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Chicago Administrative Headquarters
100 West Randolph Street 6-200
Chicago IL 60601
TTD 312.814.8783

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406 East Monroe
Springfield IL 62701-1498
TTD 217.785.6605

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  Youth Housing Assistance  

Youth Housing Assistance

The Department of Children and Family Services may provide Housing Advocacy services and/or Cash Assistance to stabilize the housing of wards preparing to emancipate, and former wards that have emancipated.

Referral Process

The client or the client's caseworker may contact Ted Ernst, the Youth Housing Assistance Coordinator at 3128145571 or for more information or submit form CFS 370-5 directly (fax 312 814 7134).

Housing Advocacy

Housing advocacy services assist clients in obtaining and/or maintaining stable housing. Services include:

  • assistance in securing affordable housing;
  • consumer education;
  • linkages to community based resources (i.e. assistance with utilities, clothing and food); and
  • follow-up services for a minimum of three months after the client secures appropriate housing.


Youth applying for housing advocacy services must:

  • be at least 17 and less than 21 years of age;
  • be a DCFS ward within six months of emancipation, or be a former ward who was emancipated (Note: Wards who entered adoption or subsidized guardianship after their 14th birthday are also eligible.);
  • be homeless or in significant danger of becoming homeless if assistance is not provided; and
  • have an income that is sufficient to meet rent and utility costs; or be in a program that will help them obtain an income before housing is obtained (e.g., a job placement program).

Cash Assistance

Assistance will vary depending on a client's situation. Cash assistance may be authorized for the following reasons:

  • housing security deposit;
  • rent when the client cannot make the payment;
  • partial housing subsidy for a period of one year following emancipation (housing costs must exceed 30% of income and assistance cannot continue past the client's 21st birthday);
  • beds for the client and the client's children;
  • current utility bills or utility deposits;
  • appliances; and,
  • other items required by the client to avoid or manage a crisis.


Youth applying for Cash Assistance must:

  • be at least 18 and less than 21 years of age;
  • be a DCFS ward ready for emancipation (Applications for assistance may be made before emancipation, but cash assistance cannot be provided until after emancipation) or be a former DCFS ward who was emancipated;
  • have an income that is sufficient to meet rent and utility costs after cash assistance is provided;
  • have completed a budget statement (CFS 370-5C) that demonstrates that with any subsidy and all other income they will be able to cover all remaining living expenses (e.g. housing, utilities, clothing, food). [Note: If the budget criterion is not met and the client has shown commitment to obtaining an income (e.g., is in a job placement program), a one-time exception may be made.]; and
  • be homeless or in a situation that will result in homelessness if cash assistance is not provided.


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