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State & Local Resources

Rent Assistance

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Emergency Rent Assistance

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Help with Water Bills

Charity Assistance

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Chicago Assistance Programs.

Find information below on some Chicago programs. A more extensive list of both Cook County and Lake County programs are also available to people in need.

Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP)
The EHAP assistance program provides grants to low-income homeowners in Chicago to help them repair roofs, heating units, and porches that are in serious disrepair. Rent assistance is also available. The EHAP program is a very effective way for low income homeowners to get needed help with home repairs.

Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF)
Provides free civil legal assistance and legal laid to tens of thousands of elderly as well as lower income families in Chicago and overall suburban Cook County.

For those Chicago and Cook County families and individuals that are elderly, low-income, or disabled, the free legal assistance is often crucial for those in need to protect their employment, protect their homes, their public benefits, or to protect their statuary or constitutional rights. Almost one million people in need, who are the most vulnerable residents of Cook County, are eligible for the free legal aid. Dial 312/341-1070

Utility bill assistance program - All Clear
This assistance program helps Chicago residents catch up on paying overdue heating or utility bills. Residents who less than $500 on their gas or utility bills can sign up for assistance from the All Clear program. These customers need to agree to pay half of the amount overdue on their energy bills. The Chicago Housing Authority and participating utility companies all agree to pay the other half of the bill. (312) 742-8500

Chicago rent assistance program

Chicago has nine Department of Human Services Centers (DHSC) and also additional emergency response operation centers. They help families with housing assistance, assist them with accessing public assistance programs, and find any other needed care. The DHSC can provide help with rent or security deposits to those who are at risk of losing their home, or if they are already homeless.





The help is paid out as only a one time benefit. They also offer a The Homeless Prevention Fund, which can provide additional utility bill assistance and rent aid to those Chicago residents who are on the brink of homelessness. The free cash grants that are provided are intended to keep people from losing their apartment or home.

Find additional help with rent from the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). The DFSS organization will give out to people in need a one-time grant of up to $900 to help pay for one month’s rent. The money provided is not a loan, and there are guidelines to the program. Additional information is available at your local DFSS office. However, some of the conditions include income guidelines, you must be able to pay the rent long term, and you will also need to work with a case manager for a limited period of time. This is meant to be short term help. Read more Chicago public assistance.

Utility, heating bill, and rent assistance

The government of Chicago funds and runs Community Service Centers throughout the city. These centers provide rent, housing, and utility help to residents. The Department of family and Support Services is the agency that administers the programs. More on Chicago government assistance programs.





Low income residents, seniors, elderly, and working poor who have unpaid water bills, or who need help paying future expenses, can receive help for paying water bills. Options include an emergency fund and a negotiated payment plan. More on water bill help in Chicago.

Low income, seniors, unemployed, and the disadvantages can receive crisis assistance from the Chicago Emergency Fund. This program can offer money to pay rent, heating bills, and other expenses. One of the key goals is to prevent evictions, foreclosures, and the resulting homelessness. The fund can usually provide assistance to the needy in short order.

Citywide financial assistance - Many agencies and non-profits, as well as government entities, work with DFSS in an effort to help qualified low income families. Assistance is offered to residents facing eviction or a disconnection of their power or electric service. Children and students can receive free meals for school or during summer breaks. For those Chicago individuals that are currently homeless, shelters and transitional housing services are available. Or get help in finding and retaining a job. A number of programs are available across the city. Click here.

Find free health care in Chicago

The Free Peoples Clinics. Receive medical and dental care at the The Free Peoples Clinics located at 1850 W. Garfield Boulevard. Appointments to receive both free dental, mental health and medical care can be made. Phone number is (773) 436-4758

CommunityHealth is a group that provides free, high quality health care. Patients need to be seen by appointment only. This free health center will help anyone who does not have health insurance (including Medicaid, Medicare, KidCare or any medical prescription cards) and if the patient is within income guidelines. (773) 395-9901

The Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act assists uninsured patients. Eligible patients whose medical bill exceeds $300 per day will see their medical bill lowered to no more than 35% above the hospital's government Medicare cost, which will be large savings for many.

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Illinois provides free cervical cancer and  mammogram screenings through this program. Some of the locations include Erie Family Health Center, Access Community Health Network, and The Asian Human Services.

Find additional ways to get free health care. Click here.





Chicago foreclosure and mortgage assistance

Freddie Mac has opened centers throughout Chicago that will provide city residents with resources and programs that can be used to prevent a foreclosure. They will also offer people with options, such as a loan modification, in order to help people get their housing situation back under control. Learn more.  Stop by one of the centers to learn more or apply for aid.

Find additional resources and programs for Chicago and the Cook County Illinois area.

Not for profit credit and housing counselors

One of the most effective options for people to turn to for help in getting out of debt are non-profit credit counseling agencies. They provide families and individuals across Chicago with a wide number of programs and services.

Programs offered can help individuals deal with credit card debts, home loans, medical debts, or even personal loans. They can help individuals get their interest rates reduced, waive fees, and mediate a solution with your creditors or mortgage servicer. The city has a couple dozen leading organizations. Some only offer a limited number of services, while others are more wide ranging. Find more details on the Chicago credit counseling organizations.

Foreclosure prevention in Chicago

If you are struggling with your mortgage payments or facing a foreclosure, the Neighborhood Housing Service of Chicago is a nonprofit organization that may be able to help. The organization was established in 1975. The groups has several different items and issues they focus on. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Inc. (NHS) is working hard at offering Chicago families and individuals a wide variety of housing resources. They can be reached at 773-329-4010 by phone.

They offer residents programs and affordable resources so that people can buy, maintain, and sustain their homes. By sustain, that means keep up with their mortgage, and stop a foreclosure if the homeowner is facing one. The group partners with residents, neighborhood organizations, block clubs, banks and other financial institutions, the City of Chicago, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, corporations and foundations so that families can protect and preserve their single biggest investment — their homes.

Neighborhood Housing Services is also a member of the NeighborWorks America network. Hundreds of organizations are part of the network, and they are working to revitalize communities, save homes, and offer homeowners with affordable mortgage financing and counseling resources.

Other non-profit organizations in Chicago offer homeowners with foreclosure prevention programs and housing resources. Get access to counselors, information on mortgage programs, and other resources. Click here for more information.





Find information on more Cook County and Lake County assistance programs.


By Jon McNamara

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