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General Assistance

General Assistance is a locally administered program that provides financial assistance to eligible Oak Park residents in accordance with the Illinois Department of Human Services guidelines, and offers referrals and information regarding eligibility for other assistance-type programs.

Emergency Assistance

Sudden financial hardship can be incredibly stressful on a family or individual when you can't pay living expenses such as rent, mortgage, utliities, and others. At these times, Oak Park and River Forest Residents can apply for Emergency Assistance - a one-time financial benefit to help cover a cost that solves challenges such as potential eviction or utility shutdown.

Emergency Assistance Flyer

Energy Service Benefits

The Program year began on October 2, 2023 and will run until August 15, 2024. To help the most vulnerable populations within the communities first, there will be two (2) priority periods where only select households will be eligible to apply before the program is offered to all eligible Cook County Residents.

Priority Group 1- Beginning October 2nd households with a senior (60+), person(s) with a disability and families with children under the age of 6 can apply for benefits. This population is also eligible to apply for furnace repair or replacement. The funds for the furnace assistance program have been exhausted.

Priority Group 2- Beginning November 1st households disconnected from one or both utilities can apply for benefits. This population is also eligible to apply for furnace repair or replacement. The funds for the Furnace Assistance Program have been exhausted. Note: During the month of November, households with seniors, disabled individuals, and/ or children under the age of 6 can also apply.

All Cook County Households - December 1st all other Cook County households may apply for benefits.

LIHEAP Program Information

General Assistance Qualifications

To qualify for General Assistance, applicants must:

  • Have no minor children under 18 unless applicant is the non-custodial parent
  • Be seeking employment or applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • Meet income and asset guidelines.
  • Not be eligible for other government-sponsored assistance.
  • Adhere to General Assistance Guidelines.

Related Resources for Financial Assistance

For more information about eligibility or to schedule an appointment, please call (708) 383-8005. General Assistance and Emergency Assistance applications and documents may be emailed to or you can drop off in our mailbox placed in front of the building at 105 S. Oak Park Avenue.

To apply for General Assistance, please make an appointment and be prepared to provide the following:

  • Proof of residency (lease, mortgage statement, or Housing Forward status letter).
  • Other documents to determine eligibility including, but not limited to: Social Security Disabillity status, Driver’s license or State ID, birth certificate, health insurance card, and proof of income for the past 30 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is General Assistance and how can I apply if I am in need?

General Assistance is a locally administered program which provides financial assistance to persons who are not eligible for any other state or federal assistance programs and who do not have income or resources to provide for their own basic needs. An application and needed verification must be completed before assistance may be considered. An application may be obtained by coming to the General Assistance office or by making an appointment.

How do I know if I qualify for General Assistance?

You must be at least eighteen years old and a resident of Oak Park.

You must not be the custodial parent of a minor child.

If you are not working, applicants must maintain current registration with the Illinois Job Service and participate in a verifiable and active job search.

If you voluntarily left your job without due cause or were terminated for misconduct, you must wait thirty days after termination to file an application.

You are not eligible if you are a full or part-time college student.

If you are not a United States citizen, you must be an alien admitted under color of law and reside in this country for five years to be eligible.

You are ineligible if you live in a private or public institution, including psychiatric facilities.

All income and assets are included in determining your eligibility except the cash value of life insurance not exceeding $1,000, homestead property, and one automobile.

Applicants who are unable to work and have filed for Supplemental Security Income must submit SSI paperwork with their current status and additional eligibility information on request.

What are my responsibilities while I am a General Assistance recipient?

You must give complete information regarding income, assets, and means of support at the time of application. All changes in circumstance must be reported in person, via letter, or phone call within five working days of the change or prior to the expenditure of the most recent check received, whichever comes first. Those changes include family size, location, or receipt of income or assets which might affect the applicant's assistance.

The applicant is also expected to keep appointments and cooperate on referrals. If you receive more aid than warranted because of failure to report a change in circumstances, you will be required to repay the entire amount of excess assistance provided by the township. Persons who fail to comply may be prosecuted for fraud. A person guilty of fraud may be fined, imprisoned, or both. Anyone who encourages a person to misrepresent his or her case by any means is, by law, also guilty of fraud.

What if I am unhappy with the decisions made by Oak Park Township General Assistance?

You may appeal any decision by Oak Park General Assistance if you consider the decision unfair, you feel you have been unfairly forced to participate in a service program, or you feel you have been unfairly denied or excluded from a service program. Details of the appeal process are available upon request.

Other Available Resources

African American Christian Foundation

Job training, employment, and resume assistance; free computer training Serves youth and adults

6707 North Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302

Provides job search guidance for people with criminal backgrounds. A referral from Oak Park Township is required.

237 S. Desplaines Street
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 798-3300

Visit the Cara Collective website to learn more.

Chicago's Community Kitchen

Free job training for qualified and accepted applicants to gain food service experience, creating meals for Food Depository programs.  See the website for applicant requirements and more information.  Screening and orientation every Wednesday at 8:45 a.m.

4100 W. Ann Lurie Place
Pulaski & 42nd Place
Chicago, IL  60632

Chicago Furniture Bank

Oak Park and River Forest Townships have partnered with Chicago Furniture Bank to enroll eligible residents in their program. If interested in applying to receive an entire home's worth of furniture, please contact the Oak Park Township-General Assistance Department at 708 383-8005. To learn more about the program, please visit

Department of Rehab Services

Assists individuals with developmental disabilities

2215 Enterprise Drive Suite 1502
Westchester, IL 60154

Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago

The Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago Central Office has an employment program that provides job training and employment opportunities for eligible low-income individuals aged 55 and older.

Contact- Jennifer L. Burke, Vocational Program and Training Services Manager

1931 W 13th St, Ste 300
Chicago, IL 60608-1226

Employment Websites

Housing Forward (formerly PADS Shelter)

Homeless Shelter and support for homelessness prevention

1851 S. 9th Ave.
Maywood, IL 60153
708-338-1724 or 888-338-1744

Howard Community Center

Adult basic education, GED classes, and job placement

7648 N. Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60626

Oak Park Public Library - Main Branch

Free basic computer classes; 1:1 support also available; three branch locations throughout Oak Park

834 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60302

Job Search Resources - seminars, tech classes, and more are available at:

Social Security Administration "Ticket To Work" Program

Ticket To Work is a free and voluntary program that improves access to meaningful employment for people who receive disability benefits. Call or visit their website to contact an authorized provider in your area.

Ticket to Work Help Line: 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY)

Temporary Employment Agencies

People Ready 
7001 North Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302

Paramount Staffing 
7019 W. North Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302

Triton College Career Services

1:1 job search counseling is available, as well as computer access, job postings, job search workshops, and referrals. Specific walk-in scheduled hours are available Monday through Friday.

2000 Fifth Ave.  Room A-204
River Grove, IL  60171
708-456-0300, ext. 3619 or 3805

YMCA Rise Center

Career coaching for women only; free computer training for men and women

1 North LaSalle Street, Ste 1150
Chicago, IL 60602

Additional Resources

General Assistance

Access to Care

Health care for limited-income residents.

2225 Enterprise Drive, Suite 2507
Westchester, IL  60154
Fax: 708-531-0686

Cook County Health & Hospitals System - CountyCare

CountyCare is a Medicaid program for uninsured adults in Cook County through the Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform).  Residency and income guidelines apply to be eligible for the program.  Enrolled individuals will receive medical care from providers in the Cook County Health & Hospital System (CCHHS) and select community providers.

Call 312-864-8200 for more information.

Forest Park Vet Center

The Vet Center provides counseling, outreach, and referral services for veterans and their families. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:30 p.m.; evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

1515 S Harlem Ave
Forest Park, IL 60130
708-383-3225 or 877-927-8387

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Link to Illinois workforce services: job placement and referrals, insurance, employment and training programs, career and labor market information.

35 So. 19th Avenue
Maywood, IL  60153

Illinois Department of Human Services

Cash, SNAP, and Medical Assistance

West Suburban Office
2701 W. Lake St.
Melrose Park, IL 60160-3041
Fax: 708-338-7638

Legal Aid Foundation

The Legal Aid Foundation provides free legal services to low-income individuals and families.  They assist with foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, custody, and other legal issues except criminal, personal, injury, probate, or traffic cases. The phone lines open at 8 a.m.

120 S. LaSalle St.  Suite 900
Chicago, IL  60603

Salvation Army and Nicor Gas Sharing Program*

If you are not over the income threshold for the CEDA Energy LIHEAP program, you may be eligible for the Salvation Army Nicor Gas Sharing Program. There are four additional gas utility grants under the Nicor Sharing Program (income guidelines strictly apply.)

Please contact the GA/EA department at 708 383-8005 and ask to speak with the intake person. And/or, visit the NICOR website and click on the Energy Efficiency Program option to learn more about the Energy Assistance Programs.

There may be additional funding for Military Veterans and seniors 65 and better.

Provides emergency assistance to residents in over 200 suburban communities in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Supports people during crisis situations and identifies other community resources. Thrift stores are located throughout Cook County.

Division headquarters:

5040 N. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60630
Fax: 773-205-3585

* Gas Sharing applications may be processed through Prevail, 848 Lake Street, (708) 386-1946.

Social Security Administration

230 N Mannheim Road
Hillside, IL 60162

Thrive Counseling Center

Thrive is a nonprofit mental health center. It provides counseling for individuals, couples, and families. It also offers psychiatric services, 24/7 crisis services, youth services, in-home counseling for seniors, and other specialized programs. Thrive accepts most major insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Sliding scale fee available for residents without insurance.

120 S. Marion St
Oak Park, IL  60302

Village of Oak Park Public Health Department

123 Madison St.
Oak Park, IL  60302
Fax: 708-358-5115

Homelessness Prevention

Catholic Charities of Chicago Northwestern Suburbs
Suburban Cook County Homeless Prevention Center

721 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60610

1400 S. Austin Blvd.
Cicero, IL  60804
Fax: 708-222-1495

1717 Rand Rd.
DesPlaines, IL  60016

Chicago Emergency Fund

Financial aid can be provided for rental and utility assistance, security/utility deposits, moving assistance, and motel/hotel vouchers. Documentation is required. Due to anticipated demand, call wait time can be lengthy.

208 S. LaSalle, Suite 1356
Chicago, IL  60604
Call 311

Featherfist Homeless Shelter – Chicago

2255 E. 75th St.
Chicago, IL 60649
Fax: 773-721-7144

Housing Forward (formerly West Suburban PADS – Public Action to Deliver Shelter)

Housing Forward provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, emergency assistance, job-search support, community outreach, and homelessness prevention. Download their list of resources on the current street card here.
1851 S. 9th Ave.
Maywood, IL  60153

Lawyer's Committee for Better Housing

Any tenant in a building that is being foreclosed has rights. The Lawyer's Committee for Better Housing can assist. Please call the free Tenants in Foreclosure Help Line below or visit the LCBH website for more information.
33 N. LaSalle
Suite 900
Chicago, IL  60602
855-207-8347 (toll-free)

Other Social Services

CARA Program

Assists people with criminal backgrounds. Need referral from Oak Park Township.

237 S. DesPlaines
Chicago, IL  60661

Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) of Cook County

Child and family development, health and nutrition services, senior citizen programs, economic development, employment and job training, housing, education, and community development.

6141 West Roosevelt Road
Cicero, IL 60804
Fax: 708-222-0026

Cook County GED

Provides locations of preparation classes and registration for the GED Test
Cook County GED Testing Program
Illinois Community College Board – GED
P.O. Box 88725
Chicago, IL  60680

800-321-9511; 847-328-9795

Executive Clemency and Expungement

Governor Pat Quinn – Springfield
Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 East Madison St., Suite A
Springfield, IL  62701
Fax: 217-524-0012

Haymarket Center

Assists people with drug and alcohol abuse through detox programs, housing, counseling, employment opportunities, etc.
932 W. Washington
Chicago, IL 60607
Fax: 312-226-8048

Way Back Inn / Grateful House

Provides housing and counseling as well as other resources to help promote a healthy lifestyle for those with a history of chemical abuse. Must have the ability and willingness to maintain full-time employment and must not have a history of chronic violent behavior.

1915 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Broadview, IL  60155
Fax: 708-344-2944

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