Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that $33million in funding, from the federal CARES relief funds and the greater philanthropic community, will go to housing assistance grants, including mortgage and rent relief. Anticipated funds will assist a minimum of 10,000 households. With 8 million dollars earmarked for renters facing eviction, the city will provide 3-6 months of rental support through the Department of Family and Support Services, with the amount of the award based on need. Households making less than 15% of the median income will receive half of the funds. For those making 50% of the area’s median income, the city will provide three and six months of rental support. The application opened Monday and will close August 10.
The city will provide grants between $2000 and $3000 depending on need, through the Department of Housing. This grant will be available to those earning up to 60% of the area’s median household income, which is $72,800 for a two-person household. It will also provide mortgage assistance, up to $3300 to households with income at or below 120% of the area’s median income. The funds would go directly to the lenders. The application opens Friday, August 1. A deadline has not been set for this program.
The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing and the city will work together to provide eviction counseling and no-cost legal defense in eviction court for people making 60% of the area median income or below.
“Housing insecurity is a core symptom of a crushing poverty and economic hardship that has crippled Chicago’s families for generations. Now with COVID-19, more families than ever are at risk of losing their homes. If housing used to be the tool for wealth building, we must tackle our city’s racial wealth gap. And that happens by preventing the harm that occurs when you lose your home,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
The first round of assistance from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund was announced in March. It was a one-time $1000 grant to help residents affected financially due to COVID-19. Eighty-three thousand residents applied for 2000 available grants: a number far greater than the amount available.
“The first round of COVID-19 Housing Assistance showed us how deep the need is across all neighborhoods in Chicago,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “We have been working to find additional resources to assist those financially impacted by the pandemic. These new funds will go a long way in stabilizing the lives of residents during these challenging times.”
The grants are direct cash assistance and do not need to be repaid. Any Chicago resident seeking assistance can apply for a series of programs through the city’s website at chi.gov/housinghelp.
Last week Governor JB Pritzker announced a statewide ban on evictions would be extended until August 22. Renters can additionally apply for $5000 in assistance from the state starting August 10, and homeowners can apply for up to $15,000 in assistance. Residents can apply at www.ihda.org/developers/rental-assistance/
Kelly Washington is a freelance writer and blogger living on the southside of Chicago. You can follow her on social media @ Sunrise and Sugar (Facebook).