Like organizations across the city, the Weekly is working hard to adapt to the swiftly changing conditions of life during the COVID-19 pandemic and to use our platform in a way that best serves our readers. Our print edition will likely be suspended, but we will be publishing stories online on a rolling basis for the duration of this crisis and regularly updating the resource guide below. Here, we are collecting items of particular relevance to South Siders, including information about unemployment benefits, public health, elder care, emergency food assistance, housing and tenants rights, and more. We will update this guide on a regular basis. If you or your community organization has information to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “RESOURCE GUIDE” in the subject line of your message.
We don’t know how long this will last, but we will be here for you and for each other.
Table of Contents
- For everyone
- For artists
- For people with asthma
- For people dealing with debt
- For the Chinese American community
- For the disability community
- For domestic violence survivors
- For domestic workers
- For hospitality workers
- For incarcerated people and their loved ones
- For undocumented people
State of Illinois: Visit coronavirus.illinois.gov for information for individuals and small businesses on the state’s COVID-19 response, what you can do to prepare and to reduce exposure to the novel coronavirus, FAQs about unemployment benefits, and more. For information about how you, your school, workplace, and community can prepare, you can also visit the CDC’s webpage Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. For general questions about COVID-19, you can call the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV. The hotline does not assist residents with getting tested.
The State of Illinois’s Serve Illinois website has launched a Disaster Volunteerism resource for healthy persons seeking to volunteer in their community. It includes information on ways to help through blood donation, care for seniors, food pantry assistance, and more.
City of Chicago: For updates on COVID-19 in the city, see the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 website, follow @ChicagoPublicHealth on Facebook, or follow @ChiPublicHealth on Twitter. The City’s website in particular now includes its own list of resources. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady answers questions from the public daily at 11am via the livestream “The Doc is In: Ask Dr. Arwady,” available on both Facebook and Twitter.
City of Chicago Community Service Centers on the South Side
- Englewood Community Service Center: 1140 West 79th St., (312) 747-0200. Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. Only five people admitted to the building at a time.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Center: 4314 South Cottage Grove, (312) 747-2300. Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. Services are limited, and those that come in should arrive before 3pm.
- South Chicago Community Service Center: 8650 South Commercial Ave., (312)-747-0500. Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. Services are limited. Not accepting walk-ins; no public restrooms or computers available.
Cook County: The county is now running phone and email hotlines to answer residents’ questions about COVID-19. Call (708) 633-3319 Monday through Friday, 9am–4pm, to talk to a health professional, or email email@example.com. The county is also launching a general text message alert system, which you can join by texting alertcook to 888-777.
If you think you might have COVID-19, the city has a flowchart about what to do halfway down its COVID-19 website homepage. Block Club Chicago has a summary of what to do if you think you’re sick and how to protect yourself, and the Chicago Tribune has posed frequently asked questions to physicians. The Illinois Department of Public Health has more detailed guidance on its website. UI Health (University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System) offers detailed information and frequently asked questions about COVID-19 symptoms, how to get tested, and other advice. If you have symptoms, you should not go to a hospital or physician without calling first. For medical emergencies, call 911, and notify the person who picks up that you may have COVID-19 when explaining your emergency.
You can find all of the South Side Weekly’s articles related to COVID-19 at this link. So far, we’ve published a look into how South Side food pantries are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, an explanation of who is eligible for coronavirus-related unemployment benefits in Illinois, and a Q&A on coronavirus basics with University of Chicago senior biosafety officer Allen Helm. You can help inform the Weekly’s coverage by submitting questions or suggestions through this quick form.
The Tribune and Sun-Times both have pages dedicated to coronavirus coverage, and the Reader published a coronavirus-focused issue on March 19 (the Reader’s coverage is collected here and here). All three are also tracking closures and cancellations. Block Club Chicago, the Hyde Park Herald, Windy City Times, La Raza, WBEZ, and many other nonprofit or community news organizations are also covering the novel coronavirus and may have information particularly relevant to your community. All the publications that are noted here are either already free to read or have removed the paywalls on their most important coronavirus coverage (as many national publications have as well) to make it accessible for free.
The McKinley Park News has established the McKinley Park Support Network message boards, a free discussion forum to facilitate requesting, offering, and coordinating COVID-19 pandemic support for the neighborhood, and sharing information and resources.
The Chicago Reporter has published a county-by-county coronavirus tracker for the state of Illinois that is updated daily.
Injustice Watch has published a tracker of coronavirus infections in the Cook County Jail and other reporting on how the pandemic is affecting the courts and people in jail and prison in Illinois.
Free and Income-Based Clinics on the South Side
During the coronavirus crisis, if you develop serious symptoms you suspect are related to COVID-19—fever, cough, shortness of breath— or need medical attention for other reasons, it’s best to call your physician if you have one you trust. In the event that you are uninsured or underinsured, you still have options for seeking care. The following clinics offer free or low-cost medical screening or urgent care. For medical emergencies, call 911.
- Access Ashland Family Health Center: 5159 S. Ashland Ave. (773) 434-9216. Open Monday–Friday, 8am–6pm; Saturday, 8am–4:30pm. Closed Sunday.
- Cottage View Health Center: 4829 S. Cottage Grove Ave. (773) 548-1170. Open Monday–Friday, 8am–5pm. Closed weekends. By appointment only; no walk ins.
- IMAN Community Health Center: 2744 W 63rd St. (773) 434-4626. Open Monday–Tuesday, 9am–5pm; Wednesday, 10am–7pm; Thursday–Friday, 9am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–3pm. Closed weekends.
- Clinicians are working from home, and consultations are done by phone.
- Port Ministries Free Clinic: 5013 S Hermitage Ave. firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 778-5955. Open Tuesday, 6pm–8pm.
- Alivio Medical Center: 966 W. 21st St. y 2355 S. Western Ave. (312) 850-8238. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:30am–5:30pm; Wednesday, 1pm–8pm; Saturday, 8:30am–12:30pm. Se habla español.
- Esperanza Health Centers: 2001 S. California Ave.; 3059 W. 26th St.; 4700 S. California Ave.; 6550 S. Richmond St. (773) 584-6200. Open Monday–Friday, 7:15am–6:30pm. Se habla español.
- Lawndale Christian Health Center main clinic: 3860 W. Ogden Ave. (872) 588-3000. Open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 8:30am–9pm; Wednesday and Friday, 8:30am–5pm; Saturday, 8am–12:30pm. Urgent care clinic and pharmacy: 3910 W. Ogden Ave. (872) 588-3250. Open Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm. Other clinics: 3517 W. Arthington St. (872) 588-3510. Open Monday and Tuesday, 8:45–9pm, and Wednesday–Friday, 8:45am–5pm; 3256 W. 24th St. (872) 588-3540. Open Monday, 8:45am–9pm, Tuesday–Friday, 8:45am–5pm; 5122 S. Archer. (872) 588-3560. Open Monday, 8:15am–9pm, Tuesday–Friday, 8:45am–5pm. Se habla español.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has published an interactive map of all of the health clinics in the state of Illinois that are available for anyone regardless of immigration status.
Note: the free clinics in Bridgeport, West Town, and Washington Park run by the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine are currently closed and will not reopen until April 15 at the earliest.
Pharmacies that Offer Delivery
The following pharmacies offer delivery of prescription medications; some on the list also deliver over-the-counter supplies (although most require a prescription for delivery). Most require a few days’ notice to schedule deliveries.
Back of the Yards: 47th Street Pharmacy, 1837 W. 47th St. (773) 847-6160. Delivery of prescription medications as well as over-the-counter supplies.
Beverly: Walgreens, 2345 W. 103rd St. (773) 429-0767. Delivery via Walgreens Express.
Bridgeport: Bridgeport Pharmacy, 3201 S. Wallace St. (312) 791-9000. Delivery of prescription medications to patients.
Chatham: Walgreens, 8628 S. Cottage Grove Ave. (773) 651-8500. Delivery via Walgreens Express.
East Side: Cornerstone Pharmacy, 10555 S. Ewing Ave. (773) 902-2356. Delivery of prescription medications to patients.
Gage Park/West Elsdon: Elsdon Medical Pharmacy, 4254 W. 55th St. (773) 582-2660. Delivery of prescription medications to patients. Walgreens, 4000 W. 59th St. (773) 581-2345. Delivery via Walgreens Express
Hyde Park/Kenwood: Katsaros Pharmacy, 1521 E. 53rd St. (773) 288-8700. Delivery of prescription medications as well as over-the-counter supplies. Walgreens, 1554 E. 55th St. (773) 667-1177. Delivery via Walgreens Express.
Morgan Park: Drexler Pharmacy, 10830 S. Halsted St. (773) 468-0223. Delivery of prescription medications to patients.
South Shore: Walgreens, 7109 S. Jeffery Blvd. (773) 324-1880. Delivery via Walgreens Express.
Community Group Efforts
Brave Space Alliance is operating a crisis food pantry and increasing efforts to help people apply for unemployment benefits, in addition to maintaining as much of its regular programming for queer and trans South Siders as possible. See the Food section below for more details on the delivery-based food pantry.
The Gage Park Latinx Council, along with organizers from Pilsen and Archer Heights, has launched a mutual aid fund for undocumented families on Chicago’s Southwest Side
Good Kids Mad City, a youth-led group working against violence and for resources for their communities, is delivering groceries on the South and West Sides. Their form to request grocery deliveries is currently closed, but may reopen once current requests are filled and as they are able to collect more donations to pay for groceries—keep an eye on the form and their Twitter.
I Grow Chicago, a nonprofit that works with Englewood residents to build community and provide a wide range of healing and food access-related resources, is providing care packages and virtual support to elders and families in its area, including food and cleaning supplies, check-in calls, and homework help. They’re seeking donations and supplies to keep the effort going.
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) team members will be making themselves available to check in on elders, go to grocery stores for those who cannot, take community members to doctors’ appointments, etc., and have compiled lists of information and resources. (You can read LVEJO’s announcement with details in English or in Spanish.)
Mothers Against Senseless Killings has opened a community school for children in Englewood and neighboring communities after working hard to finish converting shipping containers into classrooms in time for the closure of Chicago Public Schools. According to Block Club Chicago, classes are held Monday through Friday, 9am–3pm, taught by volunteers, and breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided. No more than 10 people will be in a room, following current CDC guidelines. MASK is asking for donations (particularly sterilization supplies) for the “catastrophe camp,” which will feed kids and help “fill the void of the education experiences that will be lost” during the school closure. MASK is also asking for donations or loans of internet-capable devices for families with school-aged children to use while schools are closed.
My Block, My Hood, My City, which provides exploration and direct action opportunities for youth from under-resourced communities, is accepting requests (and donations and volunteers) for deliveries of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to seniors.
Pilsen Solidarity Network is a mutual aid collective of Pilsen residents responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group is currently accepting requests for grocery and supply deliveries, with the option of financial support for the cost raised from donations (form in English; form in Spanish), and hopes to expand to help with caregiving, mental health support, and other errands. If you would like to volunteer or you run a restaurant that can donate goods, email email@example.com.
Tenants United of Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore has launched a sign-up form to build a local community relief network. On Twitter, the organization says they are prepared to help South Siders who have been laid off and/or can’t pay rent—likely by supporting demands for rent suspensions.
Flood’s Hall, a Hyde Park volunteer-run nonprofit, has launched a zero-interest, emergency loan program in response to COVID-19. “The pandemic caught us all by surprise, and the reality is that most Americans have trouble covering an unexpected expense of $400,” said co-founder Natalie Wright. “Government money can be slow-moving and involve complicated red tape—our community needs to fund itself now.” The group aims to provide short-term, interest-free loans of $200–$400 to address immediate needs and protect neighbors from predatory lenders. See floodshall.org/emergency-loan to request or sponsor a loan.
To find a nearby food pantry, soup kitchen, shelter, or food distribution center in the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s network, go to the GCFD’s “Find Food” page and plug in your address, intersection, or zip code. Hours may change, so make sure to call before you go. The GCFD’s benefits outreach team is also available by phone to help with applications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits. Note: changes to SNAP eligibility that were to have taken effect April 1 have been put on hold for the duration of this public health emergency.
As of March 31, all Chicago Public Schools are scheduled to remain closed through April 30. CPS families can pick up free boxes of food containing three days of breakfast and lunch for every student in their household at the nearest CPS building, regardless of which school the students attend, for the duration of the closure. Pickups are available between 9am and 1pm, Monday through Friday.
Some select South Side supplemental food resources include:
- Brave Space Alliance (1515 E. 52nd Pl.): This Black-led, trans-led LBGTQ center is running a crisis food pantry for queer and trans folks on the South Side (read more about it, and their other services, in this Block Club Chicago article). You can request to have food or other supplies dropped off at your door through this form. (You can also donate or volunteer to help with the pantry through this form.)
- Centro Comunitario Juan Diego (8812 S. Commercial Ave.): This nonprofit community center has had to suspend most of its programs, but its food pantry remains open. Open Friday, 9am–2pm. Se habla español.
- Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church (Fellowship Hall, 7901 S. Stony Island Ave.): Open Wednesday, 11am–1pm.
- The Hyde Park Kenwood Food Pantry (Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave.—enter by the side door at 1169 E. 56th St.): This food pantry usually serves anyone who lives between 39th St. and 63rd St. and between Cottage Grove and Lake Michigan, or in the section of the 60615 zip code that extends west of Cottage Grove. However, the pantry guarantees service on a person’s first visit and has also eased service area guidelines due to the COVID-19 crisis. Open Saturday, 10am–1pm.
- Our Lady Gate of Heaven Church (2338 E. 99th St.): Open Saturday, March 28.
- Southeast Side of Chicago Food Pantry (11401 S. Green Bay Ave.): This food pantry serves people who live in the 60617 and 60633 zip codes. New clients must register, so bring an ID and a utility bill. Open Wednesday, 1pm–3pm; 3rd Fridays (upcoming: Friday, March 20), 9:30am–11:30am. Se habla español.
- St. Paul and the Redeemer Food Pantry (4945 S. Dorchester Ave.): The food pantry at this Episcopal church, which describes itself as being “woven of different races, economic statuses, cultural backgrounds, faith backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations,” serves anyone who lives between 35th St. and 63rd St. and between Cottage Grove Ave. and Lake Michigan. Open Wednesday, 3:30pm–5:30pm.
- Casa Catalina Basic Human Needs Center (4537 S. Ashland Ave.): Catholic Charities food pantry serving Back of the Yards and surrounding neighborhoods since 1990. Currently open and distributing prepacked bags of food; requesting donations of frozen meat and nonperishable food items. No clothing please. Open Tuesday, 9:30am–11:30am, 1pm–2:30pm; Wednesday, 1pm–5pm; Thursday, 9:30am–2:30pm. Se habla español.
- Su Casa/Central American Martyrs Center (5045 S. Laflin): The Su Casa Catholic Worker House offers shelter and community to families experiencing homelessness and/or domestic violence. Requesting donations of shampoo, toilet paper, and disposable diapers; no clothing donations accepted. Adjacent Frieda’s Place soup kitchen and pantry (1434 W. 51st St.) is serving meals to go on Tuesday, 9–10am, and Thursday, 10 am–noon; the pantry distributes groceries on Sunday, 10am–noon. Se habla español.
- Trinity Resurrection United Church (9046 S. Mackinaw Ave.): Open Wednesday, 8:30am–10:30am.
- UI Health Pilsen Food Pantry (1850 S. Throop St.): Open Monday–Friday, 10am–1:30pm. Se habla español.
- Amor De Dios Food Pantry (2356 S. Sawyer Ave.): The Little Village food pantry is the largest in the West Side and is managed by a United Methodist Church which has a motto of “open hearts, open minds, open doors.” New clients must register, so bring an ID, utility bill, or piece of mail. Open Thursday, 3pm–7pm. Se habla español.
- Immaculate Conception Food Pantry (2745 W. 44th St.): Food pantry in a popular Catholic Church in Brighton Park. Open Friday, 4pm–6pm; Saturday, 10am–12pm. Se habla español.
If you do have money to spare on food, check out Dining at a Distance: This aggregator of restaurants open for pick-up or delivery definitely doesn’t include every restaurant that’s open on the South Side, but it includes at least 250 South Side restaurants and counting. You can submit more restaurants to the list here.
In addition, the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of its member restaurants and bakeries that are serving carry-out or delivery. Economic Strategies Development Corporation (ESDC) in Pilsen has similarly compiled a list of Pilsen restaurants available for takeout or delivery, with more restaurants chiming in that they’re open in the comments. The Little Village Chamber of Commerce also posted close to one hundred restaurants doing carry-out and pick-up. And the South Shore Chamber of Commerce has compiled this “Eat Local” list of neighborhood restaurants offering curbside service, carry-out, and delivery service.
Closed Loop Farms at The Plant has launched an online store to bring the farmers’ market to your door, offering home delivery of local food products made and grown in Back of the Yards at The Plant and beyond. In addition to Closed Loop, which grows microgreens, participating businesses currently include Mint Creek Farm (beef, turkey), Timberfeast (duck), Bike a Bee (honey), Tuanis Chocolate, Xoca (fruit sodas), Pleasant House Pub (savory pies), Kombuchade (kombucha), and First Curve Apothecary (tinctures). Orders are handled by a team well-versed in safe food handling practices; direct delivery without need for a third-party service adds reassurance that orders are safely fulfilled.
The Urban Canopy, an urban farm in Englewood, has launched a weekly delivery service of local and non-local produce, plus other groceries from local purveyors such as coffee from Pleasant House and beer from Hopewell Brewing. An extension of UC’s popular Local Unified Community Supported Agriculture (LUCSA) service, shares are $40 or $60, depending on income. You can also add on a donation to help fund a share for someone who can’t afford it, and support UC crew members who need to take time off. Registration opens weekly on Fridays. Check the site for more information.
The Chicago Farmers Market Collective has collected information on various other online farmers markets offering delivery of local produce and other foods, including the McKinley Park Farmers Market, the Plant Chicago Farmers Market, and (here at the Weekly’s Experimental Station home base) the 61st Street Farmers Market.
The University of Chicago is launching a meal delivery program in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Meals prepared in on-campus dining facilities will be delivered to various sites in Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn through June 12. Residents should visit coronavirusupdates.uchicago.edu/community-support for a list of sites at which the meals prepared by the University will be distributed, or check with their alderman’s office or local community organization.
As of March 30, CPS will begin remote learning on April 13, with plans to distribute electronic devices for digital learning and to find non-digital ways to share learning materials as well. For now, Chicago Public Schools has provided an FAQ page and packets of enrichment learning resources for every grade level, as well as suggestions for activities to stay active at home. Families can pick up food for children who are Chicago Public Schools students for free; see the Food section for more details.
Also, a dedicated helpline has been created so Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) can help connect essential worker families to emergency child care. Call toll-free at (888) 228-1146. The helpline will be available from 9am–3pm Monday through Friday to answer calls, but callers will be able to leave a message any time of day or night.
Sittercity’s “Chicago Responds” program, launched in partnership with the City of Chicago, connects members of the public and public-sector employees with first responders who are looking for volunteers to provide childcare in their homes. The program gives all Chicago parents working as first responders free access to Sittercity Premium for three months. If you’d like to donate your time as a sitter, or if you’re a first responder who’d like to get access to Sittercity Premium, you can sign up at sittercity.com/chicagoresponds.
Chicago Healthy Adolescents & Teens (CHAT), a program supported by the Chicago Department of Public Health and highlighted on the city’s resource page, has extensive information and resources on sexual health, identity, and health-related rights online.
The ARK of St. Sabina, 7800 S. Racine Ave., is open Monday through Friday, 9am–7pm, to serve youth whose parents have no other means of childcare. A light breakfast and lunch are provided. For more information, call (773) 483-4333 or (773) 483-4300 (St. Sabina Church).
Unemployment and Sick Leave
- Check out our story explaining unemployment benefits related to the spread of COVID-19. Senior editor Emeline Posner explains how to figure out if you’re eligible and how to apply, as well as pointing out two places to go for help: Brave Space Alliance ((773) 333-5199), offers virtual assistance for those applying for unemployment and other benefits, and the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services remains open and available as a resource 9am–5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 11am–7pm Wednesday, at its South and West Side locations in South Chicago (8650 S. Commercial Ave.), Englewood (1140 W. 79th St.), Bronzeville (4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.), and Garfield Park (10 S. Kedzie Ave.). Immigrants with DACA or a work permit can apply. Unemployment benefits do not count as a “public charge.”
- Legal Aid Chicago, which provides free legal assistance in civil cases to Cook County residents living in poverty, has compiled an FAQ on paid sick leave. People who work for a Chicago or Cook County employer may be eligible for paid sick leave under the Chicago Paid Sick Leave and Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinances.
- No court orders for eviction or foreclosure will be entered through April 15.
- The City of Chicago announced on March 27 the creation of the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant program, which will give one-time grants of $1,000 for rent relief to two thousand Chicagoans, with the intent to distribute them by mid-April. One thousand of the grants will be distributed by lottery; people must apply by Wednesday, April 1, to be eligible. The rest will be distributed through nonprofit community organizations. Applicants for the grant lottery must show documentation of a changed employment situation (which can include reduced hours) and of their household making no more than 60% of the area median income. Undocumented Chicagoans are eligible (the application does not ask about citizenship status), and the Department of Housing says the emergency grant would not count as a public charge. The application form is available in English, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, and Arabic.
- The City of Chicago’s Emergency Rental Assistance program can help pay rent for households at immediate risk of homelessness due to a temporary economic crisis.
- ShelterList provides a directory of Chicago shelters for the homeless, though it does not appear to have information about how the shelters are responding to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- The Metropolitan Tenants Organization crisis hotline is open; call (773) 292-4988 for help with housing-related legal issues.
Utilities and City Debt
Chicago’s COVID-19 website includes brief information about payment/debt relief. Here are the details:
- Utility bills for Chicago residents are now due April 30 (though a more permanent utility relief program has been put on hold). ComEd has announced it is suspending electricity disconnections due to unpaid bills and waiving late charges through at least May 1. Peoples Gas has an existing moratorium on service disconnections in winter, but it is also waiving late charges through May 1.
- Water shutoffs due to unpaid bills were stopped in Chicago last year after an APM Reports investigation of rising water rates.
- Comcast is offering new customers in its service areas sixty days of free Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to qualified low-income households for $9.95/month, and increasing the Internet speed of the service going forward. Along with many other nationwide telecom companies, Comcast will also not disconnect internet service or charge late fees until mid-May, though customers may need to contact the company to say they can’t pay their bills at this time.
- The City of Chicago will stop all debt collection (including pausing late fees and stopping interest from accruing),
- booting, and impounding, except for public safety issues, through at least April 30. Mayor Lori Lightfoot had announced on March 18 that ticketing would be limited to public safety issues as well, but after Chicagoans were ticketed anyway, Lightfoot’s administration clarified to Block Club Chicago on March 24 that “there are no plans to suspend issuing tickets for expired meters.” City sticker and expired license plate violations should still not be ticketed until April 30.
- Chicago Volunteer Legal Services has closed its office through March 30, but staff are available via phone to provide pro bono legal help with issues ranging from child support and landlord-tenant disputes to how to write a will. Call (312) 332-1624 or fill out the form on their website. CVLS also offers direction to other legal resources here.
- The Metropolitan Tenants Organization crisis hotline is open; call (773) 292-4988 for help with housing-related legal issues.
Arts & Culture
- Build Coffee at the Experimental Station has launched an online store through the nascent Bookshop initiative; the site features recommendations from Experimental Station neighbors Blackstone Bikes and the Invisible Institute, as well as yours truly, South Side Weekly. Thirty percent of the proceeds go to Build. They’ve set up a GoFundMe to support their staff as well.
- Haymarket Books, a “radical, independent, nonprofit” publisher based in Chicago, is making ten of its ebooks, by authors such as Angela Y. Davis, Naomi Klein, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, available for free through April 1. Print and ebook editions of its books for young readers are fifty percent off through April 30.
- Worker-owned and -operated Pilsen Community Books has an online store up and running with extensive staff recommendations—and you can email them for personalized recs anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Seminary Co-op Bookstore is offering free shipping on all titles purchased online. You can also browse recommended books from the last decade, download episodes of the store’s Open Stacks podcast—featuring conversations with poets, novelists, scholars, and activists—and listen to audiobooks through a partnership with Libro.fm. They’ve also launched a GoFundMe to raise some cash to keep the not-for-profit bookstore—and its sister store, 57th Street Books—running until more long-term funding strategies can be implemented.
- Bookie’s New and Used Books in Beverly is encouraging customers to purchase books, ebooks, and gift cards via their website. The store also offers digital audio books through Libro.fm.
The Bubbleland chain of laundromats—whose Western Avenue location was a Best of the South Side pick in 2017—is offering a “No Contact Laundry Pick Up and Delivery” service, providing full-service wash, dry, and fold for high-risk and other households on a twenty-four-hour turnaround. To schedule a pickup call at (773) 825-5097 or visit www.HappyNest.com. This service is available across most of Chicago and Cook, Will, and DuPage counties.
Relief Funds and Assistance for Specific Groups
Check out these resources if you need financial help or information for your communities, or are looking for relief funds to donate to. (Most of the community groups and food pantries above need donations; relief funds are for distributing money to affected people more directly.)
The Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help Page is a platform created by organizers Kelly Hayes and Delia Galindo to provide an easy way for those financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to ask for money and for those less impacted to donate. Block Club Chicago wrote about the mutual aid resource on March 18; people had already reported more than $20,000 of donations. The list is not vetted. The explainer for the page is also available in Spanish.
- The Chicago Artists Relief Fund is raising funds for artists losing income due to COVID-19 related cancellations, with the aim of prioritizing those most affected by inequity. The Fund, created and run by artist volunteers, says it “prioritizes artists who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Queer, Trans+, Non-Binary, and Disabled, but will endeavor to support as many Chicago artists as possible.” Artists in need of relief funds can apply at this link; applications are currently temporarily suspended while the first round of support is being distributed.
- For the People Artists Collective is offering microgrants for artists and freelancers of color.
- Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a Chicago-based organization, has collected information on legal assistance and potential legal issues for artists and arts organizations. The organization is also operating a Brief Service Response Center to provide general advice on cancellation-related legal issues over the phone.
- For other resources, a website has been set up to aggregate information for freelance artists affected by COVID-19 across the country, including links to information on preparedness and on national sources of emergency funding. #blkcreatives has also collected its own set of COVID-19 resources for creatives.
For people with asthma:
According to the CDC, “People with asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.” The CDC has a page with general guidelines for people with asthma dealing with COVID-19 risk, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has a Q&A specifically addressing what people with asthma need to know during this time.
For people dealing with debt:
The National Consumer Law Center is making its handbook Surviving Debt free online for the time being. To access the text, click “Read Online” or navigate using the Table of Contents on the left sidebar—you do not need to purchase anything.
For the Chinese American community:
The Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community collected detailed program and service updates in a March 18 email, including programs that will be offering remote employment and public benefits support, counseling, and more.
For the disability community:
Access Living has put together a detailed list of COVID-19 resources for the disability community.
For domestic violence survivors:
The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is multilingual and offers free support services and referrals; it can be reached by calling 1-877-863-6338. TTY: 1-877-863-6339. For a listing of domestic violence centers in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Human Services website or call 1-877-TO-END-DV.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-799-7233, or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, by texting LOVEIS to 22522, or by chatting on its website. The hotline’s website also has a post with suggestions for survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For domestic workers:
National Domestic Workers Alliance is starting a Coronavirus Care Fund and also has a resource hub with other info for domestic workers. If you are a domestic worker, you can text RELIEF to 97779 to get updates from NDWA.
For hospitality employees:
- Chicago Hospitality Employee Relief Guide is maintaining a crowdsourced spreadsheet of fundraisers and gift-card buying opportunities for employees of more than three hundred local businesses, including Kusanya Cafe (fundraiser here) and Birreria Zaragoza (supported by a t-shirt sale with proceeds being split between many businesses). Add more fundraisers for South Side businesses to the list if you know of any!
- ChicagoServiceRelief.com is another work-in-progress directory of fundraisers for Chicago bar, venue, restaurant, and retail store staff. It’s not obvious how many of these establishments are on the South Side, but we spotted several we recognized.
- The United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) National Charity Foundation provides financial aid to bartenders (or their spouses or children) experiencing emergency hardship through its Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. You do not need to be a USBG member to apply for a grant.
For incarcerated people and their loved ones:
Survived and Punished NY (an affiliate collective of Chicago’s Love & Protect) and Inside/Outside Soap Brigade are taking requests to distribute donated money to people to send to incarcerated people for commissary funds for soap and supplies. You can donate to this mutual aid effort through their PayPal fund.
Black and Pink: Chicago, “an open family of GLBTQ prisoners and ‘free world’ allies who support each other,” is raising commissary funds to donate to its incarcerated community—more than 800 members in Illinois—to help them buy soap and other necessities. You can donate by sending funds to Black and Pink: Chicago’s PayPal, email@example.com, with a note that says “commissary.”
The Illinois Prison Project has created a form where incarcerated people’s loved ones who are willing to have them return to their homes can submit information about their loved one and their living situation to be shared with the Illinois Department of Corrections and possibly other organizations and government agencies. The objective of gathering and sharing this information is to help ensure that if a possibility that a person could be released as part of efforts to stop COVID-19 from spreading in prisons arises, IDOC will know an incarcerated person has somewhere to go. The Illinois Prison Project cautions that most people will not be released from prison, and even if some people do have the opportunity for release, there are likely to be other limitations in addition to housing. The organization is also maintaining a form for people who might be willing to host a returning citizen they do not know.
For undocumented people:
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has compiled a resource guide for immigrant communities in Illinois, including information about public benefits and US Citizenship and Immigration services. You can also text questions to 1 (855) 435-7693. The ICIRR’s Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP) can provide information on whether you or your family may qualify for public benefits or other types of assistance; call the IFRP hotline at 1-855-IFRP-NOW (1-855-437-7669). The hotline will be staffed by an intake worker Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 4:30pm, with help available in eight languages: Spanish, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Polish, Russian, Vietnamese, and Hindi/Gujarati.
The Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation has launched a fundraiser to support undocumented families and individuals, who may not be able to access unemployment benefits or other resources provided through or funded by the government. If you are in need of funds, you can apply at this link (questions in both English and Spanish), or, if you do not have access to a computer or internet, you can call (253) 653-4630 to talk to a representative in English or Spanish. The foundation is also maintaining a list of COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Communities.
The Gage Park Latinx Council, in concert with organizers from Pilsen and Archer Heights, has launched a Mutual Aid Fund initiative to raise funds for undocumented families living on the Southwest Side. The link to donate to the fund is here, and applications will be available soon so that undocumented workers can apply for financial aid.
Note: This article was last updated on March 28.
Correction, Saturday, March 21: This article was updated to more accurately describe nonprofit Su Casa’s mission. They provide shelter and support to all families, not just Latinx families.
Martha Bayne is a managing editor.
Olivia Stovicek is a senior editor.
Jim Daley is the Weekly’s politics editor. He last published an interview with Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Bill Conway.