The Pritzker Administration, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), has launched a new initiative to help Illinois families access and afford home energy assistance and other essential services during COVID-19. Building on the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, the State’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) budget authorizes an expansion of the LIHEAP and CSBG programs for eligible Illinoisans seeking emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food, and other household necessities.
Effective immediately, the Help Illinois Families initiative is implementing an online pre-application form to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to start the application process remotely and to determine eligibility for LIHEAP and/or CSBG services. Increased eligibility thresholds for FY21 aims to assist additional households needing support due to challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.
This initiative remains available for all qualifying low-income households, regardless of how they may be affected COVID-19. Eligible families may qualify for hundreds of dollars of support; all applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. Click here for the LIHEAP Fact Sheet.
General Election and Vote By Mail Information
Make sure you, your family members and friends are registered to vote so you can vote early. Requesting a ballot now can prevent the U.S. Postal Service from being overwhelmed amid cuts, so make your voice heard by voting by mail early!
For All Illinoisans:
Hispanic Heritage Month: English Learner Resource Awareness
In this time of national recognition during Hispanic Heritage Month, our friends and partners at the Latino Policy Forum are asking all to help spread awareness for the growing number of English Learners (ELs) and new research-based recommendations for their success in this unprecedented era of COVID-19.
The Latino Policy Forum has developed a digital toolkit to spread the word and an English Learner resource hub for educators, policymakers, and community and school-based leaders. It includes research-based resources, case studies, and policy recommendations focused on investments that will make a meaningful impact for the success of EL students.
Please use this digital toolkit to share these materials and resources on your platforms and social media to ensure ELs receive the recognition and resources they deserve. Send any questions to Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro, Director of Education Policy & Research at Latino Policy Forum.
Reducing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids—founded in 1996—is a membership organization comprised of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement executives, and violence survivors comprise the membership of Fight Crime. Fight Crime members have seen the benefits that evidence-based home visiting programs can provide. A summary of the report highlights that these programs provide, “'parent coaching' from a trained professional, starting as early as pregnancy and extending into the first few years of a child’s life—years during which the human brain goes through its most rapid development and is most vulnerable to the negative repercussions of adverse experiences. Through periodic home visits, parents are equipped with the tools and skills they need to stimulate and nurture their child’s development and avoid harmful parenting practices." Click here to read the full report.
Invitation to Complete the Housing Development Blueprint Survey
The Housing Blueprint is a statewide planning endeavor that will develop a vision for the future of housing in Illinois, and lay out a plan for achieving it. The Blueprint is coordinated by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA); however, it is a product of the collective participation and collaboration of a wide and diverse group of agencies, organizations, and residents from across the state. The Blueprint strives to engage and raise the voices of all Illinoisans, including those of families with young children, to understand the realities, needs, and hopes for housing within communities both now and in the future.
All individuals are invited to take part in the Blueprint’s process. Click here to take the survey.
Early Childhood Funding Commission Public Online Survey, July-August 2020
The Governor's Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding is seeking input and feedback from families, providers, and community members on how to ensure better access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for children birth to age five. Click here to share your feedback in English; oprime aquí para compartir sus opiniones en Español.
Illinois’ Response to COVID-19
The State of Illinois is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways. This page will be updated as new programs and policies are modified and/or introduced. We also invite you to stay up-to-date with child care and early education policy information with our monthly e-newsletter, eAdvocate. Sign up!
Get Your Stimulus Check!
Most Illinoisans are eligible for Economic Impact Payments from the federal government. Even if you have no income you are eligible, but you might have to take action to receive your check.
You could receive up to $1,200 ($2,400 for a married couple) and $500 for each eligible dependent. This site will help take you through each step so you can get your payment as quickly as possible.
Emergency SNAP Allotments
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is issuing emergency SNAP (LINK) supplements to more than 450,000 SNAP households to help buy food during the pandemic crisis. Fact sheets available in English and Spanish.
COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. Learn more.
Latest Illinois Executive Orders Related to COVID-19
- Executive Order Number 15
SUSPENDS PROVISIONS IN THE ILLINOIS SCHOOL CODE — Suspends requirements on the administration of assessments, school terms, and the calculation of daily pupil attendance. Allows ISBE to implement rules regarding remote learning. Permits the use of early childhood block grant funding to provide child care for children of employees performing essential work. Any bids received by a school district for construction purposes may be communicated and accepted electronically.
Executive Order 2020-15 (HTML) (English) (Arabic) (Polish) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Hindi)
- Executive Order Number 12
SUSPENDS HEALTHCARE WORKER'S BACKGROUND CHECKS Individuals who are certified as a nurse assistant, but are currently inactive on the Health Care Worker Registry, may be hired under certain provisions, such as the inactive status being no more than five years and limiting conditional employment to three months pending the result of a more extensive background check.
Executive Order 2020-12 (HTML) (English)
- Executive Order Number 11
ESSENTIAL HUMAN SERVICES OPERATIONS — Individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain any Human Services Operations, such as adoption agencies, long-term care facilities, residential settings for individuals with disabilities and day care centers for children of essential employees. Illinois school districts do not need approval by the school board for an e-learning curriculum.
Executive Order 2020-11 (HTML) (English) (Arabic) (Polish) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Hindi)
- Executive Order Number 10
STAY AT HOME — All individuals must stay at home, with exceptions for essential activities, essential government functions, and essential businesses and operations. All non-essential business and operations must cease, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. Business can continue with employees working from home. Local government units across the state must halt all evictions, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
Executive Order 2020-10 (HTML) (English) (Arabic) (Polish) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Hindi)
View all Executive Orders related to COVID-19