Resource Directory for Illinois Families with Young Children Experiencing Homelessness and Housing Insecurity

About this resource
Reviewed: 2019

This resource directory provides contact information, descriptions of programs, state agencies, and non-profit organizations in Illinois that provide support for families of young children experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Families may wish to begin searching for resources in their local community using these links:

  1. Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
    IDHS provides a listing of state supported programs for assistance and an office locator to assist families in finding an office in their local community.
  2. Illinois Community Action Agencies
    Community Action Agencies are a hub for local services for families. Many of these agencies provide resources both basic needs and well being. This map provides listings of local agencies.
  3. Dial 211
    The 211 hotline serves many communities throughout the state of Illinois. Service areas may be viewed on this map. Simply dial 211 on your phone to connect to an operator who can help you find services and supports in your local community.

Basic Needs

Families experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity first need help finding food, shelter, and clothing to meet their basic needs. This tab contains links to Illinois agencies that provide these necessities.

Food Resources

Emergency and Supplemental Food Resources
These links can help families find emergency and supplemental food resources in their local community.

Ongoing Assistance with Food
Families may apply to the programs below for ongoing supportto meet their nutritional needs.

Housing Resources

General Housing Information
These links provide general information to help families locate housing-related resources in their local area.

  • Illinois Housing Development Authority Rental Assistance Program This website has information about rental assistance through the Illinois Housing Development Authority and links to various programs that provide rental assistance and subsidized housing.
  • HUD Resource Locator
    This web page provides a map-based search for affordable housing, local public housing authorities, homeless resources, and HUD offices across the United States.
  • Illinois Housing Search
    This web site provides an online search for affordable housing in Illinois. In addition, it provides detailed information and links to housing resources, helpful tools for renters such as an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and information about renter rights and responsibilities.
  • Continuum of Care Agencies
    This link provides a listing of Illinois Continuum of Care Agencies that can help to find affordable housing in local communities.
  • Domestic Violence Agencies
    Domestic violence is common experience for families experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. This link provides a list of shelters and agencies that can assist.

Shelters, Transitional Housing, and Emergency Child Care
These links provide information about emergency shelter, temporary housing, and short-term crisis child care available in Illinois.

  • Emergency and Transitional Housing in Illinois
    This IDHS web page provides a description of emergency and transitional housing services as well as a directory of emergency and transitional housing centers located in the State of Illinois.
  • Crisis Nursery Programs
    When families are in the process of figuring out emergency housing, they may find temporary child care for their young children to be a helpful support. Families in Illinois with children under the age of six may call for assistance or be referred by a friend, family member, school, or social services agency for child care help during a short-term crisis situation. This tab provides contact information for the nurseries located in Urbana, Springfield, Rockford, Bloomington, Chicago, and Peoria. Call the local nursery listed for direct assistance.

Programs to Support Housing Insecure Families
These links provide directories of services and programs that are designed to prevent housing insecure families from becoming homeless.

  • Homeless Prevention Services
    This IDHS web page provides a description of services available in the state of Illinois to help families who are housing insecure to prevent homelessness. A link to a directory of service providers throughout Illinois is provided.
  • Mortgage Assistance Program
    The Illinois Hardest Hit Fund provides mortgage assistance to homeowners who have experienced at least a 15 percent income reduction due to a qualifying hardship event and who meet the eligibility criteria. The assistance allows eligible households to avoid foreclosure while they work to regain employment and financial stability.
  • Utility Bill Assistance Programs
    This web page  from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Provides information about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Illinois and a clickable map of Community Action Agencies that administer the program.
  • Community Services Block Grant Program
    This web page from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Provides information about the Community Services Blog Grant Program (CSBG) that allows local community action agencies to help families secure a variety of supports including rental assistance.  

Clothing and Diapers

These links provide resources for clothing and diapers. Food pantries, emergency shelters, and community action agencies may also distribute these items.

  • National Diaper Bank
    This directory provides links to diaper banks across the Illinois and the United States. Families in Illinois that live in the St. Louis metropolitan area may want to connect with with St. Louis Diaper Bank for assistance.
  • Help Finding Clothing and Hygiene Items: Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
    Clothing is distributed by CSBG grantees in Illinois. Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are the designated CSBG grantees. In many communities, clothing and hygeine items are available from local community organizations and non-profit partners. This link provides a listing of local Community Action Agencies (CAAs) that can help you find clothing and hygiene items in your area.  

Educational Rights

Families experiencing homelessness should be aware of their rights under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. This tab contains resources to help families understand their rights and access educational opportunities.

  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Education and Preschool
    This document from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) defines key terms and describes the laws related preschool enrollment for families experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Illinois.
  • School Nutrition for Homeless Children in Illinois
    Homeless children in Illinois are entitled to free meals from school feeding programs. This link provides a slide show from ISBE about explaining the policies and documentation requirements for this entitlement.

Early Care and Education

Families experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity should have the same access to child care and child development services as those who are not experiencing these challenges. This tab contains links to publicly funded early care and education (ECE) services in Illinois. Families may wish to start by looking at the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development website for an overview of the programs that serve children and families in Illinois as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

ECE Programs
These links can help families find ECE programs in their local community. The local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) is a great place to begin your search. The CCR&R can help you figure out what ECE programs have openings in your local area, assist with applications for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and link parents to related services.

  • Find ECE Programs: Excelerate Illinois
    The Excelerate Illinois web site has a search feature for families to help them find ECE programs in their local community. This includes publicly funded ECE programs, child care centers, and licensed home child care providers. This program is run by The Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA).
  • Head Start Locator
    Head Start is a comprehensive child development program and offers preschool, child care, and home visiting services in a variety of formats. Find your local Head Start and Early Head Start Programs using this online program locator.
  • Help Paying for Child Care: Apply for Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
    Families can apply for assistance with paying for child care which can enable parents to maintain stable employment or enroll in school.
  • ISBE Preschool for All Program
    This flyer describes the ISBE Preschool for All Program.
  • Crisis Nursery Programs
    Families in Illinois with children under the age of six may call for assistance or be referred by a friend, family member, school, or social services agency for child care help during a short-term crisis situation. This tab provides contact information for the nurseries located in Urbana, Springfield, Rockford, Bloomington, Chicago, and Peoria. Call the local nursery listed for direct assistance.

Child Growth and Development
Families with questions about their child’s growth and development may ask their local school district, public health office, or health care provider for assistance. The services listed below provide resources to help families understand and support their child’s development.

Home Visiting and Parent Education Programs
Home visiting programs can help parents and caregivers learn more about their child’s development and health. Home visitors can also help strengthen families by providing education about positive parenting practices and linking them to additional services. The links below can help families find home visiting programs that serve their local community.

  • What is a Home Visit?
    Families may wonder what will happen during a home visit. This web page from iGrow Illinois helps families understand the benefits of participating in a home visiting program.
  • Find a Home Visiting Program in Illinois
    This webpage from iGrow Illinois provides a searchable list and interactive map to help families find homevisiting programs.

Family Well Being

Once families have found resources to meet their basic needs, they can considers ways to strengthen their family. These services help families improve their economic situation and overall resilience in the face of the challenges they have experienced due to homelessness or housing insecurity. This tab contains links to services including care for physical and mental health, substance abuse treatment, and career supports for Illinois families.

Health Care and Education
The links below provide information about Illinois programs that can help families access health care and learn about healthy lifestyle choices. Home Visiting Programs and Head Start Programs may be helpful when families are trying to locate health and dental services.

  • Illinois Health Care Program Finder
    This web page helps individuals locate the health care program that is suited to their needs and includes information about publicly funded health care programs.
  • All Kids
    The All Kids Website provides information about eligibility and services provided by the state comprehensive health care program for children in Illinois.
  • Moms and Babies
    The Moms and Babies program provides health care to pregnant women and their infants to ensure a healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period. This link provides information about eligibility and services.
  • State of Illinois Dental Programs
    Families may be eligible for state of Illinois dental services. This website contains information about the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Dental Program.
  • Illinois Regional and Local Public Health Offices
    Contact your local public health department for assistance with immunizations, information about communicable diseases, and health promotion programs. This link provides an interactive map can help you find your local or regional public health office.
  • Community Health Centers
    Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs, provide care regardless of your insurance status or ability to pay. This link provides a locator to help families find a center in their local community.
  • Illinois Nutrition Education Programs
    The SNAP-Ed and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs (EFNEP) provide nutrition education to SNAP recipients and limited resource families in order to help them maintain a healthy diet on a limited budget.
  • Illinois Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program
    The Women, Infants, and Children program provides supplemental nutrition resources to children under age five and pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding mothers. The WIC program also provides health and nutrition education.

Mental Health Services and Support
The links below provide information about organizations and programs that provide information and resources for mental health.

  • Mental Health Treament Locator
    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA website provides listings of treatment facilties. Enter your zip code or city to find programs in your area.
  • Community Health Centers
    Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs, provide careregardless of your insurance status or ability to pay. Some of these centers provide referals or treatment ofr substance abuse disorders. This link provides a locator to help families find a center in their local community.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Support Groups
    Support groups may help individuals maintain wellness and find peer support. This link to the The Illinois Chapter of NAMI provides links to local chapters with support group meetings around the State of Illinois.
  • The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
    DBSA chapters offer peer-run support groups through the state of Illinois as well as an online mindful parenting support network. This link can help you find a local support group as well as online resources.

Substance Abuse Services and Support
The Links below provide information about substance abuse, support groups, and treatment options in Illinois.

  • IDHS Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
    IDHS provides a variety of resources related to alcoholism and substance abuse on their website. This link includes a variety of informational pamphlets and hotline numbers for assistance.
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Locator
    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA website provides listings of treatment facilties. Enter your zip code or city to find programs in your area.
  • Community Health Centers
    Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs, provide careregardless of your insurance status or ability to pay. Some of these centers provide referals or treatment ofr substance abuse disorders. This link provides a locator to help families find a center in their local community.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
    AA provides support group meetings throughout Illinois and around the world for indivudals struggling with alcoholism. This link allows you to enter your zipcode to find a meeting near you.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
    NA provides support group meetings throughout Illinois and around the world for individuals struggling with drug addiction. This link allows you to enter your zipcode to find a meeting near you.

Education, Employment and Career Supports
The links below provide information about programs for employment, vocational training, and career resources that can help families increase their economic security.

  • Adult Education and Literacy Program Information
    The Illinois Community College Board provides information about adult education in Illinois. The site has an Adult Education Program locator that is searchable by Zip Code.
  • GED Testing In Illinois
    This website from the Illinois Community College board contains information about the  GED test in Illinois and test preparation materials.
  • Illinois WorkNet
    Illinois WorkNet Provides a wide variety of information about job searching, career choice, and adult educational opportunities.

Acknowledgments

This project is supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0001-01-00, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Child Care, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.