COVID-19 Pandemic Updates

The Chicago Federation of Labor Workforce and Community Initiative will remain available remotely to assist in any away possible and can be reached via email at


Chicago Labor Relief Fund 
The Chicago Federation of Labor Workforce & Community Initiative (“The Initiative”) is providing funds directly to workers impacted by the economic upheaval due to COVID-19 via its Chicago Labor Relief Fund (CLRF).  CLRF is providing essential resources to the individuals and households who are most impacted by the COVID epidemic such as emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, utility assistance and other costs.  CLRF is targeting these one-time $500 payments to union members that are may not qualify for unemployment insurance or other support programs. 
The Initiative will partner with impacted Union Locals who will determine which members will receive access to the funds.  We are doing this for three reasons:
  • Trust – the Local is a trusted source of information and support – with the number of COVID19 fraudulent schemes circulating it is important the information is coming from a trusted source.
  • Speed & Security – the Local knows their members and has their specific contact information – this eliminates the need for a general application process which is subject to fraudulent transactions, time consuming confirmation, record retention issues and compliance issues.
  • Targeted – the Local will know which members may not qualify for unemployment insurance – so we can make sure the support is going to individuals who may not receive other supports.
The Process
The Initiative:
  1. Raises money for the payments – either via the City and State COVID-19 response funds or through individual donations
  2. Funds raised are converted by the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in onetime use online codes worth $500 that are distributed in bulk to Union Locals 
 The Local:
  1. Identifies members that may not qualify for unemployment or other supports
  2. Sends out information – first come, first served or after screening need – on the availability of the funds to those targeted members 
  3. Sends the onetime use online code to each member 
  4. Identifies targeted members that can be featured in testimonials and press to encourage more donations 
The Member:
  1. Member gets the funds by filling out the financial and contact information on the (FII portal)
  2. Money is sent to the member or if more information is needed FII contacts the member and the Local 

The Local will provide the Initiative with an excel spreadsheet of the members it provided the onetime use online codes too.  FII will also provide the Initiative with an excel spreadsheet of the individuals it provided the onetime use online codes to.  The Initiative will reconcile the two lists to ensure the funds were appropriately distributed. 

Fees and Funding
FII is generously covering the costs for use of their portal, codes, tech support, and costs related to sending funds.  Locals will not receive any funding for administrative costs.  The Initiative is not receiving any funding for administrative costs for the CLRF.   


The Initiative is directly raising funds to provide more money for workers.  The Initiative will have to pay digital ad fees and processing fees for accepting those donations.  The Initiative is seeking donations to cover those fees so that 100% of the money raised goes directly to individuals.  If a donor is not identified to cover those fees, then those fees will be deducted from any online donations.

You can learn more about the Chicago Labor Relief Fund by clicking here. 


CFL Cares

In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the Chicago Federation of Labor has launched , a resource for Chicago workers to help keep themselves safe and learn more about local public health and economic efforts. Many workers in Chicago and beyond are concerned for their health and financial well-being. The CFL is doing everything it can to keep workers safe and mitigate the impacts of the outbreak.


This site will be updated with new information as it becomes available.


Unemployment Insurance
If you have experienced a loss of hours or your company has shut down, you might be eligible for Unemployment Insurance.  To find out more click here.

Illinois Worknet 

Illinois workNet® is the state’s primary employment and training resource for workforce development. Illinois workNet offers unique features, such as locally and geographically tailored information, that benefits individuals, businesses, and workforce professionals.  For out more at



Illinois Crisis Assistance Program

The Crisis Assistance Program provides payment for rent, food, clothes, household supplies and important essential furniture for families who are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and:

  • are homeless or may become homeless because of fire, flood or other natural disasters, such as tornado;
  •  do not have any food to eat because of fire, flood or other natural disaster;
  • are homeless or may become homeless because they were evicted from their home for any reason;
  • are deprived of food or needed clothing because of lost or stolen cash; or
  • are homeless because someone in their former home physically abused them; or
  • are deprived of food, clothing, or rent due to forcing an abuser who is the primary wage-earner from the home.

Families who receive TANF cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services may also receive help paying for transportation, lodging and food needed for travel to get essential or specialized medical care.


Call the automated help line at 1-800-843-6154 or click here to be linked to their website. 



Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance

Emergency Rental Assistance is available for people suffering financial hardship due to a crisis such as loss of job, home fire or illness. The program is intended to allow families to maintain housing during the time it takes to regain stability.Eligible clients must demonstrate that moving forward they will have sufficient income to cover rent and other living expenses. The program offers a one-time grant up to $900 to cover one month’s rent. Applications can be filed at any of the City’s six Community Service Centers.


For more information about Emergency Rental Assistance, visit your local Community Service Center or call 3-1-1.


The Emergency Fund  

All Chicago administers the Emergency Fund which provides critical financial assistance to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness or another serious emergency. They can quickly provide payments on a person’s behalf for things like rent, utilities, or transportation.



Housing Forward – Suburban Cook County Emergency Services
Housing Forward has an Emergency Assistance program for suburban Cook County residents. The Emergency Assistance program provides referrals and emergency financial assistance for food, housing, utilities and transportation to individuals and families at urgent risk. The goal is to address the immediate crisis so the individual or family can work on additional steps on the path toward stability. The Prevail program’s staff and volunteers listen to each person’s individual situation and, working together with the client, use solutions-based counseling to develop a plan of action. Plans could include assistance for a range of services. 
Go to to learn more.