Illinois’ Moratorium on Evictions Has Ended

After nearly two years, Illinois’ moratorium on evictions ended on Sunday. The ban on evictions was enacted during the states’ stay-at-home order and put in place by Governor J. B. Pritzker. Pritzker extended the ban multiple times in response to soaring unemployment rates and surges in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Now that the ban has ended, many residents face an uncertain future. The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning conducted a study estimating that 21,000 families will face eviction in Chicago.

Over the summer, local and state officials encouraged residents to apply for aid.  Over 26,000 Chicagoans applied for an estimated $137 million in grants in May and June. City officials reported that only $80 million was available for distribution at that time.  At the end of September, the Chicago Department of Housing distributed over $38 million in aid to over 5,000 households.

The Illinois Rental Program provided 49,100 households with over $9,000 in emergency rental assistance. Illinois state officials reported the funds totally of $443 million was 90% of what was available. State and city officials will release more funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to further assist residents with rent and mortgage payments.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the county would spend $75 million of the funds it received through the American Rescue Plan Act to assist suburban Cook County residents with rental aid. Suburban Cook County residents can apply by visiting COVID-19 Recovery Emergency Rental Assistance Program by October 29.

Governor Pritzker released a statement discussing the states’ efforts to help residents avoid eviction during the coronavirus pandemic. “Having a roof over your head is the foundation of a thriving life, and Illinois is fiercely combatting the pandemic’s destabilizing effects on that foundation by keeping our residents on their feet,” Pritzker said.

To apply for rental assistance or check the status of an application, visit chicago.gov/renthelp. In addition, those in need of legal assistance can call 312-347-7600 or go to rentervention.com for free services through the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing.

Residents of Cook County already served with an eviction notice can receive free legal assistance at cookcountylegalaid.org or call 855-956-5763.

 

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

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