response-Demands; sign the Abolish TIFs petition at www.endtifsnow.org; sign up to help organize at https://tinyurl.com/TEP-sign-up; go to the End TIFS Now Action Center and activate your power, www.civiclab.us/end-tifs-actioncenter; and support and donate to help cover campaign costs, https://tinyurl.com/Support-CivicLab.
Need volunteers during the pandemic? The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement can connect you with volunteers willing to help. Log on to https://slce.uic.edu/service/post-an-opportunity.
The Chicago Hospitality Employee Relief Guide lists more than 600 restaurants, bars, and other businesses with funds set up to help laid-off workers. Log on to tnyurl.com/312hospitality.
The Red Backpack Fund, created by the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation and Global Giving, makes grants of $5,000 to female entrepreneurs for immediate needs and longterm recovery of those affected by the coronavirus crisis. See www.globalgiving.org/redbackpackfund/.