Food delivery, unemployment benefits, funds for small businesses and rental assistance are among hundreds of programs that have popped up in recent weeks to help people across the region manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But finding resources that apply to you or address specific needs can mean hours spent searching through websites, reading eligibility requirements and locating contact information and hotline numbers.
That’s the problem the nonprofit newsroom City Bureau hopes to address with its Chicago COVID Resource Finder, a filterable directory of more than 1,200 information resources available in the Chicago region.
Launched Tuesday, the directory is maintained and verified by City Bureau’s three-person reporting staff and a web developer. Users are encouraged to give feedback, suggest new resources and report mistakes.
“We started working on this project over a month ago — the week before Illinois shut down bars and restaurants. That’s when the scale of the crisis became clear, and local groups began adapting their work to the pandemic,” said City Bureau cofounder Bettina Chang. “Access to the right info at the right time is a huge game changer for people who are getting sick, have lost a job, can’t pay their rent or need access to healthy food. They need to turn the flood of news into a steady drip of usable info tailored to their needs.”
More resources will be added to the tool in the coming weeks, Chang said. She added that the resource finder — currently available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Tagalog, Vietnamese — will be translated into additional languages, including Arabic and French.
Paula Friedrich is WBEZ’s Interactive Producer. Follow her on Twitter at @pauliebe.