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.
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.
You can also visit our COVID-19 Testing page to learn more about getting tested for COVID-19 in Lake County. COVID-19 testing and treatment is available to all Illinois residents, including those without insurance. Testing and treatment do not count towards Public Charge. Reach the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights by texting “HC4ALL” to 52886.
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:
- Call 211 from your phone
- Text your zip code to 898211
- Visit 211lakecounty.org
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.
Individuals co-quarantined or isolated with an abuser can contact the following services:
A Safe Place
A Safe Place is the sole provider of services exclusively addressing domestic violence and human trafficking in Lake County, Illinois.
- A Safe Place 24-Hour Help Line: (847) 249-4450
- Toll-Free Help Line: 1-800-600-SAFE
- TTY: (847) 249-6557
- Visit asafeplaceforhelp.org
Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline
- Call 1-877-TO END DV or 877-863-6338
- TTY: 1-877-863-6339
National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Call 1-800-799-7233
- Chat at thehotline.org
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.
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 email@example.com for more information.
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.
Mental Health Services
Crisis Care Program
The Lake County Health Department’s Crisis Care Program has a free, confidential hotline staffed by professional counselors for those experiencing a mental health crisis or substance use issue. Services are available 24/7 to anyone. Call (847) 377-8088 or walk in to 3002 Grand Avenue, Waukegan. People can also get connected to this line by calling 211.
Illinois Call4Calm is a free emotional support text line for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. To speak with a local mental health professional, text “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish) to 552020.
Public Benefit Programs
People can apply for public benefit programs including healthcare (Medicaid), food (SNAP), and cash assistance at ABE, the State of Illinois' Application for Benefits Eligibility. The state also launched the IDHS Help is Here toll-free line at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP to assist with public benefit applications.
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.
The Illinois Commerce Commission suspended disconnections for all electric, natural gas, water and wastewater services. Late fees are waived. Click here to learn more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Free or Low Cost Internet
Many providers and programs are offering free or low cost internet. Click here to learn more.