Emergency Financial Assistance

Our emergency financial assistance program, called the Emergency Fund, provides critical financial assistance to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness or another serious emergency. We quickly provide payments on a person’s behalf for things like rent, utilities, or transportation.

In 2022, we served 7,125 households providing over $37 million in assistance.

Emergency Fund Timeline

In 1973, Chicago businessman and philanthropist, Norman H. Stone is stirred to act when he hears about a Chicago family in need who could not find financial assistance at any social service agencies in the city. Based on the values of providing help immediately and without red tape, Mr. Stone founded the Emergency Fund.

1973: Norman H. Stone founds the Emergency Fund.

1985-2000: Ida Stone becomes President of the Emergency Fund when her husband Norman passes away and remains until 2000. 

In 1997, Ida’s son Alan becomes President.

Pictured on the left (from left to right): Alan Stone, Ginger Downs (former Board Chairwoman), and former Mayor Rahm Emanuel

While Alan serves as President, Ida serves as Chairman Emeritus. Alan also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and was an energetic fundraiser. In 2000, a full-time executive director was hired.   

2004: The Emergency Fund merges with My Brothers’ Keeper, a nonprofit with a similar mission of providing financial assistance to Chicagoans in need.   

2006: The Emergency Fund launches the Homelessness Prevention Call Center in collaboration with Catholic Charities, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, the Chicago Department of Housing, and the Chicago Department of Human Services. This system still provides a central access point for those seeking financial assistance and related social services in Chicago. 

2008: Lisa Stone Pritzker joins the Board of Directors of the Emergency Fund.

2011: The Emergency Fund and the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness consolidate their Boards of Directors and operations into one umbrella agency known as All Chicago Making Homelessness History. The two organizations maintain separate 501(c)(3) statuses.

2014: Richard Sciortino, son-in-law of Ira Stone, joins the Board of Directors of All Chicago Making Homelessness History.

2015:  The Emergency Fund and the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness officially merge as All Chicago Making Homelessness History. The merger allows the organization to be more administratively efficient and more effectively use limited resources. However, the purpose and services of the Emergency Fund program do not change and continue to fulfill the original intent of founder Norman H. Stone. Also in 2015, the Student Emergency Fund launched for low-income college students experiencing an emergency that could cause them to drop out of school.

2016: The Veterans Emergency Fund is launched for veterans who are at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness. The Chronic Homelessness Emergency Fund was also created to assist households involved in the DFSS Chronic Homelessness Pilot.

Available Funds

The Emergency Fund administers the following funds:

Chicago COVID-19 Homeless System Agency Emergency Fund

This fund will provide unrestricted and flexible emergency financial assistance to homeless service agencies as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, last Friday, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced that it will make $6 million available for isolation housing for people experiencing homelessness and costs related to modifying and expanding shelters to accommodate appropriate social distancing. The Chicago CoC has been allocated $3 million of this state funding. Learn more about the fund here.


Flexible Financial Fund

The Flexible Financial Fund is the primary program of the Emergency Fund. It is designed to prevent a sudden financial setback from becoming a long-term financial crisis.

If you are seeking Flexible Financial Fund assistance, please call 3-1-1 and ask for short-term assistance.

State Homelessness Prevention Fund

The Emergency Fund was selected to administer the State of Illinois’ Homeless Prevention Funds for residents of Chicago. These funds provide assistance for security deposits, rent, mortgages, and utilities. Individuals seeking assistance from the State Homeless Prevention Fund should call 3-1-1 and ask for short-term assistance or visit one of the Department of Family Support Services Community Centers

Student Emergency Fund

The Student Emergency Fund assists Chicago college students experiencing a crisis or transition by distributing critical and timely financial assistance via a network of partner organizations and schools. Click here to learn more.

Read our report on our Student Emergency Fund here.

Rapid Re-Housing Program

All Chicago administers the Rapid Re-Housing Program to provide rent and utility assistance for people experiencing homelessness, living in shelters or on the street. We work with seven partner agencies that provide case management services to help Rapid Re-Housing clients remain stable in their new homes. We assist approximately 350 households each year. 

If you need help, call 3-1-1 and ask for short-term assistance.

Special Funds

Special Funds are specially designated funds that provide financial assistance for basic needs for specific target groups.

Seeking Emergency Fund Assistance? 

Our financial assistance is delivered through our partner agencies.

Our partners offer a variety of services to assist individuals and families with long-term solutions and/or a path to self-sufficiency. Please call 3-1-1 and ask for short-term help.

For more information on getting short-term help, please click here.