By William S. Bike
The following supplements the lists of information published in recent issues of Gazette Chicago that may be useful during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
App for information and guidance
The City has launched Chi COVID Coach, an app that allows the Chicago Department of Public Health to communication with those who are coronavirus-positive or have symptoms. See https://covidcoach.chicago.gov/.
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, capital opportunities for entrepreneurs 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 email@example.com or log on to www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.
The Chicago Resiliency Fund is a cash assistance program to support Chicago residents who were excluded from federal stimulus aid in response to the coronavirus. The City of Chicago, in collaboration with Open Society Foundations and The Resurrection Project (TRP), launched the fund June 22. The fund will provide $1,000 per household for eligible Chicagoans, which includes, but is not limited to, undocumented individuals, mixed-status families, dependent adults, and returning residents. The fund also accepts donations. See https://resurrectionproject.org/ChicagoFund/.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
The Chicago Public Schools’coronavirus (COVID-19) website is cps.edu/coronavirus.
Cook County’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website is https://cookcountyhealth.org/patients-visitors/coronavirus-information/.
The State of Illinois coronavirus (COVID-19) website is www2.illinois.gov/sites/coronavirus. For questions about coronavirus, call the Illinois Department of Public Health at (800) 889-3931 or email dph.sick.@illinois.gov.
Rush University Medical Center’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website is www.rushu.rush.edu/about/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-information. Rush also is offering on-demand video visits for people concerned they might be infected. Call (312) 942-7100.
The University of Illinois at Chicago’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website is today.uic.edu/frequently-asked-questions. UI Health’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website is https://hospital.uillinois.edu/news/covid-19.
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.
The Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers is launching the “#GiveBloodChallenge” for people to take a brief trip out to donate blood and post a photo (at least of your appointment time) and tag ten friends to do the same on social media during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has resulted in blood shortages. Contact Vitalant, www.vitalant.org, (877) 258-4835, to schedule a donation time (can be done online) and post a photo on social media with the hashtag #Give Blood Challenge. For more information, log on to www.illlinoisbloodcenters.com.
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.
Cook County and Sheriff Tom Dart’s office are suspending court-ordered evictions until further notice. Allen Hailey of the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, recommends that “renters still be responsive” to eviction notices so when “court proceedings resume they are not at risk of losing their housing.” The LCBH is located at 33 N. LaSalle St. Call (312) 347-7600 or log on to www.lcbh.org.
Annuity.org is a free web finance resource accredited by the Better Business Bureau. It has created a COVID-19 Financial Guide at annuity.org/financial-literacy/covid-19-financial-guide/ and an annuities guide at annuity.org/annuities.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository has a food pantry directory. Log on to chicagofoodbank.org and click on Find Food.
Meals on Wheels feeds homebound seniors and those with disabilities. Log on to www.mealsonwheelschicago.org.
Illinois SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients can now use their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards at Walmart.com and Amazon.com to order groceries online as part of a national pilot program. For more information visit: DHS.illinois.gov/OnlineSNAP.
The following food pantries provide groceries and meals to those who need them.
Chosen Tabernacle Full Gospel, 4310 S. Champlain Ave., Thursday, 1 to 3 p.m., (888) 834-9414.
Church of St. Paul and the Redeemer, 4945 S. Dorchester Ave., Wednesday, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., (773) 624-3185.
Hyde Park SDA Soup Kitchen, 4608 S. Drexel Blvd., Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., (773) 373-2909.
Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, 4242 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., (773) 548-7500.
Kenwood UCC Soup Kitchen, 4608 S. Greenwood Ave., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:30 to 10 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m., (773) 373-2861.
Operation Pull Grant Memorial, 4017 S. Drexel Blvd., Tuesday, 1 to 3 p.m., (773) 285-5819.
Food for healthcare workers
Frontline Foods is a non-profit organization created to organize meal deliveries from local restaurants and deliver them to healthcare workers who are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. In its first three weeks, Frontline Foods’ national program has raised over $1 million in tax-deductible donations and partnered with 126 restaurants to serve 22,371 meals in 42 hospitals. See https://www.frontlinefoods.org/.
The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago set up a fund to help victims of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. Log on to www.cct.org/chicago-community-covid-19-response-fund/, or call (312) 616-8000.
The Illinois Department of Human Services provides a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; adults with children under age 19 may qualify. See www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=49833.
Veterans homeless because of the coronavirus pandemic or other reasons should call the Veterans Administration at (877) 424-3838.
The National Immigrant Justice Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave., which provides comprehensive legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, continues to do intakes over the phone, according to Communications Coordinator Alejandra Oliva. The NIJC also has called for a moratorium on detentions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, since “COVAD is particularly dangerous in detention conditions,” Oliva added. Call (312) 660-1370 or log on to www.immigrantjustice.org.
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.
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 product 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 Chicago Public Schools is giving out free meals for any child in need, whether or not the child is a CPS student. They are available 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday outside CPS schools. Call (773) 553-5437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository can connect people to food pantries. Call (773) 247-3663.
Marillac St. Vincent has a homebound elderly program that delivers groceries to seniors at home. It also has a food pantry at 2859 W. Jackson Blvd. Call (773) 584-3265.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago offers support groups and other resources for individuals who may need help. Call (833) 626-4244 or visit www.namichicago.org.
The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health lists Chicago and Illinois mental health agencies and organizations on its website at http://www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org/resources/chicago-and-illinois-mental-health-agencies-and-organizations/. Log on to the website to find an agency or organization if fear of coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting your mental health.
Mortgage relief for apartment building owners
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are granting mortgage forbearance to owners of multifamily properties with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages in exchange for suspending evictions. See fhfa.gov.
To report price gouging to the Office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, log on to https://ccformsubmission.ilattorneygeneral.net/.
Programs for youngsters
The Chicago Park District has 18 locations for enhanced programs for youngsters while schools are closed. The location in this community is Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Ave. Call (312) 746-5086.
Holy Family/Notre Dame Parish,while Masses are suspended due to coronavirus (COVID-19) safety, will offer Sunday Masses on the parish Facebook page at 10 a.m. The house chapel at the parish office, 1335 W. Harrison St., will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for personal prayer. Email email@example.com for more information.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii offers virtual meditations. Log on to www.ourladyofpompeii.org/news/virtual-meditation/.
The City of Chicago has an emergency rental assistance program. Apply at the Garfield, Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave., (312) 746-5400; or King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave., (312) 747-2300, or call 311.
SNAP and Medicaid
The Greater Chicago Food Depository can help you obtain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits. Call (773) 843-5416.
#Solidarityat8 is a daily event at which people come out on balconies and porches at 8 p.m. to cheer and sing in support of essential workers. For more information, go to #Solidarityat8.
Criminals are employing many scams to cheat people during the coronavirus pandemic. There are several ways to spot a potential scam. No official agency will use the phrases “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official government term is “economic impact payment.” Do not sign over your economic impact payment 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 this will expedite your payment or enable you to cash your check.
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.
According to the City of Chicago, if you develop emergency warning signs for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if you are high-risk, get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; confusion and/or difficulty awakening; and/or bluish lips or face. If you do not have those warning signs but have a high-risk condition such as being pregnant, 60 or over, or existing medical or respiratory conditions, call your doctor to see if you need a test if you develop cold or flu symptoms. Others should merely self-isolate and monitor the situation, as symptoms may indicate only a typical cold or flu.
Both the Federal and State governments have extended the filing deadline for 2019 income tax returns to Wednesday, July 15.
University of Illinois Health patients who have been appropriately triaged through the nurse triage line at (866) 600-2273 and recommended to receive a coronavirus test can have an appointment scheduled at the Mile Square Health Center-Main or Pilsen Family Health Center Lower West. No walk-ins will be accepted. Walk-ins will be considered only at the University of Illinois Hospital Emergency Department from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for testing, only if presenting symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
The City announced eligibility expansion for people to get tested for the coronavirus at six City-run testing sites, and it encourages anyone who has had a recent high-risk exposure (including participation in protests) to get tested. Diagnostic testing is free for all Chicago residents. The sites are Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, Horizon Science Academy Southwest, Dr. Jorge Prieto Math & Science Academy, Kennedy-King College, Gately Park, and Columbus Park. The City gives the tests between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To learn more about the six sites and to register to get tested, log on to chi.gov/covidtesting.
Some theatres are streaming classes, plays, and other programming. See Hottix.org and Chicagoplays.com.
Season of Concern Chicago offers emergency assistance for members of the Chicago theatre community dealing with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection; proof of testing positive for the virus is required. See seasonofconcern.org.
TIF money for coronavirus needs
Interested persons can take these steps below to support the CivicLab campaigns to Abolish TIFs and Fund The People’s Response to COVID-19. CivicLab believes TIFs should be abolished to fund coronavirus-related 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.
Burst Into Books founder Jurema Gorham aims to provide local students with 150 hours of free online tutoring over the summer through her nonprofit, which promotes childhood literacy and will help them catch up after missing school due to the coronavirus. The program runs from Monday, July 6, through Sunday, Aug. 16. Log on to www.burstintobooks.org/.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security is working on unemployment benefits to those temporarily laid off because their employers have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), such as restaurants and bars; those without paid sick leave, and those in general unable to work because their jobs have been impacted. See www2.illinois.gov/ides or call (800) 244-5631.
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 long-term recovery of those impacted by the coronavirus crisis. See www.globalgiving.org/redbackpackfund/.