Governor JB Pritzker, along with the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), announced that more than $209 million in rental assistance has been paid on behalf of 26,300 renter households impacted by COVID-19. With over 40% of the $500 million in available funds committed to being paid, Illinois is ramping up its distribution of assistance through the Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP) and was the second highest provider of rental assistance among all states in June.
There are still more than 16,000 applications submitted by tenants that are awaiting completion from the applicant’s landlord in order to be reviewed. Landlords have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15 to complete their portion of the application to be eligible for funding.
For renters who missed the window to apply for assistance through IHDA, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is currently accepting applications for rental assistance for as long as current funding is available. Households looking for assistance should contact an IDHS Service Provider Agency to ask about rental assistance. Provider Agencies will help you find out if you are eligible and help you apply for rental assistance. A list of Provider Agencies, as well as organizations offering assistance with utility bills, free legal aid, and additional services, can be found at: https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org. Additional rounds of rental and mortgage assistance will also be announced in the coming months.
“The economic pain brought on by COVID-19 has impacted every Illinoisan, but no one has carried a burden larger than those least able to weather a financial hardship,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That truth sits at the heart of our pandemic response. It’s why we were one of the most efficient states in the nation in 2020 at providing housing relief dollars to families in need, and it’s why we’re continuing that leadership in quickly getting rental assistance out the door in 2021.”
The Illinois Rental Payment Program provides up to 12 months of past-due rent and up to three months of future rent payments for tenants at risk of housing instability due to the pandemic. To date, IHDA has received nearly 97,300 completed ILRPP applications from renters and landlords in 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties requesting over $940 million in aid. To date, IHDA has reviewed more than 70,000 applications, approved 26,323 applications, and paid out more than $209 million to renters experiencing hardships due to the pandemic for an average of $8,676 per household. Application approvals and payouts will continue to be announced as IHDA continues to review the pipeline of completed applications through the end of September.
“Per the U.S. Treasury, Illinois is a leader in ensuring that this vital assistance is getting out to the renters and landlords most in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “We know many landlords are struggling and want to raise awareness that there is still time to complete their application to be eligible for assistance. So please check your emails to ensure that you do not lose out on this assistance provided by the State of Illinois.”
Once IHDA begins processing an application for eligibility, the most significant delay is receiving the federally-required documentation needed to approve funding. Of the 70,000 applications to go through an initial review, IHDA has identified 36,000 applications with incomplete or missing documentation (e.g., a government-issued ID, proof of household income, proof of address, or evidence of past-due rent). IHDA is in the process of emailing landlords and/or tenants detailing what is missing and a timeframe/process to submit the documentation to complete their application for processing.
“Keeping Illinois families housed is a significant goal for the State of Illinois,” said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, IDHS. “Home is what keeps family together during challenging times. We are partnering with community agencies to make sure landlords and vulnerable families receive the rental and utility assistance they need. When we invest in people and their homes, that is where communities begin.”
If a landlord has not responded to an application initiated by their tenant, IHDA is making two attempts (in addition to the automatically-generated request and reminders that they receive from our application portal) to encourage them to participate and complete their section of the application. However, tenants are still eligible to receive assistance if their landlord remains unresponsive or declines to participate. In these cases, IHDA may make payments directly to the tenant.
To receive assistance directly, tenants will need to attend a rental counseling session provided by a HUD-approved agency, to provide IHDA with documentation certifying their completion of that session, and to submit proof of past-due rent to IHDA.
Tenants are responsible for scheduling their rental counseling session and can find a list of providers at: HSS HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency. To receive assistance, directly, tenants must complete these tasks by Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.
This initial funding was provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and additional rounds of assistance, including both rent and mortgage, will be announced later this fall. Tenants and landlords should continue to check their email (including spam folders) for any updates from IHDA regarding their application. To speak with an IHDA call center representative, please call (866) 454-3571 (toll free).