How to Get Help

Find important information and resources in Lake County to help you, your family, or organization during this unprecedented time. We will continue to add more resources to this page as we learn about them. Download a printable list of a resources in Lake County.

Important
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow these steps to help protect yourself and other people in your home and community.

Call 211 to Get Connected to the Help You Need 

If you need help finding any social service, including resources for finding food, healthcare, paying your utility bills, mental health services, etc., please reach out to United Way of Lake County’s free, confidential 211 service through any of the following: 

Breakfast & Lunch for Children

Even though schools are closed, many schools are still offering breakfast and lunch to feed the many children in Lake County who depend on the meals. View an interactive map in which you can type in your address and find the nearest school in your area serving breakfast/lunch. Click on any dot on the map to view the address and a link to more info for that school district.

Child Care Assistance Program

During the declared COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the children of individuals working in healthcare, human services, essential government services (such as corrections, law enforcement, fire department), and essential infrastructure are eligible to receive childcare through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). A dedicated help line has been created so Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) can help connect essential workers families to emergency childcare.

  • Call toll-free 888-228-1146     
  • Text 312-736-7390 Monday - Friday between 8:30 AM-5:00 PM  

To find childcare in your area, go to https://emergencycare.inccrra.org/ and enter your zip code or select your county from the drop-down.

Food Pantries

Northern Illinois Food Bank partners with feeding programs across 13 counties to serve people needing food. Use the locator map or download a printable list (English, Spanish) to find local food pantries or soup kitchens. 

Health Insurance

Get Covered Illinois

Did you lose your health insurance when you lost your job? Did you know that you may be able to purchase coverage under the Affordable Care Act?

The ACA Health Insurance Marketplace offers a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for people who have lost employer-based health insurance coverage due to job loss. Job loss is considered a “Qualifying Life Event” for special enrollment, and some people may even qualify for subsidies (tax credits) to help reduce monthly premiums and other costs. Visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov for details.

Loans for Lake County Businesses

U.S. Small Business Administration

If you own a small business, run a private non-profit, or are self-employed in Lake County facing financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be eligible for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The application filing deadline is Dec. 21, 2020.  
 
Apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information on the SBA website, or call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

Fact sheet 

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

Businesses located outside the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible to apply for low-interest loans of up to $50,000. Learn more about eligibility and how to apply.

Those that need assistance or have questions can schedule a free, confidential one-on-one virtual advising session. Visit www.clcillinois.edu/sbdc-itc to learn more.

Rent & Utility Assistance

The Lake County COVID Housing Relief Program (CHRP) provides rent and utility assistance for eligible households financially impacted by COVID-19. If you are a Lake County resident and need help paying rent or utility bills, please call 211. To learn more about the Lake County COVID Housing Relief Program, click here.

Utilities

North Shore Gas

North Shore Gas is offering bill payment arrangement options and financial assistance. If you are having trouble paying your bill, call 866-556-6004 to discuss a payment plan or learn about financial assistance. It is also suspending disconnects for all customers, except in the case of natural gas leaks or unsafe conditions, and is waiving late payment charges. 

Lake County Public Works

The Lake County Public Works Department has issued a moratorium on shutoffs and a cessation of late and penalty fees beginning 3/17/2020 until the state’s disaster proclamation has been lifted. Please contact pwbilling@lakecountyil.gov for more information.

Veterans Assistance Commission 

Any Lake County Veteran in need of assistance with housing is urged to contact the Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission for help. Call (847) 377-3344 or email veterans@lakecountyil.gov.