RESOURCES FOR DOWNTOWN OAK PARK VISITORS & MERCHANTS:

Homelessness can strike anyone. In the U.S., most people are one rent payment away from potentially being on the street. And in today’s pandemic, more people are struggling, leading to homelessness and panhandling.

People panhandle for various reasons. It could be a loss of housing or income, mental health or substance abuse, or family issues that lead to isolation.

When you are experiencing homelessness, it affects a person’s dignity. The stress is high; you are in survival mode in part because of the lack of life’s basics: shelter, food, income, support.

In partnership with the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition, we are actively working to offer options and outline resources for those in need, as well as patrons of Downtown Oak Park to provide a safe and inviting environment for everyone in our downtown.

We urge you to treat people with compassion and dignity, which is why we have developed resources to help residents, businesses and those experiencing homelessness in our community.

So, what do you do if someone is in need of immediate shelter?

For Outreach Call:
708-397-4423 or
Text: 708-979-5033
Hours: 9-5pm, Amita Health after 5pm

Warming center available at Rush Oak Park Hospital – more details coming soon.

Public restrooms are available in Austin Gardens.

FOR VISITORS TO DOWNTOWN OAK PARK
If you are approached by someone panhandling or experiencing homelessness, please remember we are all human. Know that kindness, dignity and compassion are most important. Having a conversation with someone can be a simple and helpful act of kindness.

If you are asked for cash, it’s okay to say “I don’t have it right now, but I can give you something next time.”

Or you could say “Sorry, I don’t have any money.” Or “I don’t carry cash” and provide a statement of encouragement and/or offer resources.

If you want to help the person, options include:

  • Present the person with a resource card, which provides a range of services available to help with homelessness and mental health, substance abuse and financial issues. Resource cards will be available soon.
  • Donate or volunteer with one of numerous organizations in Oak Park, including Beyond HungerHousing Forward and the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition. By volunteering, and sharing that information, it is a reminder that you are working toward systemic change to end homelessness by making it rare, brief and one time.
  • For outreach Call: 708-397-4423 or
    Text: 708-979-5033. Hours: 9-5pm, Amita Health after 5pm. Housing Forward Street Outreach Team works with those on the streets each day, and can assist with getting help for the individual.
  • Purchase a suspended coffee to feed someone in need at Delia’s Kitchen, 1034 Lake Street. See below.
  • If you encounter someone who is aggressive, please call the Oak Park Police Department at 9-1-1 in an emergency or 708-386-3800 in a non-emergency.

SUSPENDED COFFEE PROGRAM AT DELIA’S KITCHEN:
Buy a suspended coffee at Delia’s Kitchen. $6 buys you a coffee PLUS a meal for someone in need. Veronica, Delia’s Kitchen owner, tracks donated meals using a token system. When someone purchases a suspended coffee, a free meal token gets added to the bin.

Those in need of a free meal are welcome to come to the restaurant Monday through Wednesday from 7-10AM or 1-3PM. Must show shelter ID.

FOR BUSINESSES
If your business is impacted in some way by someone loitering or panhandling, consider engaging the person.

  • If someone is loitering or panhandling on private property, you can kindly ask them to leave.
  • Resource cards will be available soon to hand out to someone in need.
  • For outreach Call: 708-397-4423 or
    Text: 708-979-5033. Hours: 9-5pm, Amita Health after 5pm. 
    Housing Forward Street Outreach Team works with those on the streets each day, and can assist with getting help for the individual.
  • If someone is being truly disruptive, please call the Oak Park Police Department at 9-1-1 in an emergency or 708-386-3800 in a non-emergency.
  • What to do if personal items have been left behind:
    1. Items in public way – call the Village of Oak Park Public Works Department.
    2. Items on private property – contact the property owner.