COVID-19 Resources

April 1, 2020

Included below is a range of resources, updates, and answers to frequently asked questions. If you have any questions related to coronavirus, please email for more information or visit the City’s COVID-19 resource webpage.

• Food Services
• Housing Assistance
• COVID-19 Testing
• Mental Health
• Business Support
• Essential Workers
• Public Transit
• Parking Violations and Other Vehicle Questions

Residents seeking assistance with meals, should contact 311 or any of these designated partners:

1)  Greater Chicago Food Depository 
  • Majority of Greater Chicago Food Depository programs remain open. Find a nearby food program here.
  • The Food Depository’s benefits outreach team is available by phone to help Chicagoans apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits.
  • For benefits outreach assistance, call 773-843-5416 on Mondays-Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or apply directly with the Illinois Department of Human Services.
2)  The Salvation Army  
  • The Salvation Army’s Metropolitan Division Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) will be providing mobile feeding services.
  • The Salvation Army’s 19 Chicagoland food pantries remain open to provide curbside service and will continue to serve as a resource for anyone who needs assistance.
  • For more information on emergency assistance, please call 773-725-1100 or visit their website.
3)  Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
  • All schools – representing 600 district schools and 27 charters schools – are open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., to provide grab-and-go meals (breakfast and lunch). Families will receive three meals a day for each young person in the household.
  • If families have trouble getting to a site, they can call 773-553-KIDS or email to make a request for food delivery. For more information, visit
4)  Archdiocese of Chicago/Catholic Charities
  • Catholic Charities will continue to serve residents at their Food Pantries and Evening Meal Programs. Locations and numbers can be found here. To access other services, please call 312-655-7700.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Housing (DOH) created a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant program to assist Chicagoans who have lost their jobs or otherwise been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Made possible by a partnership with the Family Independence Initiative (FII), DOH will deploy $2 million from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund (AHOF) to fund one-time grants to help impacted Chicagoans with rent and mortgage payments.

  • The fund will award 2,000 individual grants in the amount of $1,000. Half of these grants will be awarded through a lottery system, while the other half will be distributed by non-profit community organizations across the city.
  • Chicago residents experiencing temporary financial hardships due to COVID-19 will be able to apply online via the DOH Online Intake Portal by clicking here.

Awards are expected to be awarded between early and mid-April and residents have until 11:59 p.m. April 1st  to apply.

If you fall into any of the below categories, you may increase your risk for a serious viral infection including:

• 60 years or older;
• Are pregnant;
• Have underlying medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes

Call your primary care provider and ask if you need to be evaluated in person. If you do NOT have a high-risk condition and your symptoms are mild, you do NOT need to be evaluated in person and do NOT need to be tested for COVID-19.

Chicago Health  magazine  has provided a helpful graphic to distinguish the difference in symptoms from other seasonal illnesses.

In adults, emergency warning signs include:

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion or difficulty awakening the person
• Bluish lips or face

Only use 911 in an emergency. Use 311 if you have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19.

Emotional reactions to this emerging health crisis are expected. Remind yourself, your family and your friends that feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed or having other symptoms of distress such as trouble sleeping is normal.

If symptoms become worse, encourage them, and yourself, to reach out for support and help.  The following are free mental health resources available to all Chicago residents:

The City of Chicago has always played an active role in helping small business. The site includes information about financial assistance resources available throughout Chicago via the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP).

There have been some concerns about the close contact and practices of some essential workers. Under the stay at home order, management and workers must comply with social distancing requirements, which include:

  • Maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other individuals.
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

More specifically, the Department of Buildings is working closely with the Department of Public Health and Chicago’s construction industry to ensure companies are taking appropriate precautions to protect their workers. Many construction projects have implemented more stringent infection control measures, and if so, those should continue as well.

The Department of Buildings continues to process permits and will be available to answer questions and assist companies in any way possible. To learn more about the Department of Buildings process at this time, click here.

CTA is operating on a normal service schedule for those who need to get to critical jobs or need to travel for essential services. Additionally, CTA has several measures to assist residents in this difficult time.

CTA will be offering a one-time credit for any remaining days left on an active 7- or 30-day pass. Below, residents can find information regarding Ventra passes and other steps that can be taken to reduce cost burden.

  • Unlimited ride passes (1-, 3-, 7- 30-day passes): Passes are only activated when tapped at a rail station or on a bus, so if you do not need to ride CTA using one of these passes, simply save your Ventra Card, with inactive passes until things return to normal. You can log in to your account online or through the app to see if you have any active or inactive passes.
  • Deactivating autoload feature: If you have autoload enabled, you can easily deactivate this feature through the Ventra app or on their website. It’s just as easy to re-activate autoload when things get back to normal.
  • Pre-tax transit benefits: If you use your employer’s pre-tax transit benefits program, you can contact your employer’s administrator to turn off a 30-day pass or transit value deposits. These deposits generally occur on the 26th of each month. Please note that employers of third-party administrators may take some time to process your request.

For further questions or assistance with your Ventra Card or account, call 877-NOW-VENTRA or visit

Mayor Lightfoot announced a series of measures that would provide economic relief to residents, including a pause in debt collection for tickets, booting and driver’s license suspension for driving violations.

  • Now through April 30, the City has relaxed enforcement for certain types of violations including city stickers, expired plates, street sweeping and residential parking permit violations.
  • While the City has reduced its workforce related to parking meter enforcement, motorists are still required to pay for metered parking during this crisis.
  • Failure to feed the meter may result in a ticket.

As of Wednesday, March 18th at 5 p.m. all Office of the City Clerk locations have been temporarily closed. City Stickers and other products like Residential Parking Permits and dog licenses are available for purchase on the Office of the City Clerk’s website,

All of Aldermanic Sellers are currently closed. Residential Parking Permits are not sold at third party locations.

The City Clerk team is currently working on a back charge and late fee waiver period to provide some relief for those who are unable to purchase or renew their stickers during this time.

The Office of the City Clerk will be waiving late fees and back charges on City Stickers from March 19, 2020 to April 30, 2020 for residents whose stickers were up for renewal in January, February or March 2020. These dates may be extended should the Office of the City Clerk be closed past April 30, 2020. Additional details on this waiver period to follow. For questions, please email

Source:  Alderman Reilly Reports 4/1/2020