Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak

All Chicago will be updating this page as more information becomes available.
Find the Chicago COVID-19 Homeless System Agency Emergency Fund here.
Join our weekly webinars, Friday at 1:00pm here.
Join our Chicago CoC Slack channel here.
See our Homeless System FAQs here (updated 5/6/2020).

Introduction to Using This Webpage

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

The purpose of this webpage is to consolidate and organize information about coronavirus that is relevant to housing service providers and others in Chicago that serve people experiencing homelessness. Due to the rapidly evolving situation, much of this information is in the form of links to other sources. If you have feedback about this webpage, please contact

All Chicago is currently working with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to monitor and provide guidance for housing service providers on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As additional information is released we will share it as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Glossary of Terms

This list contains terms that are used frequently within Chicago’s homeless response system and Continuum of Care when speaking about and responding to COVID-19. If you have any questions or suggestions related to this list, please email


COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the coronavirus. Both the highly infectious disease, COVID-19, and the virus itself, coronavirus, are used to describe the illness.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the body from injury or infection.

Persons under investigation (PUIs)

PUIs are individuals who have symptoms that suggest they have COVID-19 but who have not yet been tested, or who are awaiting results of their test.


Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. People enter quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 while waiting to see if they become sick so they can prevent transmission to other people. There are no designated quarantine locations for people experiencing homelessness in Chicago.

Shield housing/hotel

The term “shield” refers to housing/hotel facilities that are protecting people who are at high risk of COVID-19 complications from contracting the illness. These are private rooms/apartments designed to allow people to move out of congregate spaces to reduce their likelihood of contracting COVID-19. People being served in shield housing are negative for COVID-19. At present, Hotel 166 is being used as shield housing. Locations may change for this type of setting. The Expedited Housing Initiative is also aimed at serving this population of people.

Get the Most Up to Date Info

All Chicago Updates – Sign up for the All Chicago Program Newsletter, where we will be sending COVID-19 and other updates. 

Email Alert List – Get updates from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Updates from the City of Chicago

Situation Summary from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Special Report from the Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE)

Frequently Asked Questions for Homeless Service Providers – To be periodically updated by All Chicago

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) SNAP Benefits

Expedited Housing Initiative

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance for both individual and community wellbeing as housing insecure populations are more vulnerable than ever. Many people experiencing homelessness are considered high risk for COVID-19 exposure and need access to immediate housing. To respond to this crisis, the Chicago Continuum of Care (CoC) developed the Expedited Housing Initiative (EHI) to support those who have been impacted by COVID-19. Learn more about this initiative.

People Experiencing Homelessness and the Coronavirus

National Homelessness Information
National Healthcare for the Homeless Council, Resource links
An extensive list of links. Take a moment to review and find the most relevant to your organization.

Disease Risks and Homelessness, HUD Exchange
Links to resources from relevant federal agencies issuing guidance from subject matter experts on lessons learned from previous response efforts to infectious diseases.

Emergency Shelters Guidance

Interim Guidance for Homeless Shelters, CDC
CDC’s guidance for shelters to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. This guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and will be updated as new information becomes available.

COVID-19 Guidance for Homeless Shelters as Chicago Cautiously Reopens and Gradually Resume, CDPH
This guidance is intended to support shelters as they accommodate people experiencing homelessness during the cautious reopening phase in Chicago.

Phase III and IV of Reopening Homeless Shelter FAQ, CDPH
This document answers some of the frequently asked questions concerning the reopening of homeless shelters in Chicago.

Preventing and Managing Spread of Disease within Shelters, HUD Toolkit
This document focuses on developing and implementing sanitation guidelines within the emergency shelter system of a CoC to prevent and address the spread of infectious disease.

Outreach and Drop-In Guidance

Preventing and Managing the Spread of Infectious Diseases within Encampments, HUD Toolkit
This document outlines the steps for CoCs to consider when working with local stakeholders to develop and implement sanitation guidelines for homeless encampments that can prevent infectious disease spread.

Housing Providers and Other Agencies Guidance

Rapid Testing for PUIs FAQ, CDPH
This document answers some of the frequently asked questions concerning the rapid testing of persons under investigations, or PUIs.

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations, CDC
This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of rooms or areas of rooms where someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 has been. It is aimed at limiting the survival of novel coronavirus in key environments. These recommendations will be updated if additional information becomes available. These guidelines are focused on community, non-healthcare facilities (e.g., schools, institutions of higher education, offices, daycare centers, businesses, community centers) that do and do not house persons overnight.

Coronavirus Disease: What Supportive Housing Providers Need to Know, CSH
CSH has pulled together information from a variety of sources, considering the material from the vantage point of supportive housing providers, to help your agency best support your residents, your staff and your community.

Affordable Housing Providers and the Coronavirus, LeadingAge a 501©3 focused on issues of aging.
While targeted to affordable housing for older adults, the site highlights how practitioners can take steps now to develop preparedness and response plans to protect against infection.

Disability Self-Certification, All Chicago & Partners                                          Sample forms that can be used to document an individual’s self certification of their disability.

Interim Guidance on Housing Inspections, All Chicago
The Chicago CoC has developed guidance regarding housing inspections in emergency situations.

Interim Recordkeeping Standard Operating Guidance, All Chicago
This provides guidance for housing providers on documentation and recordkeeping standards during emergency situations. See a sample protocol document here.

CDPH Guidance for Residential Buildings, Chicago Department of Public Health
The CDPH has developed guidance for housing providers with multifamily residential buildings to mitigate transmission among residents and staff.

For Agencies, Staff, and Community Members

Symptoms and Prevention

Symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, shortness of breath and coughing. These symptoms can be associated with number of illnesses including influenza (flu).

The following are basic preventative actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Regular hand washing with soap and water. 
  • “Social distancing” to help slow the spread of infection. 
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough. 

Grant Funds and Eligible Costs

Chicago COVID-19 Homeless System Agency Emergency Fund, All Chicago
Philanthropic partners and the Illinois Department of Human Services have provided funding for agencies to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Using CoC Program Funds for Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, HUD Exchange
Continuum of Care (CoC) Program grant funds can be a useful resource to support communities’ public health outbreak preparedness and response efforts.

Eligible ESG Costs for Infectious Disease Preparedness, HUD Exchange
A brief guide to Emergency Service Grant usage related to infectious disease preparedness. ESG Program recipients may use ESG Street Outreach and Emergency Shelter funds for essential supplies and services to reduce the spread of infectious disease in their programs.

Educational Materials for Staff and Residents

“Get the Facts” flyer from the Chicago Dept. of Family and Supportive Services

Handouts and Posters on COVID-19 facts, what to do if you’re sick, etc., from the CDC

Instructional Videos on stopping the spread of germs, what older adults need to know, etc. from the CDC

All Chicago’s Role in COVID-19 Response

All Chicago has created a COVID-19 Response Team and is actively working to support our many partner agencies during this challenging and quickly changing time. We are focused on the following three main areas currently:

  1. Promoting Cross-Provider Communication
  2. Securing Financial Resources to Help Agencies Respond to COVID-19
  3. Distilling Guidance from Sources

Catch up on Past Webinars:
All Chicago is hosting monthly webinars for all homeless services providers at 1:00pm Fridays to share COVID related information. See past webinar materials.

The webinars are scheduled monthly on Fridays at 1:00 pm. Register here.