The health and safety of our clients and our staff is HOW’s top priority in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are paying close attention to the developing conditions and adjusting the way we work to reduce risk while continuing to meet client needs.
To ensure the highest level of safety possible, the majority of HOW's staff is working remotely. Our offices at 1607 W. Howard St. and 400 W 76th Street (Ste. 360) are currently closed. Unless you have a confirmed appointment, please do not come to our offices.
We are committed to continuing to deliver housing and support services to the 1,300 clients we serve.
Latest Agency Update
Learn what HOW is doing in response to COVID-19 and HOW you can help below.
For two months HOW has operated in a new environment – Stay at Home. And while we have experienced many challenges, we also have seen some bright spots. We are more committed than ever to ensuring all our clients have safe housing and access to the support they need even if the way we connect has changed. We want to share a few updates with you regarding HOW’s programming.
HOW's Youth Program, facing a remote learning environment, refocused their efforts to ensure students’ educations continued without interruption despite school closures. The team created individualized education plans and helped 100+ HOW families connect to WiFi and secure laptops for online learning. Devices were purchased for the remaining HOW students who did not receive laptops through their schools. HOW’s afterschool tutoring program shifted to an online model with special Friday social sessions designed to keep students engaged. The Youth Team corresponds weekly with parents offering support and sharing educational resources.
HOW’s Employment Program is continuing to serve clients seeking employment and educational opportunities. The team partnered with Howard Area Community Center and is helping clients register and prepare for online GED classes and distributing laptops through HOW’s laptop loaner program. The team is providing accelerated employment placement and retention services with clients placed in emerging roles in Illinois' essential worker fields. Additionally, HOW’s Employment Program will move its monthly job readiness trainings to an online platform this month.
HOW’s Health Program completed bi-annual health assessments for clients by phone for the first time. The team remains focused on helping medically complex clients with phone-based care coordination which includes assistance scheduling appointments, attending telehealth visits, ensuring individuals receive necessary prescriptions, and checking in on clients' overall wellbeing. Despite policy efforts to protect Illinois residents, many have already lost their benefits during the pandemic, including Medicaid and SNAP benefits. HOW’s Health team is helping these clients navigate the appeal and application process to re-establish benefits as quickly as possible.
With the health and well-being of our supporters, partners, and community members top of mind, HOW has cancelled the Living Our Values gala planned for May 2nd.
Right now, HOW is providing housing and services to some of those most vulnerable to the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many clients are already sharing stories of job loss, not being able to see their doctors, growing worries of being unable to purchase groceries and supplies, and the familiar fear of being left behind.
Furthermore, HOW is projecting a $150,000 shortfall from the cancelled gala. We are committed to keeping clients housed and connected to the resources they need, but in order to do so, we need your help.
While we won't be able to be together in May, we hope you will still feel inspired to engage in our work and support HOW clients during these challenging times. You can do so by donating directly to our Client Stabilization Fund, and/or encouraging your network to become involved in HOW's work using one of our 5 creative ideas. Every contribution and new donor reached will help mitigate the extreme financial pressure and ensure HOW is equipped to support our clients through the lasting impact of this crisis.
All of our values, especially compassion, are guiding our work in these uncertain days. We know it is a time of grave concern for everyone, and we sincerely hope you, your family, and your community are feeling supported. In the same way, and with your help, we are striving to ensure that is also the case for HOW clients.
From all of us at HOW, thank you. We are so grateful for your continued generosity and support.
It's been ten days since our last update and as predicted, the COVID-19 crisis and measures to counter its spread have escalated rapidly. Since the state's Stay-At-Home Order we've had many of you ask the same two questions: how are HOW's clients holding up, and is there a way to help?
1. How are HOW's clients doing? Unfortunately, many of our clients fall into the CDC's defined "high-risk" category for COVID-19 because of their age and/or existing chronic health issues. Effective isolation measures and a lack of available resources have made it difficult to secure basic necessities such as medicines, groceries, and cleaning supplies. Many clients have been let go or had their hours severely reduced and find themselves without a source of income. HOW's mothers with school-aged children are afraid their kids will fall behind and are working to engage them in creative academic activities with little guidance and no tools. It's a trying time for our clients, but in response to these new challenges HOW's Case Managers, as well as our Youth, Health, and Employment teams, are developing solutions daily and helping our clients to immediately get the resources, information, and aid they need.
2. How can I help? HOW’s first priority is to keep its individuals and families housed and connected to vital resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of right now, the best way to help ensure we are able to do so is by making a donation to our Client Stabilization Fund and engaging your network in HOW's work. As our housing and services become more vital throughout this crisis, so too does our need for support.
HOW is still offering the essential services of housing and support to the 1,300 clients we serve.
We have been, and will continue, to connect our clients and staff to expert advice from the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Chicago Department of Public Health.
If you are a client, please check HOW’s COVID-19 website for resources and updated information about HOW’s operations. Know that we are working diligently to ensure you have what you need.
If you are a partner, thank you for being patient. We want to ensure that communication lines remain open. Feel free to reach out by phone or email to your direct contact, but understand there may be a delay in our ability to respond.
If you are a supporter, please donate today. The individuals and families HOW serves are among those most vulnerable in this pandemic. We will continue to provide updates on the needs of our clients and its impact on our agency, but your contribution right now will make us better equipped to deal with the challenges we are facing.