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Help with rent and security deposits in Chicago.

Find how to get emergency rental assistance as well as other housing resources in Chicago and throughout Cook County. There are a number of charities, government programs, and churches that help low income tenants, the homeless, elderly, and disabled among others. Everything from free grants to pay back rent as well as security deposit help, free motel vouchers, legal aid and Chicago Department of Family and Support Services are available to stop homelessness.

Charities, churches and government agencies are listed below. They too can offer either emergency rental assistance, security deposit help or legal aid.

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services housing assistance programs

The government of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services runs several centers around the city that administer rent, housing, utility, and other financial aid resources to the needy in the area. The addresses and phone numbers are below. A wide variety of services are offered from the Community Service Centers as well as these charities, churches, or non-profits. The programs they administer include everything from financial assistance to grants for paying rent or security deposits, and also resources that provide other services, such as referrals.

Call or stop by a center for free food or clothing, shelter, job training or placement, and career counseling. Some of the financial assistance programs administered include funds for rental, utility and heating bills, and other types of housing as well as security deposit assistance programs. The goal is to help solve the immediate crisis and place the family on a path for long term success.

Not only can an individual or family stop by for assistance with those expenses, but the Chicago Community Service Centers also serve as cooling and warming centers during the cold winter months and hot summer. They focus on helping seniors and the homeless stay safe while an application for rental or financial assistance goes through. Or they help fill the need if the individuals’ housing is not adequate.




If you need rent help or want to learn more information on other grant or loan programs, call or stop by a government funded center or non-profit agency. Potential applicants will need to meet with a counselor and participate in an initial assessment to identify their specific needs and type of emergency.

After this initial interview and consultation with a Family and Support Services case worker, some basic services can be immediately provided to the applicant. This ranges from money to pay rent to free legal aid, rehousing, and much more. If after this interview it is determined that the applicant has multiple or complex needs or issues then they will be assigned a government case worker from the Community Service Centers.

Department of Family and Support Services have extensive information on where people can go to for help with such needs as rent, utility and heating bills, and much more. They will also help individuals set personal goals, develop budgets around their housing needs and create plans to achieve them. They will also ensure ensure the clients stays on track. A case worker can refer clients to specialized services and financial aid programs in the community as well as their local Chicago neighborhood.

A number of other assistance programs are provided by the Department of Family and Support Services offices. They can help with other basic needs and provide financial aid for bills in a crisis situation. Case management and referrals are provided to, and get more information on Department of Family and Support Services programs.





Locations of government run Community Service Centers in Chicago

The centers and programs noted below offer low to moderate income families and individuals a large number of assistance programs. There are also services for more vulnerable residents in Cook County, such as the elderly, disabled, or single moms. Applicants come from all backgrounds.

As an example of the assistance available, get help with paying rent or access free food. Or when faced with an disconnection, get emergency financial assistance with paying expenses such as heating and utility bills. People can also access job programs and placement services. Basically the centers take a holistic approach to solving a residents problems, no matter the issue.

  • South Chicago, 8650 S. Commercial Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60617. Phone number - 312-747-0500
  • Englewood Center. Address - 845 W. 69th Street, Chicago, IL 60621. For applications or details, dial 312-747-0200
  • Garfield Center is at 10 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL 60612. Number - 312-746-5400
  • King Center. Address of center - 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60653. Dial 312-747-2300 for information.
  • North Area, 4740 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60640. Dial - 312-744-2580
  • Trina Davila, 4357 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60639. Phone number - 312-744-2014

Government affiliated law firms

Families facing eviction or the currently homeless may qualify for help from pro-bono law firms, free legal aid, or local volunteer attorneys. Some of these Cook County as well as city of Chicago based locations may be partly funded by government grants. They may have referrals to emergency, deferred loans for paying rent, transitional housing programs, or eviction prevention services.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless can be reached at 312.641.4141 or 800.940.1119. Learn about shelters, resources for paying security deposits or first months rent, and other self-sufficiency services.

Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, dial 312.341.1070

Additional rental assistance and housing programs

The Inner Voice - The non-profit provides information on various rental assistance programs as well as housing units. In some cases, they may directly offer financial aid to income qualified Cook County and/or Chicago families. When this is available, grants may be issued to pay rent to prevent an eviction, or the homeless can apply for help with a security deposit fee.

Other resources include Supportive Housing, shelters, and support for veterans and the elderly. Some clients may receive a loan for the rental payment, and it will need to be repaid. Any financial aid offered by inner Voice will also usually require the participate attend case management. Call (312) 994-5830 for information or referrals.







Salvation Army Family Services
There are several around the county and city of Chicago. Family Services is where the financial help comes from. This may be for back rent, utilities, depots and more. There are also free motel vouchers, transitional housing programs, as well as homeless shelters in addition to emergency, one time rent help. More on rent assistance from Salvation Army Chicago.

City of Chicago and Department of Planning and Development works to develop affordable housing, with in public and private sector. As part of this, there may be information on income subsidized housing, rent or deposit help, section 8 and more. The main office is at 1615 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60622. Call (312) 743-0300

Teen Living Programs is for youth only. It can be teenagers or any age, and the goal of the non-profit is to get youth off the streets of Chicago into a permanent, affordable home or income subsided apartment. Or transitional unit. As part of this, financial aid for rent or moving costs, utilities, and more is offered as well as job programs. The office is at 180 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60640. There are other resources for youth as well, including pregnant teens. Call (312) 568-5700.

Lawyers Committee For Better Housing give free advice in housing court and address other low income needs. They try to stop evictions, ensure fair and equal access to affordable housing, including for immigrants and minorities. Free lawyers offer various services across Cook County. Call (312) 347-7600 to reach LCBH legal staff. Or the address is 33 North LaSalle, Chicago, IL 60602.

SVDP of Cook County has multiple parishes, with the main Society of St. Vincent de Paul at 10525 Delta Parkway, Chicago, IL 60176. The Society of St Vincent De Paul Archdiocese of Chicago is a volunteer driven organization. Get emergency rent help, hotel or motel vouchers, free furniture, utility or security deposit help and more. Call (773) 779-6700.

Emergency Fund is a free government grant service run from 651 W Washington, Chicago, IL 60604. Programs range from homeless shelters to food, rent or utility help to stop evictions, mediations and more. A number of volunteers are part of the government affiliated charity. Dial (312) 379-0301.

Veterans in Cook County and Chicago can get help. There are multiple charities that offer housing, rent assistance, eviction prevention aid, moving cost services and more.

  • VACC, or the The Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County, helps veterans and their families. Rent help, furniture, grants, information on VA benefits, and so much more is offered. The office is at 1100 S. Hamilton, Chicago, IL 60612. Call (312) 433-6010.
  • Volunteers of America of Illinois is another. The address is 47 West Polk Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Phone (312) 564-2300.

Chicago Chesed Fund - Lincolnwood area only
7045 N. Ridgeway
Lincolnwood, Illinois
Main number is 847-679-7799
Housing assistance for Lincolnwood families
only includes referrals to free legal aid to help fight evictions. Grants for rent, security deposits, or mortgages. There is also free furniture, emergency loans (which can be for bills or rent) and more.

Chicago Housing Authority Central Office
60 E Van Buren St #12
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone - 312-742-8500
This is the public housing authority (PHA) for the city. They operate public housing, section 8 vouchers (HCV) for rent subsidized apartments, Family Self-Sufficiency and other resources. There are also emergency section 8 vouchers, leasing resources and social services.





Catholic Charities Of The Archdiocese Of Chicago
There are multiple locations in the city and Cook County.
Phone: (312) 655-7700
Clients of the church range from the homeless to Spanish speakers and working poor. Many services are available, including some from the church that focus on helping with rental arrears, permanent apartment/home placement for seniors and others. There is also tenant counseling, free furniture and much more.

Community Action Agency of Cook County offers counseling only to tenants facing eviction. Call (312) 782-2332. However veterans may apply for transitional housing, which can lead to the possibility of future financial aid for moving expenses, first months rent, or other costs for a new apartment.

Homelessness Prevention Call Center - This is a regional service operated by non-profits and organizations such as All Chicago. Programs include grants in a crisis for paying overdue rental costs, rapid-rehousing (which can assist with security deposits and housing placement), and referrals. There is also rental assistance for veterans, single parents, and other vulnerable residents. Call toll free 1.877.426.6515, or find more details on eviction prevention in Chicago and Cook County.

By Jon McNamara

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