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Stay at Home, Covid-19 Resource Page — October 2020

Stay at Home, Covid-19 Resource Page — October 2020

This page will include a list of resources that may be relevant to Progress Center Consumers, members of the Progress Center Community, and to members of the disability community in the midst of the Covid-19 Health Crisis.

October 2020: Progress Center’s office remains closed to the public in Forest Park and in Blue Island.  The only exception is for people who are applying for an amplified phone.  By appointment only, Progress Center is meeting with people who have a voucher to secure an amplified phone.  To set up an appointment, call 708-209-1500.

PPE — Also, Progress Center has Personal Protective Equipment on hand at the Forest Park Office.  If you are in need of PPE, or if you have a personal assistant or family member in need of PPE, please contact the Progress Center office at 708-209-1500.

Update, August 2020: Progress Center’s office remain closed in August.  Staff are working remotely. There is someone taking calls at the Forest Park Office.  If you have questions or need services, please contact the main Forest Park Number — 708-209-1500. The person taking calls will make sure your message is delivered to the correct person.

Protective Equipment:  Progress Center has masks and protective equipment available for people with disabilities in the community.  For information, contact

Or, fill out this survey about your protective equipment needs: Protective Equipment Survey

Progress Center is also seeking volunteers to help with the distribution of protective equipment. To volunteer your time, please complete this survey:  Volunteer Survey

Also, for people with disabilities in the Illinois Home Services Program, your local DRS Office will provide protective equipment upon request.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that all people wear a mask who go outside and come into contact with other people.  Statistics show that about 25 percent of people who are carrying Covid-19 may not show signs of the illness and may feel healthy. Because of this, people who feel healthy and go outside risk spreading the illness to other people.  That is why the CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask.  Because resources are scarce, it can be difficult to secure a mask.  Some people have decided to make their own mask.  On April 5, the Chicago Tribune published a piece about how to build a mask for yourself at home.  The link to the story is here2020-Covid -19-How-to-sew-a-face-mask with instructions about how to build a mask.

In Oak Park, Illinois, free masks are available at the local police statio

Currently, the region served by Progress Center is in Stage Three of Covid-19 Recovery. Here is a link to NBC Channel 5 with information about what is allowed and what businesses can operate under Stage Three (Update: Illinois is now in Stage Four.  Here is a new link to an NBC Channel 5 resource with information about Stage Four)

Testing for Covid-19:  This information is taken from the Oak Park Village:  The state has opened its community-based COVID-19 testing sites to everyone regardless of symptoms or other criteria. No appointment, doctor referral or insurance is needed, and testing is free. Public health officials say testing is crucial to identifying new cases and taking immediate action to prevent additional spread. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) also is recommending that anyone who has been part of a mass gathering, including rallies and protests over the past week, get tested for COVID-19. A list of testing sites is posted at The list of free, community-based testing sites is posted at

Covid-19 Relief/Stimulus Checks:  According to news that Progress Center received from a Chicago Foundation, Byline Bank will cash stimulus checks for those individuals and families who may not bank.  Byline Bank will not charge fees.  Here is a listing of Byline Banks that are operating during the Stay at Home Order in Illinois.


Personal Assistant Services:  Though this order includes an exception for personal assistant services, it is very possible that some people with disabilities may experience a need for services during this health crisis.  If you are in suburban Cook County, and you are in need of services, contact a member of Progress Center’s Personal Assistant Department —

  • Home Services Manager:  708-209-1500 ext 21;
  • Personal Assistant Advocate:; 708-689-1381– Videophone
  • Personal Assistant Advocate:

Emergency Home Services (this program expired July 31, 2020. If you need emergency services, please contact Progress Center. We will attempt to place you with a personal assistant as soon as possible):  If you are a member of the Home Services Program in Illinois, and if your Personal Assistant is unable to work because of the Covid-19 Crisis, there is a new program set up to help fill the immediate void in services. The Emergency Back Up Programs allows you to hire a provider through an expedited process.  Contact Progress Center if you need emergency services because your regular personal assistant is unable to work because of Covid-19, (708-209-1500 ext 14).

Also, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living has set up a hotline. Home Services can call this line and request emergency services. Here is the number:  1-800-587-1287

Benefits Counseling: Telehealth services in Illinois are expanding in the midst of the healthcare crisis. Here is a link to a page on the Illinois Health and Family Services website that explains more: Telehealth Services  If you have questions about current services or other benefits, Progress Center has benefits counselors on staff who can assist. Benefits Staff:

  • Benefits Advocate:; 708-209-1500 ext 22
  • Benefits Advocate:

If you disagree with a decision made by the State of Illinois about your benefits and wish to file an appeal or check the status of an existing appeal, visit this link:  Appeals

Food Services:

From the Beyond Hunger Website:

Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry has a bold new look and a mission-driven name!

Our new name, Beyond Hunger, reflects the steadfast dedication and collaborative spirit of Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, while allowing us to more accurately express our mission to end hunger in all the communities we serve.

Beyond Hunger is who we are and where we are going. It is now more inclusive of the 13 zip codes we serve, with all of our programs and services:  Click here for Information

State of Illinois:

State of Illinois Covid-19 Response PageLink to Page Here

Support for people who are experiencing social isolation, (New August 2020):   The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) received $1.7 million through the CARES Act from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living to provide services to older adults and persons with disabilities who are socially isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois Care Connections will provide technology devices such as iPads or Tablets to participants to help facilitate social connections with family and friends on a first come first serve basis.

Participants receiving services through IDoA, IDHS-DD and IDHS-DRS providers and programs are eligible if they have been socially isolated as a result of the Coronavirus and are experiencing loneliness and a lack of connectedness.  Contact Progress Center for help with the application.


New Toll-Free Number:  The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is proud to announce the launch of a new toll-free number for all DRS customers to use during the current global pandemic.  Existing or prospective customers can call 1-877-581-3690 to receive assistance regarding DRS programs and services that are designed to allow those with disabilities throughout the state to live, learn, and work independently.  These services include in-home services, assistive technology, vocational and occupational rehabilitation, educational services for individuals with all types of disabilities, including Deaf or hard-of-hearing Illinoisans, Blind people, and people with low vision, along with other supports.

State of Illinois Home Services Program Page:  The Home Services Program funds personal assistants for thousands of people with disabilities in Illinois.  This page has been updated frequently amidst the Covid-19 Health Crisis. Link to Page Here.  Now also, there is an emergency back up program for people whose personal assistant may be unable to work because of Covid-19.  If you need emergency back up services, contact Progress Center at 708-209-1500 ext 14.

Emotional and Mental Health Support Line:   The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division has launched a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0, or for Spanish, “HABLAR” to the same number: 5-5-2-0-2-0. Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous.Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support.  Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how navigate and access supports and services.  Here is link to news release with more information.

Family Community Resource CentersThis map has a list of Resource Centers that remain open

Benefits Appeals:   If you disagree with a decision made by the State of Illinois about your benefits and wish to file an appeal or check the status of an existing appeal, visit this link:  Appeals

Employment and Financial:

This information taken from the Oak Park Village Website:  A state-sponsored web portal connects workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with available job and career training opportunities. Called Get Hired Illinois, the website provides a one-stop-shop for job seekers and employers, and includes information on job opportunities and unemployment resources. Officials say the online portal is designed to be user-friendly for job seekers of all levels and backgrounds and allows employers to upload jobs, virtual career fairs and training opportunities. More information is available at

Page with information about Covid-19 Unemployment Benefits and about Federal Stimulus and Unemployment.

Promoting Financial Health and Resiliency for People with Disabilities and Their Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Visit this Link Here

Paycheck Protection Program: Frequently Asked Questions:  The Paycheck Protection Program are grants awarded to small businesses for payroll. This link on the State of Illinois Website has a set of FAQs — Visit this link

Information about SNAP Benefits during the Covid-19 Pandemic:  Illinois SNAP recipients will begin receiving maximum benefit amounts this week

Employment and Employer Services: Employment & Employer Services (E&ES) partners with local businesses in high-demand, growing industries throughout the Chicagoland region and connects local job seekers with these high demand career opportunities and quality jobs​.  Calendar of Events at this Link

Village of Forest Park:

Progress Center’s main office is in Forest Park. Here is a link to the Village of Forest Park Covid-19 Update Page

Village of Blue Island:

The Progress Center satellite office is in Blue Island. Here is a link to the Village of Blue Island webpage, which also has information relevant to local residents, regarding Covid-19.

Village of Oak Park:

The Village of Oak Park neighbors Forest Park.  Before Illinois issued the Stay at Home Executive Order, Oak Park issued a Shelter in Place order. The Oak Park site has a lot of Covid-19 resources.

On April 16, the Village of Oak Park posted this message about a support line that people can contact if they are feeling stressed or anxious:  If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed, get support 24/7 by calling 1.800.985.5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

The Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park (CMHB) has a Resource Guide that will be updated weekly at this link:

Oak Park Homelessness Coalition, Link to Page Here:  From the home page of the site — “Because the COVID-19 outbreak is a public health and economic crisis, the Flexible Rental Assistance Program (FRAP) is available to those who require financial support to maintain or secure stable housing.   This program, which is conducted through Housing Forward, provides individuals and families who are at risk or experiencing homelessness with emergency financial assistance that is aimed towards preventing homelessness or aiding those that are in between stable housing. To stay up to date on news, go to”

Oak Park Township:

With partner agency, Oak Park Township is delivering these services —

  • Delivering meals and groceries to home-bound, qualifying older adult and disabled adult residents. Over 100 volunteer applications have been received.
  • “Take-out” meals are available to older adults for a minimal suggested donation due to partial funding from AgeOptions. We’ve seen an increase in requests of over 30% since mid-March.
  • Transporting older adults to dialysis and medical appointments.
  • Continuing case management counseling to youth and older adults via tele-conferences and phone calls. Referrals are higher by 20% with reported increases in anxiety and depression among students.
  • Assisting homeowners, landlords and commercial property owners with tax appeals during this reassessment year via phone appointment. To date, over 1500 appeals applications have been completed.
  • Providing referrals for financial assistance, housing, food to unemployed residents. We’ve received over 45 calls from residents needing help.

Other Resources:

Information in Chinese on Covid-19: The World Health Organization China Office published this guide in Chinese with visuals for people with disabilities.

The National Council on Disability is the national group that represents all centers for independent like Progress Center.  The National Council is working hard to keep the community informed and engaged during this period. Here is the National Council on Disability page about Covid-19.

Access Living:  Access Living is the center for independent living that serves Chicago. They also have worked diligently to keep the community informed. Here is the Access Living page on Covid-19.

Age Options:  Progress Center partners with Age Options through the Make Medicare Work Coalition and through our work with Healthcare Benefits Counseling. Throughout the Covid-19 Crisis, Age Options has been collecting valuable resources and linking its partners with important information. Here is a link to an Age Options Resource Page:  Resource Page

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionHere is a Covid-19 page from the CDC

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionInformation for Older Adults  

Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission:  A resource page on Covid-19 from the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission.

Behavioral Health:  In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, like COVID 19, local officals may require the public to take measures to limit and control the spread of the disease. This tip sheet provides information about social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care for your behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help. Please share freely, this may be useful for a number of people including staff.  STRATEGIES TO COPE WITH FEELINGS FROM SOCIAL DISTANCING, QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION

ILRU:  ILRU is a training and resource outlet for the national independent living network.  ILRU has a thorough listing of covid-19 resources at this link.

River Edge Hospital:  For anyone who may be experiencing a mental health crisis, River Edge Hospital is available for screening, intake, and referral during the Covid-19 Crisis. This is the phone number to call: 708-209-4181,

For questions, contact