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Alternative Housing Program

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) have partnered to provide two types of housing:

  • Suburban Cook County residents with COVID-19 that are ready to be discharged from the hospital but need temporary housing
  • Suburban Cook County healthcare workers, first responders, and correctional officers who need a place to stay so that they can safely quarantine away from household members who are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19

Please see below for information about eligibility and answers to common questions. If you have additional questions, please call: 312-864-COOK (2665) or email [email protected].

Eligibility

Those that are eligible for housing upon being discharged from the hospital include:

  • homeless or housing insecure
  • those who do not have a separate room and bathroom to safely isolate at home
  • Only suburban Cook County residents are eligible for the program. The discharging hospital can be from Chicago or suburban Cook County Hospitals.

Those who are eligible for respite housing include, but are not limited to:

  • healthcare workers, including: respiratory therapists, certified nursing assistants, patient care technicians, nurses, cleaning staff, transporters, radiology techs, and medical assistants, among others
  • first responders, including: police, fire, and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel employed or contracted by a governmental entity
  • correctional employees

Healthcare workers and first responders must live or work in suburban Cook County in order to be eligible for the respite housing program.

Given the limited supply of hotel space, organizations and agencies are asked to give priority to workers who may not be able to afford to rent a hotel room.

Respite housing will be offered in 7-day increments. Renewal will be based on the availability of housing and what is needed to address the immediate threat to public health and safety.

How to Apply

People who are being discharged from the hospital will be referred to the program by hospital discharge. Hospital discharge can call 312-864-COOK (312-864-2665).

Healthcare workers (including cleaning and food service staff) who need housing because of ongoing exposure to people with COVID-19, should:

  1. Fill out the HEALTHCARE WORKER VERIFICATION FORM at the bottom of this page with their supervisor.
  2. More information is available in the HEALTHCARE WORKER LETTER.
  3. Email the form to the email address on the form.
  4. The individual will be contacted about housing. 

 

Cook County Sheriff’s Office workers who need housing because of ongoing exposure to people with COVID-19 should:

  1. Fill out the COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE VERIFICATION FORM at the bottom of this page with their supervisor.
  2. More information is available in the COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE LETTER.
  3. Email the form to the email address on the form.
  4. The individual will be contacted about housing. 

 

First responders who need housing because of ongoing exposure to people with COVID-19, should:

  1. Fill out the FIRST RESPONDER VERIFICATION FORM at the bottom of this page with their supervisor.
  2. More information is available in the FIRST RESPONDER LETTER.
  3. Email the form to the email address on the form.
  4. The individual will be contacted about housing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the housing located?
Alternative housing is currently situated in the northwest suburbs, and planning is underway for the south suburbs.

Is there enough housing available?
We have ample space to meet the current needs and we will increase our capacity as needed.

Can someone not staying at Respite Housing such as a family member visit someone who is staying at Respite Housing?
No, visits will not be allowed unless they are to drop off essential items like medications. The purpose of respite housing is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from first responders, healthcare workers, and correctional officers to members of their family. Non-essential travel is still prohibited under the Governor’s Shelter-in-Place Order. Essential workers must still follow the law outside of their work hours.

Are pets allowed to stay or visit Respite Housing?
No, pets are not allowed to stay or visit Respite Housing. There have been cases of COVID-19 in pets, and animals should be kept separate from people who are sick or with known exposures to the virus. Service animals are allowed.

Who can I contact for more information?
People interested in learning more can call: 312-864-COOK (2665) or email [email protected].