Respond Now assistance programs in southern Chicago.

Supporting a number of neighborhoods in Chicago, the non-profit Respond Now provides help to the working poor and low income. Assistance available ranges from free food and emergency funds for expenses such as rent, heating bills and security deposits to items such as school supplies. More information on the resources offered is below.

The programs are only focused on certain towns and areas in Chicago Illinois, and they include the following. Residents of Beecher, University Park, Chicago Heights, Steger, Country Club Hills, Calumet City, Peotone, Crete, Flossmoor Ford Heights, Thornton, Olympia Fields, Sauk Village South Chicago Heights, Glenwood, Homewood, Lansing, Lynwood, Matteson Monee, Park Forest, and Richton Park can call on the agency. All resources are limited.

In the past, Respond Now has helped dozens of families pay the rent in order to stop an eviction, provided thousands of households with food, distributed free school supplies to children, and provided a ride to work or an interview. Volunteers provids many of these services, and also help raise money from the greater Cook County community.

One focus is on homeless and eviction prevention. As funding allows, there will be limited utility, rent, and mortgage assistance. All clients need a referral to this service, and they can dial the Homeless Prevention Call Center at 877.426.6515 for intake and an interview. Tenants may be able to take part in landlord and tenant mediation, and there is also foreclosure counseling offered too.

In some cases, emergency shelter and lodging is available, in particular during the winter or for people impacted by a disaster such as a fire. There may be housing and financial support for single moms and other at risk individuals too, such as seniors. This can leading to other temporary solutions as well, such as transitional housing.

A food pantry from Respond Now is operated as a client choice facility. Based on donations, there may be free vegetables, fruits, milk, protein, grains, and dairy items. A garden also allows people to grow foods and perishable items. Case managers from Respond Now also help the poor apply for government food stamps through the federal government SNAP Outreach program.




Free prescription vouchers are offered to the very low income or uninsured. The support is for clients who have little income or savings. Medical care is also targeted at those with no insurance coverage and that may urgently need prescription medication. Also, staff from Respond Now help clients in accessing insurance coverage through the Medicaid Expansion and also the federal Affordable Care Act.

Donations are always needed. This can include food or clothing, as the organization is striving to end hunger for seniors and other struggling residents of south suburban Cook County. Contribute non-perishable food items, groceries, formula, and more to keep the food pantries stocked. Other non-food items needed include clothing, care items, holiday toys and household items. Respond Now will ensure anything contributed will only go to qualified people from the Southland of Chicago area.

In an emergency, Respond Now can offer clients various social services. In addition to the resources above, other aid can include prescription medications, free motel vouchers, clothing, and more. However the focus will also be on housing, and trying to prevent homelessness in the Chicago neighbors supported. If Respond Now doesn’t have enough financial aid for say a rent payment, then arrangements can be made for low interest loans in some cases.

They also partner with other groups such as United Way as well as the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In fact, some of these other groups help provide funds to keep their programs operational.




Since resources are limited, referrals are offered. For other Homelessness Prevention assistance in Cook County or Chicago, people can dial 877.426.6515. There are programs for homeowners behind on their mortgages, and they can call 1-855-KEEP-411. Or other nutritional needs and food can be found be dialing 708.754.4357. So the bottom line is that Respond Now will offer aid if they can, or referrals if they can’t, and they have information on other services as well such as job training and more.

There are two main offices, and they include 1439 Emerald Avenue, Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411 as well as the Sauk Village Food Pantry which is at 21701 Torrence Avenue, Sauk Village, IL 60411. In either case, call 708.755.4357 for referrals and information.


By Jon McNamara

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