Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County
The Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County coordinates the Cook County Continuum of Care, which encompasses homeless assistance efforts throughout all of Cook County except for the city of Chicago. As the lead agency for Cook County’s Continuum of Care, the Alliance brings together a range of services and housing options for homeless people.
Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
1041 South Boulevard, Oak Park, IL 60303
CAFHA is a consortium of housing advocacy organizations, government agencies, and municipalities dedicated to fair housing, diversity, and integration. It fights housing discrimination and advocates for strong communities at their local, state, and federal level.
- John Marshall Fair Housing Legal Support Center--Fair housing complaint intake and testing investigation services for all protected classes serving the entire Chicago metropolitan area. 312-987-2397. email@example.com
- Open Communities--Fair housing complaint intake and testing investigation services for all protected classes serving sixteen north suburban communities from Evanston to Highland Park and Lake Michigan to the I-294. 847-501-5760. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chicago Central Referral System Assessment Tool
If you are homeless or living in a shelter, you can apply for housing offered by several organizations on the CRS. Housing options include permanent supportive housing and permanent housing with short term supports. The neediest applicants, as determined by the CRS, have first priority.
Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program
If you are a homeowner who has received a summons to appear in court, you can call the helpline at (877) 895-2444 to schedule an appointment with a housing counselor. Legal assistance and counseling are provided at no charge.
Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County/North Suburbs
CEDA’s Housing Program offers counseling to help families obtain or keep affordable housing. It works with lenders to settle payment plans for people seeking mortgage delinquency assistance. CEDA also works with landlords to place very low income families in temporary, affordable housing. A CEDA representative is available at the Township Office from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. No appointment is necessary.
Direct2Housing is an online search tool which provides useful information on housing options for those in need in Metro Chicago, including contact information, the application process and eligibility criteria.
H.O.M.E. Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly
H.O.M.E. supports older adults with their housing needs, offering a home upkeep and repair program, a shopping bus to transport seniors with limited mobility, and a moving program which provides seniors with support during a move.
Homeowners’ Referral Helpline
To obtain guidance and advice on avoiding the foreclosure of your home, call the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s helpline at (800) 386-5438.
Housing Opportunity Development Corporation
HODC is a non-profit that develops and manages affordable housing in the northern suburbs. It also offers educational presentations and counseling for first time homebuyers.
Housing Opportunities for Women
HOW helps women, children, and families break the cycle of homelessness through supportive housing, case management, support groups and assistance in locating housing.
Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network
The Network brings together the information and services of several state agencies and certain non-profit agencies to assist you in navigating options that may help you keep your home.
Illinois Housing Development Authority
401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60611
General: 312-836-5200. Rental Housing Support: 312-836-8577.
The IHDA offers an online search tool which allows you to view Rental Housing Support (RHS) and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) rentals in your town.
IL Housing Search
IL Housing Search is provided by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Illinois Department of Human Services, and Illinois Department on Aging. The website contains information about properties available for rental.
This website offers information (including housing information) to low income Illinois residents on their legal rights and referrals to low or free of cost legal aid offices. It also provides forms and instructions for tenants to represent themselves. In addition, they offer a Foreclosure Help Toolbox for Illinois Renters.
Latin United Community Housing Association
LUCHA offers counseling to prevent the foreclosure of your home, information on reverse mortgages for those over 62, other housing resources and services, and quality affordable apartments for responsible low-income individuals and families.
Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing
LCBH offers free legal assistance to low and moderate income renters in Chicago and advocates for them in court.
Mortgage Information and Fraud Hotline
If you think you may have been a victim of deceitful or fraudulent lending practices, contact state mortgage fraud investigators at (800) 532-8785 or the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at (877) 793-3470 to file a complaint.
Northwest Side Housing Center
The NWSHC provides advocacy for families with their mortgage lender, as well as financial management training and coaching to prevent foreclosure. NWSHC also offers counseling on reverse mortgages to older adults. It also provides several financial education programs.
Open Communities (formerly the Interfaith Housing Center) fights for fair housing rights in the northern suburbs. It educates the community about housing laws, investigates housing discrimination and helps in filing complaints, refers to housing attorneys. Open Communities also coordinates homeshares (shared housing). All of the services offered are provided free of charge.
Polish American Association—Technical Assistance Community Development
Offers counseling and seminars in English and Polish, providing information on affordable housing, homelessness and foreclosure prevention, building safety, and legal issues surrounding housing. The Polish American Association aims to help clients find and keep housing. It also works to protect new immigrants from unscrupulous landlords who may take advantage of their tenants’ lack of English and knowledge of housing laws.
Frequently Asked Questions
Applying for and receiving housing vouchers from the Housing Authority of Cook County can sometimes be a difficult, lengthy process, so it is important to explore other options as well. The following is a very brief overview of the program. For more detailed information, see the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Administrative Plan at http://thehacc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/here2.pdf.
What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher program (otherwise known as Section 8) assists low-income families, the disabled, and the elderly in affording private market housing.
If you are approved, you are issued a rental voucher and personally find a residence in the private housing market that meets your family’s needs. The HACC will inspect the dwelling before the lease is signed and inspect again at least once a year thereafter. If the residence is approved, the HACC enters into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract with the landlord. You and your family must put around 30% of your monthly adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities and the HAP pays the remainder.
If you are a new voucher holder, you may choose a unit anywhere in the United States if you lived in Cook County when you applied for assistance. If you did not live in Cook County at the time you applied, you must initially rent a unit within Cook County for the first twelve months of assistance. If you would like to move to the jurisdiction of a different public housing agency (PHA), you should contact that PHA to confirm the procedures for moving.
Am I eligible?
Your family may be eligible if it meets the following five criteria. For more information on eligibility requirements and further definitions on terms, see Chapter 3 of the Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Plan at http://thehacc.org/w/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/here2.pdf.
- The family must fit the HACC’s definition of family. A qualified family is defined as:
- A family with a child or children OR
- Two or more elderly (62+) or disabled people living together OR
- One or more elderly (62+) or disabled people with one or more live-in aids OR
- A single person OR
- Two or more individuals not related by blood, marriage, or adoption who can prove they lived together previously or demonstrate that every individual’s income and resources will be available for the needs of the family OR
- Other groups of people at the discretion of the HACC
- The family must fit certain income requirements. A family must be:
- A very low income family (annual income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size) OR
- A low income family (annual income does not exceed 80 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size) that is already receiving assistance under any 1937 Housing Act Program when the family is accepted into the HCV OR
- A low-income family that qualifies for voucher assistance as a non-purchasing household living in HOPE a (public housing homeownership), HOPE 2 (multifamily housing homeownership) developments, or certain other HUD-assisted multifamily homeownership programs OR
- A low income or moderate income family displaced due to a prepayment of a mortgage or voluntary termination of a mortgage insurance contract on eligible low-income housing
- At least one member of the family must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or non-citizen with eligible immigration status.
- Every member of the family must provide a valid social security number.
- The family must consent to the HACC’s collection and use of family information as provided for in the HACC-provided consent forms.
How do I apply?
To apply, the waiting list must be open. The HACC informs the public via newspaper or other media when the waiting list is open and may note specific types of assistance it is collecting applications for. Media outlets may include La Raza Newspaper, Pioneer Press, The Daily Southtown, Star Newspaper, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Daily Defender, the HACC website, or others. The public notice will include instructions on when and where you may receive and return applications. The HACC takes steps to make the application process accessible to the individuals with disabilities, the elderly, people with limited English proficiency and others who may experience difficulties applying.
Every pre-application is reviewed and an initial assessment of the family’s eligibility is made. The HACC will notify you in writing of your eligibility status. If you are eligible, you are placed on a waiting list. Keep in mind that, according to the HACC, no one has a right to be placed on the waiting list. In addition, you may be removed from the waiting list for various reasons, and being placed on the waiting list does not necessarily mean you will be found eligible for assistance if you are selected from the waiting list.
If selected from the waiting list, your family will be notified by mail. The letter will give you the date, time, and location for a required interview, as well as all the documents you need to bring to the interview. Accommodations can be made for people with disabilities and/or people with limited English proficiency.
If it is determined that your family is ineligible, the HACC will notify you in writing. If your family is eligible, the HACC will invite you to a briefing which will give you more information on the program and next steps.
Please note, being placed on the waiting list is no guarantee of selection for a housing choice voucher.
The following flow chart summarizes the process.
Services for the Homeless
EntryPoint--If you are homeless and would like help, call EntryPoint at 800-439-6691 for street outreach and drop-in centers. EntryPoint links homeless individuals with shelter and services.
JOURNEYS The Road Home administers programs for HOPE Day Center, PADS and Pathways listed below. Applicants for these services should bring a picture ID with their most recent address to the JOURNEYS/The Road Home office:
JOURNEYS/The Road Home
1140 East Northwest Highway
Palatine, Illinois 60074
Phone: 847-963-9163 (HOPE Center, extension 17)
Services are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except major holidays.
HOPE Day Center--The HOPE Center is a day resource center that provides free services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. The HOPE Center offers case management, vocational counseling, mental health counseling, and supportive housing counseling, as well as referrals to pro-bono doctors, dentists, and state and federal entitlements. Additional HOPE Center services include a food pantry, hot meals, a clothing closet, laundry and shower facilities, access to voicemail and a mailbox, and transportation services to medical appointments and job interviews. A Family Nurse Practitioner offers free healthcare every week, including help accessing free or reduced-cost prescriptions for clients. JOURNEYS is proud to offer in-person counseling services to help all community members navigate the new healthcare law. This service is free of charge to any community member who would like to schedule an appointment. Please call 847-963-9163 x13 to make an appointment for this service.
PADS (Providing Advocacy, Dignity and Shelter Crisis Services, Inc.)--Providing shelter and services to those who are at risk of becoming homeless in suburban Cook County. The goal of PADS Emergency Shelter Program is to provide hospitality, food and overnight emergency shelter to the homeless between October 1 and April 30, seven days a week (including holidays.) The sites are staffed entirely by volunteers who prepare, supervise, and clean sleeping accommodations, along with preparing and serving breakfast, dinner and a sack lunch.
Pathways Housing Readiness Program--The shortage of affordable housing in northwest suburban Cook County was the driving force behind the creation of JOURNEY's Pathways Housing Readiness Program. The Pathways Program offers hope for someone ready to take the next step in moving out of homelessness, preparing them to become housing ready, while providing referrals and placement. Once housed, JOURNEY's clinical team provides clients with the necessary support and counseling services to promote stability and housing maintenance. Clients' goals are monitored and supervised through one-on-one clinical guidance to increase the potential for self-sufficiency and the final goal of matintaining permanent housing.
A Just Harvest--7649 North Paulina, Chicago 60626. 773-262-2297. A Just Harvest Community Kitchen serves a nutritious dinner 365 days a year to anyone in need.
Hilda's Place at the Lake Street Church--1458 Chicago Avenue, Evanston 60201. 847-475-7070 and please follow the prompts. Call ahead to schedule an intake appointment for placement. Hilda's Place is operated by Connections for the Homeless and provides overnight transitional shelter for men only from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Dormitory-style housing is provided for individual clients for up to 90 days with the goal of moving into housing upon exit. Volunteers at the shelter provide breakfast and dinner daily. Family services, prevention and other programs are available through Connections for the Homeless, 2121 Dewey, Evanston 60201, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Hospitality Center at St. Mark's Episcopal Church--1509 Ridge Avenue, Evanston 60201. 847-475-1150. Hospitality Center is operated by the Evanston Ecumenical Council (EEAC) and offers morning shelter from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Services include employment counseling, spiritual guidance, nutritious snacks, medical, mental health and educational referrals. Facilities may be used for grooming.
See the Volunteer Center website for soup kitchens in Evanston that offer meals and support
Hunger Coalition Hotline--800-359-2163. Call for help with SNAP applications and for directions to a Food Pantry near you.