Coronavirus Chicago: Volunteers set up 'COVID-19 Response Hub' in Austin neighborhood; free testing, financial help

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People lined up outside Zoe's Life Ministries International Church, 5155 W Madison St, on Saturday morning for free coronavirus testing and credit checks.

It's part of new effort in Chicago's Austin neighborhood to help residents face the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.

Organizer Otis Monroe calls it the COVID-19 Response Hub. He says it ensures care is accessible to those who need it the most.

"Everthing that's going to keep them alive, keep them viable, economically, health wise," said Monroe. "No appointment, no pre-screening, none of that, no car necessary."

Jemal Lavallais says he was only able to get tested for the coronavirus because organizers brought the medical team into the neighborhood.

"A lot of people in this Austin area don't have the ways and means to get tested. And what happened here is a beautiful," said LaVallais.

Volunteers also gave financial advice, targeting homeowners and renters whose income may have dried up during the months-long pandemic and economic shutdown.

Organizers say they plan to expand the effort and soon hold an event in west suburban Maywood.
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