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Cash Assistance

​Youth Housing Assistance Program

If you are currently or formerly a youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, DCFS may provide Cash Assistance to help you attain or maintain housing stability.

Cash Assistance will vary depending on your situation. Cash assistance may be authorized for the following reasons:

  • Housing security deposit.
  • Rent (limited circumstances).
  • Beds for you and your children.
  • Current utility bills or utility deposits.
  • Appliances.
  • Partial housing subsidy for a period of one year following case closure. Your DCFS case must be closed before you can obtain the partial housing subsidy. (housing costs must exceed 30 percent of income and assistance cannot continue past your 21st birthday).
  • Other items required to avoid or manage a crisis.


Youth receiving Cash Assistance must meet all four of the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 and less than 21 years of age.
  • Be legally the responsibility of DCFS and ready for case closure or have aged out of DCFS care. (Note: Youth that moved to adoption or subsidized guardianship are NOT eligible for cash assistance).
  • Have completed a budget statement (Form 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).
  • Need cash assistance in order to attain or maintain stable housing.

Read the Youth Housing Assistance tip sheet in English or en español and brochure in English or en español for more information.

Norman Cash Assistance

Norman Cash Assistance assists families who have an open DCFS case. If you have children who are in danger of being placed in, or cannot be returned home from, DCFS care and you cannot afford to purchase an item needed to care for the child, DCFS may be able to help you pay for:

  • Security deposit.
  • Rent arrears.
  • Utility arrears.
  • Beds for the children.
  • Other items needed to prevent placement or to return a child home.

The program does not provide an ongoing housing subsidy or supplemental income.

Homeless Prevention Funds (HPF)

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) provides funds to community agencies to provide cash assistance to help persons who are homeless or are in danger of becoming homeless. HPF is usually used to pay security deposits, rent and utility arrears. If you apply for HPF, you will likely need to demonstrate how you will pay future bills. You may need to prove your source and amount of your monthly income to qualify.

To find the provider serving your area:

  • Chicago residents: call 311.
  • Suburban Cook County residents: call 877-426-6515.
  • All other counties: visit the IDHS website.

LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)

LIHEAP helps lower-income individuals pay their utility bills. In Illinois, LIHEAP starts each year on November 1. It is important to apply as early as possible every year and never fall behind on your utilities. To apply, contact the Community Action Agency in your area to make an appointment.

Programs offered by utility companies

Utility companies also provide assistance. You can receive funds through these programs in addition to any LIHEAP funds you may receive. To find out more about these programs, call your utility company or visit its website:

  • Ameren Illinois – Warm Neighbors, Cool Friends: Call 888-690-5700 or click here.
  • Com Ed Residential Special Hardship Fund: Call 800-334-7661 or click here.
  • Nicor Gas Sharing Program: Call 888-642-6748 or click here.
  • North Shore Gas – Share the Warmth: Call 866-556-6004 or click here.
  • Peoples Gas – Share the Warmth: Call 866-556-6001 or click here.

Need help or want to know more?

The Illinois Housing Handbook, available in English and en español, provides a wealth of information to help make obtaining and maintaining housing easier and less confusing, especially for first-time renters.