Homelessness Prevention Resources

Many resources are available to help families and individuals with financial assistance for their security deposit and first month’s rent. There are other useful resources for information or referrals to programs that may provide direct assistance.

Who is Eligible

Individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This includes families doubling up in homes with relatives and families without secure housing.

Why Apply

If an individual is eligible for financial assistance, they may receive assistance for their security deposit, first month’s rent, mortgage, and/or utilities.

To Apply For

The following resources are available to individuals and families facing homelessness:

Catholic Charities – Assists with security deposits and first month’s rent on new apartments (paid directly to the new landlord). Call (312) 655-7700 or visit online to ask for assistance with homeless prevention funding.

The Homeless Prevention Call Center – Assists families and individuals to determine their eligibility for financial assistance with rent, mortgage, or utilities. Call 311. For more information, click here.

Suburban Cook County Homeless Prevention Call Center – Screens for financial assistance for rent, utilities, security deposits, moving costs, and storage fees. Call (877) 426-6515. For more information, click here.

Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) – Assists with rental payments and security deposits for families with an open DCFS services case. Individuals should contact their case manager or call DCFS at (312) 814-6800. Former Illinois wards or former wards from other states under age 21 should contact the Youth Housing Assistance Program at (312) 814-5571. For more information, click here.

DHS Emergency Food and Shelter Program – Gives immediate and comprehensive shelter services. Call (800) 843-6154 or click here.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless – Provides useful information and community organization on the fight against homelessness and in support of affordable housing. Call (800) 940-1119. For more information, click here.

Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness – Provides useful information and research on homelessness in Chicago, which can be found here.

All Chicago Emergency Fund - Provides various options for emergency funds to help with a housing crisis. Information can be found here.

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Eviction Protections

Landlords seeking to evict their tenants for failure to pay rent or other violations must follow proper procedures, including filing a lawsuit against the tenant and serving the tenant with a termination-of-tenancy notice. This notice can be a 5-day notice (nonpayment of rent), 10-day notice (violation of terms of the lease), or a 30-day notice (if you do not have a written lease).

Landlords cannot resort to other means to evict a tenant. For example, all “lock-outs” are illegal, including changing locks, shutting off utilities, removing furniture from the unit, etc. The police should be contacted if the landlord tries to evict a tenant without first going to court. Note that this requirement remains even if the property is under foreclosure. 

Links to Important Resources

Determine if an individual qualifies for rental assistance.

Directory of Emergency Shelters in Illinois

Resources for Homeless Youth


Topics: Emergency Cash Assistance, Housing
Tags: Section 8, Homelessness Prevention
Last updated May 22, 2018

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