Elevate Energy is focused on building resilient communities. Through our existing home health work with child care providers, we are providing financial assistance to help our communities stay strong now and in the future.
Elevate Energy regularly works with child care providers to address health and safety concerns such as lead in drinking water and lead-based paint. Children, especially children under age six, are vulnerable to home health concerns like lead.
During COVID-19, many child care providers have continued to operate under Illinois’ emergency license to provide child care to essential workers. We are listening to the experiences of our communities and being responsive by providing financial assistance to over 200 child care providers on the South and West sides of Chicago.
Our initial outreach found that providers are caring for significantly fewer children than they had previously, on average caring for six to seven fewer children than before COVID-19. For the smaller, home-based providers that we often serve, this change is significant; they can go from caring for eight children to only one or two. This loss of income has put providers at risk. Providers we spoke to indicated they were in need of assistance with groceries, utility bills, home mortgages and insurance, and other child care supplies.
One provider we assisted is Ms. J. We first worked with Ms. J in 2019 to remove lead hazards at her child care center, test and reduce lead in her drinking water, and replace her windows that had lead-based paint, which is common in older homes. Ms. J is operating during the pandemic, but she’s caring for fewer children and money has been tight. The financial assistance helped her buy supplies for the children, like diapers, food, and snacks, as well as necessary supplies such as hand sanitizer, masks, and wipes that have become an added expense.
Ms. W. is another provider we’ve helped. In 2019, we removed lead-based paint hazards at her home-based day care. Since schools are closed due to the pandemic, Ms. W has had to adapt her operation to help the children she serves with online learning. She used the financial assistance to buy school supplies such as paper and ink for her printer so the children could print out homework assignments and complete them on time. The funding also relieved her from asking the children’s parents to pay for supplies, since she knows they are struggling as well.
These stories represent just a few of the unique challenges providers are facing. By providing financial assistance, we are continuing our mission to make these child care centers safe, healthy, and resilient for the children they serve.
We’re here to help. Read and share our COVID-19 Resources page with information for tenants, building owners, contractors, and families.