Search form

The Emergency Fund

Our History 

Emergency Fund History

1973: Chicago businessman and philanthropist, Norman H. Stone is stirred to act when he hears about a Chicago family in need who could not find financial assistance at any social service agencies. Based on the values of providing help immediately and without red tape, Mr. Stone founded the Emergency Fund to meet the community’s need.

1985-2000: Ida Stone becomes President of the Emergency Fund when her husband Norman passes away.  In 1997, her son Alan becomes President, while Ida serves as Chairman Emeritus. Alan served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and was an energetic fundraiser. In 2000, a full-time executive director was hired.   

2004: The Emergency Fund merges with My Brothers’ Keeper, a non-profit with a similar mission of providing financial assistance to Chicagoans in need.   

2006: The Emergency Fund launches the Homelessness Prevention Call Center in collaboration with Catholic Charities, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, the Chicago Department of Housing, and the Chicago Department of Human Services. This system still provides a central access point for those seeking financial assistance and related social services in Chicago. 

2008: Lisa Stone Pritzker joins the Board of Directors of the Emergency Fund.

2011:  The Emergency Fund and the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness consolidate their Boards of Directors and operations into one umbrella agency known as All Chicago Making Homelessness History. The two organizations maintain separate 501(c)(3) statuses.

2014: Richard Sciortino, son-in-law of Ira Stone, joins the Board of Directors of All Chicago Making Homelessness History.

2015:  The Emergency Fund and the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness officially merge as All Chicago Making Homelessness History. The merger allows the organization to be more administratively efficient and more effectively use limited resources. However, the purpose and services of the Emergency Fund program do not change, and carry on the original intent of founder Norman H. Stone. The Student Emergency Fund is launched for low-income college students experiencing an emergency that could cause them to drop out of school.

2016: The Veterans Emergency Fund is launched for veterans who are at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. The Chronic Homelessness Emergency Fund was also created to assist households involved in the DFSS Chronic Homelessness Pilot.


The Emergency Fund administers nine programs:

Flexible Financial Fund

The Flexible Financial Fund is the primary program of the Emergency Fund. It is designed to prevent a sudden financial setback from becoming a long-term financial crisis. The two types of grants we offer through our Flexible Financial Fund are:

  • Crisis Solution Grants: Our Crisis Solution Grants are designed to help provide immediate help to people experiencing a crisis. Crisis Solution Grants are often used for transportation passes, food vouchers, eye glasses, prescription medicine, and clothing. Payments are made directly to landlords, utility companies, or other service providers on behalf of the client.
  • Self-Sufficiency Grants: Our Self-Sufficiency Grants are designed to help move families to a more sustainable income. They assist families with rent, utilities, and basic necessities while the head of household completes an employment program.

If you are seeking Flexible Financial Fund assistance, please contact the Homeless Prevention Call Center.

Special Funds

Special Funds are specially designated funds that provide financial assistance for basic needs for specific target groups. If you are seeking Special Funds assistance, please contact the Homeless Prevention Call Center.

State Homelessness Prevention Fund

The Emergency Fund was selected to administer the state of Illinois’ Homeless Prevention Funds for residents of Chicago. These funds provide assistance for security deposits, rent, mortgages, and utilities. Individuals whom seek assistance from the State Homeless Prevention Fund, must contact the Homeless Prevention Call Center or visit one of the Department of Family Support Services Community Centers

Student Emergency Fund

This fund assists Chicago college students experiencing a crisis or transition by distributing critical and timely financial assistance via a network of partner organizations and schools. Click here to learn more.

Rapid Re-housing Program

We are currently updating this information. Thank you for your patience.

​​​​If you have questions or need assistance please contact Margaret Smith at 312.379.0301 x135 or

Seeking Emergency Fund assistance? 

Our financial assistance is delivered through our partner agencies. This allows us to have the greatest reach in an efficient manner. Our partners offer a variety of services to assist individuals and families with long-term solutions and/or a path to self-sufficiency. Please contact the Homeless Prevention Call Center and ask for short-term help. For a listing of resources, please click here

Please contact us at


In 2018, we served 2,984 households, including more than 1,931 children, with $3.7 million. 87% of clients surveyed reported being housed at the time of follow up.