Illinois Launches New Round of Rental Assistance

Illinois residents can now apply for the second round of grants to cover outstanding rental payments. The grants will be issued through the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the Chicago Department of Housing. Awardees can receive 18 months of rental assistance up to $25,000.

Rental Assistance Chicago DefenderGovernor J.B. Pritzker issued a moratorium on evictions in March of 2020 to help combat the financial hardship residents faced during the pandemic. That moratorium ended this October causing city and state officials to scurry in search of aid.

Chicago officials worried there would be a surge in evictions once the moratorium ended prompting the first round of grants. City officials provided over $110 million in grants to assist Chicago residents.  Nearly 9,000 households received rental grants for $8,900 and an additional $800 to cover utility bills. Illinois officials issued $540 million in rental grants to state residents through the Illinois Rental Payment Program.

Though the first round of grants provided many with some relief, other Chicago residents still struggled. Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a statement saying that Chicago officials “have seen a steady increase in the need for housing and utility assistance across the city that must be addressed.”

President Joe Biden signed the relief package into law in March. Under the law, Chicago will receive $105 million, and Illinois will receive $250 million. The funds will be used to help residents struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic avoid eviction.

For this second round of relief city officials will focus on residents earning less than half the city’s median income. City officials estimate that 4,000  households will be helped with this round of funding. The deadline to apply for the city’s rental assistance grant is Saturday, December 18. The deadline to apply for Illinois’s program is Sunday, January 9, 2022. Both renters and landlords are eligible to apply.

Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social @beboldshineon.

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