ABC 7 Connecting Communities

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Welcome to ABC 7 Connecting Communities, where we are sharing important information on behalf of our community partners. This includes the great things that are happening when times are good, like events and uplifting stories. But we are also here for you providing information about our partners with links to critical resources you may need when times aren't so good.

Every day our partners are doing the important work of supporting the various needs of individuals and families from the youngest to the oldest, in a variety of languages, with cultural appreciation for our very diverse communities.

So please check back here for information anytime. And remember, if you have stories you would like to share please post them on social with #abc7chicago or by emailing: diana.palomar@abc.com.

Children's Home & Aid

For 136 years, Children's Home & Aid has been recognized for establishing best practices and achieving outstanding results through its programs and services that focus on child abuse prevention, healthy child development, and strengthening families. Children's Home & Aid's mission is to partner with children, youth, and families whose potential is at risk to create hope, opportunity, and bright futures.

As the health, safety and well-being of our entire community is paramount, we have closed all offices and Early Childhood Centers across the state, and have canceled all events through June 30th. We will continue to provide essential programming in person, including our therapeutic residential foster care center in Evanston, our crisis nurseries in Bloomington and Rockford, and crisis support to more than 1,000 children in foster care. Across our agency, our vital work is continuing remotely as we transition services such as child welfare, our early childhood centers, home visiting services, and behavioral health programming to virtual platforms.

Even as our offices are closed, our front line staff are meeting the needs of children and families with dedication and creativity. Foster care workers and counselors are working with children and families via phone or FaceTime, while still risking their own health to meet the most urgent needs through face-to-face visits. Our early childhood centers in Englewood and Schaumburg are buying food and infant supplies, and hosting drives for families in need. Our Child Care Assistance Program continues to help families find affordable daycare when caregivers are still working at banks, grocery stores, and other essential places of business.

Every day, we work to strengthen families-we know in a time like this that a hungry child is less likely to be able to self-regulate, that a parent who can't clean their home might feel greater anxiety. Our programs continue to look for new ways to provide services virtually to kids and families to ensure they are supported through services like ongoing therapy, counseling to keep families together, and support for parents during this time of increased stress and crises.

More ways to help...
Essential Needs. In Chicagoland alone, we estimate that over 5,300 families we serve are struggling to obtain essential needs-in particular, diapers, formula, wipes, and cleaning supplies. Increasingly, families are reaching out in desperate need of gift/cash cards to cover essentials like food, rent, and phone/ internet access during this crisis. We are greatly in need of supports to boost our technological infrastructure as an agency, and to provide critical tools like computers, phones, and internet access to our families. You can help by organizing a virtual drive with your company or friend/family network. For more information, please contact Liz Startz For more information, please contact Liz Startz at estartz@childrenshomeandaid.org or go to our website: www.childrenshomeandaid.org

Virtual Volunteers. As we work to adjust to a new environment and move programs to virtual platforms where possible, we ask that volunteers who wish to support us virtually act as ambassadors for our kids and families. Help us spread the word about the incredible needs of our families through social media, email, and phone calls to your networks. Create a GoFundMe or Facebook fundraiser, share our website, and/or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Heartland Health Centers

Heartland Health Centers (HHC) can help families who need healthcare services! HHC accepts new and established patients that need COVID-19 testing.

For people without insurance, COVID-19 tests and related appointments like screening and follow-up, are free of cost, regardless of immigration status.

To schedule a COVID-19 test appointment, or any other health related appointment, please call 773-751-7800.

HHC has TeleHealth appointments available for new & established patients to speak to a provider by phone or video. Patients without insurance can get a discount based on their income and household size, the cost starts at $30 for the visit.

For families with children that need to enroll or re-enroll in medical insurance, please click on the link.

Language preference can be changed at the very top (middle of the web page) or call 773.751.7062 for assistance in English & Spanish or 773.751.7045 for assistance in Arabic.

More information about Heartland Health Centers and our many convenient locations can be found at: www.heartlandhealthcenters.org.

Chicago Urban League
The Chicago Urban League is launching a COVID-19 Community Help Center to assist small business owners, homeowners, job seekers, students and families in managing through and recovering from negative impacts of the pandemic. The Help Center will begin offering some services immediately. Others will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

"We serve thousands of Chicago residents a year, and we know that many of them are struggling now," said Chicago Urban League President & CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson. "We are also keenly aware that African-American communities, which already face longstanding economic, educational and social inequity, have been among the hardest hit by this pandemic."

Their COVID-19 Community Help Center will help individuals navigate through processes to obtain immediate relief, as well as prepare for longer-term consequences that are expected to result from time lost in the workforce, in the classroom, and operating their businesses at full capacity.

The COVID-19 Community Help Center is open to all Chicago-area residents and will offer services via phone and Internet-based platforms during the City of Chicago's stay-at-home order.

The Help Center is accessible through a dedicated website: www.culcovid19.com.

Latinos Progresando
Latinos Progresando is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides high-quality, affordable immigration legal services, and convenes a network of providers and community residents around the issues of health, education, and peace. The organization is located at 3047 W. Cermak Road on Chicago's southwest side. Services we are providing remotely include:

  • Immigration Hotline: Experts on our immigration legal services team are available Monday - Friday, 8:30am to 4pm.

  • Latinos Progresando launched and continues to update a bilingual resource guide that includes a spectrum of resources for families, organizations and small businesses

  • As the backbone agency of the Marshall Square Resource Network, Latinos Progresando is coordinating information and resources to increase our community's access to critical needs during Covid-19.


  • Here is a link to our website for more specific information on our services: www.latinospro.org

    Northern Illinois Food Bank

    Get Help:
    If you or someone you know is in need of help, please reach out to us and our network - we are here to help! Visit SolveHungerToday.org/GetHelp to find a food pantry near you, view our calendar of upcoming mobile pantry distributions, and access additional resources. You can also call our SNAP Outreach Team seven days a week, at 844-600-7627 for help with SNAP (food stamp) applications, to connect with your local food pantry, or other resources.

    Give Help:
    We simply would not be able to feed all our neighbors during this incredible time of need without the dedication, passion, and help of our amazing volunteers. Because we are an essential business, we are still accepting volunteers! If you are healthy and want to get involved, learn more or sign up by visiting SolveHungerToday.org/Volunteer or calling 630-443-6910. For other ways you can help make sure everyone has access to food during this time, check out our recent blog here.

    The economic impact of COVID-19 is drastically increasing rates of food insecurity in our community. Closures of businesses and schools, social distancing, and self-quarantines may affect many of our neighbors, particularly the most vulnerable: older adults, health-compromised individuals, and hourly workers. While all support is greatly appreciated, financial donations of any size will help support the Food Bank's operations during this time of increased need. Every $1 donated helps provide $8 in groceries for our neighbors. If you'd like to support the Food Bank's increased operations during this time, make a gift at SolveHungerToday.org/COVIDSupport.

    For our full COVID-19 response - including how to give help, how to get help, initial response results, and a list of agency closures - visit SolveHungerToday.org/Coronavirus

    I Am A Gentleman

    I AM A GENTLEMAN, INC. provides male mentoring and leadership development for young men ages 13-21. Programming is held at the Chicago Police Headquarters in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

    Our mission is to engage, enrich and empower young men for successful careers, healthy lifestyles, marketable skills and well-balanced relationships. We do this through personal development classes and enrichment workshops embracing etiquette and statesmanship.

    We will provide health and wellness workshops, career and advanced education leads, volunteer projects and various positive community service initiatives throughout the year. It is our commitment to improve personal & professional relationships and overall emotional, physical and spiritual health through Mentoring, Leadership Development and Community Service.

    During this pandemic, IAAG is not able to physically meet with the students we serve, however, we are not letting that stop us. We know that the young men are having cabin fever, therefore, every Saturday morning we are meeting with our students virtually using various video chat platforms. Using technology, the students are able to see each other and still have an engaging conversation and lesson. It is exciting for us to see our students get up, dress up in their white shirts and pink ties and show up online each week.

    In addition, during this pandemic, IAAG is providing care packages to all of the families we serve. These care packages include basic necessities for a healthy environment (i.e., disposable gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, tissue and guidelines from the CDC.

    For more information visit: www.iamagentleman.org

    You can also find I Am A Gentleman on Facebook or Instagram.

    After School Matters

    After School Matters is a non-profit organization that provides nearly 19,000 Chicago high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college, and beyond.

    Through 1,500 after-school and summer programs taught by professionals in a wide variety of areas of interest, we help to instill confidence in teens, provide a sense of community, and contribute to their personal and academic success, while addressing the challenges Chicago youth face on a daily basis.

    ASM programs are offered across the city in schools, parks, community centers, libraries and more, as well as in three flagship After School Matters' buildings: the downtown Gallery 37 Center for the Art, The Michael and Karyn Lutz Center in Belmont Cragin, and After School Matters at Gately Park in Pullman (opening in May).

    While spring programs are no longer meeting in person, the instructors continue to mentor the teens remotely as they exploring innovative digital learning opportunities.

    ASM is continuing to pay our teens their session stipends, knowing the importance of these economic resources to them, their families and communities. Recognizing that many of our teens may also be facing food insecurity during this time, After School Matters has partnered with Gate Gourmet to distribute free meal boxes at The Lutz Center and the James Jordan Boys & Girls Club.

    To learn more or support ASM, visit: www.afterschoolmatters.org.

    Center on Halsted

    Center on Halsted is the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland.

    More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago's Lakeview Neighborhood.

    Center on Halsted is delivering on its promise to Chicago's LGBTQ community, especially during these challenging times. The building may be closed but we continue to serve the community.

    The Center is running its HIV hotlines, providing meals for seniors and continues therapy services via phone and computer. The Youth staff are providing life skills and stress relief interventions at a nearby shelter for youth.

    The following Resource Lines + Email will remain open:

    Anti-Violence Project
    773-871-2273 avp@centeronhalsted.org

    Behavioral Health
    773-472-6469 ext. 460 behavioralhealth@centeronhalsted.org

    HIV/AIDS IL State Hotline
    1-800-243-2437
    Texting: 872-243-1004

    HIV Resource Hub
    1-844-482-4040

    Senior Services
    773-472-6469 ext. 445

    For more info visit: www.centeronhalsted.org.

    Les Turner ALS Foundation

    Founded in 1977, the Les Turner ALS Foundation is the leader in comprehensive ALS care in Chicagoland.

    Although we're one of the largest independent ALS groups in the country, we treat each person like family and are committed to supporting them every step of the way.

    The Les Turner ALS Foundation is a nonprofit in the health care sector, providing patient and family services, ensuring hope through ALS research and offering educational materials and programs.

    Due to the current coronavirus outbreak, the Foundation has paused all in-person support service visits from our nurses and social workers and all in-person support groups; however, the team is providing services via teleconference and phone calls to ensure people living with ALS and their families continue to receive the help they need. In lieu of in-person support groups, the Les Turner ALS Foundation is holding virtual support groups.

    We host numerous special event fundraisers throughout the year, including the Strike Out ALS 5k and 1 Mile Run, Walk & Roll in July and the ALS Walk for Life in September. We are currently evaluating how to safely execute these events.

    Please find more information at: www.lesturnerals.org.

    A Safe Haven Foundation

    Since 1994, A Safe Haven has become a top anchor organization in Chicago that helps over 5,000 homeless people of all ages and family make-ups a year get access to housing, treatment, education, job training, jobs and permanent housing.

    A Safe Haven's flagship HQ houses 400 people and is among a network of 40 real estate developments that house transitional, supportive, affordable, senior and veteran housing. Recently, we added an isolation space for an additional 100 homeless announced at one of Mayor Lightfoot's press briefings.

    During the COVID-19 crisis we are continuing to offer transitional semi-private and supportive housing accommodations, nutritious meals, and access to a full range of wrap around services including healthcare and behavioral healthcare both in person and tele services to non COVID-19, quarantine COVID-19 and positive COVID-19 homeless populations

    To learn more please visit: www.asafehaven.org.

    CASA of Cook County

    CASA of Cook County is going strong and finding new ways to serve children in foster care despite the stay-at-home order.

    Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County trains ordinary citizens and assigns them to children in the foster care system to advocate for their best interests in court, schools, and communities. CASA volunteers are sworn in by the court, assigned to the case of one child or set of siblings in protective custody, and work to ensure that they are protected from further abuse, receive needed services, and find safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Children in protective custody are more at-risk than any other single demographic group of children, and these risks are heightened by the COVID-19 crisis. CASA's evidence-based, one-to-one advocacy has been shown to make a tremendous, positive impact on the children who are assigned a CASA volunteer.

    CASA of Cook County currently serves more than 650 children, and all CASA volunteers continue to serve the children during the stay-at-home order. Donations to CASA of Cook County ensures that children in foster care remain safe and supported during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about our services and how to become a CASA volunteer: www.casacookcounty.org.

    Erie Neighborhood House

    Erie Neighborhood House is the oldest operating settlement house in Chicago - established 150 years ago in 1870 - and we offer the most comprehensive support immigrant and low-income families need to thrive. We empower the people we serve to build powerful communities through education, legal services, health programs and more. We operate in two locations in West Town and another in Little Village.

    Erie House closed for in-person programming on March 17, but through our closure, we've continued to provide remote services for our participants. Those programs include legal phone consultations, mental health teletherapy, virtual tutoring for all ages, online nutrition classes, and more.

    Metropolitan Family Services

    Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, earn, heal and thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers Chicago-area families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities. Metropolitan's services span education, economic stability, emotional wellness and empowerment/legal aid.

    Metropolitan has multiple sites throughout metropolitan Chicago; most are currently closed due to COVID-19, but we continue to provide a variety of services virtually and by phone.

    Categories of services we continue to provide via video and/or phone services:
  • Early learning

  • Counseling and mental health services

  • Senior counseling/support services

  • Domestic violence services

  • Tutoring/Educational services for students


  • For more information visit www.metrofamily.org or call 312-986-4105.

    Primo Center for Women and Children

    Primo Center is the largest provider of services and shelter for homeless children and their families in Chicago. Serving those most vulnerable, the Center's record of helping families gain independence far exceeds the national average.

    Administrative Offices and Interim Housing Program I
    6212 South Sangamon St.

    Chicago, IL 60621
    Admin Office: (773) 722 0544
    Interim Prog 1: (773) 379 1112

    Interim Housing Programs II and III
    1609 and 1615 S Homan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60623
    T: (773) 379 1186

    Interim Housing Program IV
    8040 S Western Ave
    Chicago, IL 60620
    T: (773) 377 8333

    Permanent Supportive Housing
    4231 West Division St.
    Chicago, IL 60651
    T: (773) 698 6500

    The Primo Center provides housing and services that respond to trauma, creating a unique therapeutic community dedicated to helping families heal and grow and that includes:
  • permanent supportive housing and therapeutic shelter

  • trauma-informed mental health services

  • early childhood services--an early childhood center, evidence-based home visiting

  • integrated health care so that families' health needs are addressed comprehensively


  • The Faith Community of Saint Sabina

    Our Ark Youth Center continues to provide a safe haven for the children whose parents have no place for them to go. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

    Ark Youth Center
    7800 South Racine Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60620
    773-483-4333

    Our Employment Resource Center is open. There are computers available for individuals to search for jobs as well as help for individuals seeking to file for unemployment.

    Employment Resource Center
    7825 South Racine
    Chicago, IL 60620
    773-783-3760

    Our Social Service Center is providing food each day to families in need. This has continually grown in numbers. We are now feeding more than 700 per week, plus fresh sandwiches twice a week to 4 senior buildings. The office is open Monday through Friday. We are in desperate need of more food.

    St. Sabina/Catholic Charities
    1120 West 79th Street
    Chicago, IL 60620
    773-846-3018

    Our church offices are open Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm to help serve people and guide them to different services.

    St. Sabina Church
    1210 West 78th Place
    Chicago, IL 60620
    773-483-4300

    YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

    While we've had to suspend some of our services, like hospital-based advocacy and prevention education in the schools, many others have moved to virtual service delivery. Our staff are working determinedly to engage with our clients, assess their needs, and connect them with relevant and much-needed resources!

    Connecting Essential Workers with Available Child Care
  • Our Early Childhood team worked quickly to establish a process for essential workers. Those in need of this service can email emergencychildcare@ywcachicago.org or call our hotline at 800-781-7247.


  • Virtual Service Delivery
  • Our home visiting staff are making weekly calls to families in enrolled in our Project HELP and Young Parents Programs, assessing critical needs and providing resources.

  • Therapists who typically provide weekly counseling sessions to survivors of sexual violence have transitioned to phone sessions and are helping clients move forward in their healing journey and also address concerns related to COVID-19.

  • YWCA staff are checking in regularly on the senior residents of the Chicago Housing Authority developments where we administer the FamilyWorks program. These wellness checks are proving key to keeping these individuals safe and meeting basic needs.


  • Addressing Food Insecurity
  • Since late March, we've distributed more than 8,000 meals through our StreetWise (South Loop), Patterson and McDaniel Family Center (Addison, Illinois), and Parks Francis Center (Woodlawn). This effort has been made possible through partnerships with Gate Gourmet, The Fat Shallot, The Daily Planet, Carson's, The Tri-Town YMCA, and the University of Chicago.


  • Providing Emergency Cash Assistance
  • As a recipient of the Chicago COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, led by United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and Chicago Community Trust, we are in the process of supporting our constituents with more than $125,000 in direct cash assistance in the form of gift cards or electronic funds transfers. This financial aid will help individuals and families cover expenses like housing, utilities, food, and PPE.


  • Technical Assistance for Women and Minority Small Businesses
  • Our Small Business Development Center staff are providing information on available grants and loans being provided to small businesses and advising in the completion of applications.


  • Meeting Other High-Priority Needs
  • Diapers have emerged as one of the biggest areas of need for the families we serve through our Early Head Start, Project HELP, Young Parents, and Prevention Initiative programs. We are working with Share Our Spare to obtain diapers that our staff then drop off directly to the homes of our clients.

  • With help from partners Comcast and Westfield, we provided new laptops and tablets to several families in our network who needed them to effectively work from home and manage e-learning responsibilities. We also helped connect our clients in need of internet access to the Comcast Internet Essentials program.


  • Adjusting Census 2020 Strategies
  • With the emergence of shelter in place restrictions, we've worked closely with our Census partners to adjust plans to be able to effectively reach hard-to-count populations.

  • We were able to access additional funds from the State of Illinois to increase engagement to reach African Americans across DuPage County, and parents of children 0-5.


  • Greater Chicago Food Depository

    The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago's food bank, serves all of Cook County through a network of food pantries, soup kitchens shelters and mobile distributions to offer food for anyone in need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Depository and its network are responding daily to meet the rising need while modifying operations to serve people quickly and safely in this time of social distancing. If you or someone you know are in need of food, you can find a Food Depository partner or distribution near you at chicagosfoodbank.org/find-food or by calling 773-247-3663.

    The Greater Chicago Food Depository counts on the generosity of our community to make a daily impact on hunger. Right now, the Food Depository's greatest need is financial support. Monetary donations of any amount go to work immediately, allowing the Food Depository to purchase food, support its network and keep its trucks on the road. Volunteers are also essential at this time to pack boxes of food for families in need. To make a donation or sign up for a volunteer session, visit chicagosfoodbank.org.

    Casa Central
    Casa Central is the largest Hispanic social service agency in the Midwest. Since 1954, Casa Central has delivered evidenced based, award winning programming in response to the needs of the Hispanic community.

    Through comprehensive, family-centered programming, Casa Central is the conduit through which thousands of individuals build hope for the future while equipping themselves to achieve a sustainable, higher quality of life for the benefit of self, family, community and society.

    PROGRAMS:
    Children and Youth
  • Early Learning Academy

  • School Age Program

  • Individual and Families
  • Violence, Prevention and Intervention

  • Intact Family Services

  • La Posada

  • Older Adults
  • Adult Wellness Center

  • Home Care Services


  • Program Status regarding COVID-19
    Because we care for the health and safety of our participants, families and staff, following the advice and recommendations from relevant local, state, and federal health authorities, we have suspended service in some of our programs: the Early Learning Academy Center-Based and Home-Based programs, the School Age Program, the Violence Prevention and Intervention program, and the Adult Wellness Center.

    However, more than 300 of Casa Central's employees remain on the front lines, providing "essential human services" within the meaning of Governor Pritizker's recent Executive Order, to many of our participants. The compassionate and dedicated staff from our Home Care Services, Intact Family, and La Posada programs are continuing to directly serve the needs of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. Our Home Care Aides continue to provide daily in-home care for older adults, ensuring they have healthy meals and the care and support needed to maintain their emotional and physical well-being. Intact Family Case Managers continue to provide crucial support to families involved with the child welfare system. Our La Posada Transitional Housing Program for families experiencing homelessness is ensuring that families have safe, fully equipped homes in which to safely shelter in place, along with essential support services like case management, food, and clothing.

    For details about each of our programs please visit our website www.casacentral.org.
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