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(Visite la página web Evanston en Español para obtener las últimas actualizaciones.)


General Assistance

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General Assistance Mission Statement

The City of Evanston is committed to promoting the highest quality of life for all residents by providing fiscally sound, responsive City services as allowed by law and delivering those services equitably, professionally and with the highest degree of integrity.  The City of Evanston also provides extensive case management that may enable one to overcome life barriers in order to achieve sufficiency and to relieve uncontrollable circumstances threatening one’s basic life needs. The City believes in “People Helping People” to change their lives, one person at a time.

General Assistance

The General Assistance Program is a locally-administered program that is mandated by the State of Illinois and funded by the taxpayers of Evanston. The City of Evanston General Assistance Program provides assistance to persons who are not eligible for any other state or federal financial assistance programs and who do not have income or resources to provide for their basic needs.  The General Assistance program works in partnership with various City programs and community organizations to assist individuals with becoming employment-ready and self-sufficient.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must be a resident of Evanston.
  • Must be ineligible for any other cash assistance or other benefits from any other state or federal agency.
  • Must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.
  • Must have little or no income (income cannot exceed the grant amount) to provide for their own basic needs.
  • Must be actively seeking employment.
  • If a person has voluntarily left their job without due cause or was terminated for misconduct, they must wait 30 days after termination to apply.

Categories of Ineligibility

  • Individuals who are currently receiving or who have exhausted their TANF benefits are ineligible. In addition, individuals who have been denied TANF due to noncompliance, overpayment or fraud are also ineligible.
  • Individuals who are enrolled in a college institution to purse a higher level of education are ineligible.
  • Strikers are ineligible.
  • Individuals who have been charged with defrauding a local, state or federal governmental program are ineligible.
  • Individuals, living at a private or public institution are ineligible.

Programs and Services Provided for General Assistance Clients

  • Independent Documented Job Search
  • Adult Basic Education and GED Preparation
  • Counseling and Referral Services
  • Financial Literacy

How to Apply

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please complete this simple online form to apply for General or Emergency Assistance  General or Emergency Assistance Application


At this time, the General Assistance Office is only able to process applications electronically, so please DO NOT use the printable form. Please submit all supporting documentation via fax to 847-448-8057 or email to If you are having difficulty applying online or submitting documentation, please call 847-448-8112.  

  • Picture Identification
  • Social Security Card/Birth Certificate
  • Proof of Evanston Residency
  • Proof you receive or have applied for Food Stamps through the Illinois Department of Public Aid
  • Verification that you have registered for unemployment assistance through the Illinois Department of Employment Security
  • If disabled, you must provide SSI paperwork
  • Denial letter from the Veteran’s Administration (if applicable)
  • Proof of income for the past 30 days
  • Unemployment stubs or denial notification
  • Landlord contract information (if residing in fixed adobe)
  • Application completed and signed
  • Proof of legal U.S. residency

Adult Basic Education and GED Preparation

The City of Evanston provides Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED preparation classes for General Assistance clients who are in need of educational enhancement.

Counseling Services

Case managers can assess and make appropriate referrals for individuals who are in need of counseling services for mental health and substance abuse.

Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance Services assist Evanston residents facing short-term financial crisis or disaster. Assistance for food and personal essentials are provided to Evanston residents who have applied for, but are not yet receiving, benefits from other agencies such as DHS, Social Security, the Illinois Unemployment Administration Service or for those who have exhausted their income due to unforeseen circumstances.

Room Sharing

For those who receive rental assistance for a room(s) that are being rented, the Health and Human Services Department now requires you to register the rooms and the common areas. This is a registration for renting from a single family dwelling unit or any other dwelling in the City of Evanston. The purpose of this registration is to promote the public health, safety, and welfare of those receiving rental assistance by conducting life safety property-related inspections at the properties where they reside. 

General Assistance Room Sharing Registration Form



After Hours Communication

For after hours communicable disease or bioterrorism emergencies, please call 847-448-4311 and stay on the line to be connected to someone immediately.

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